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Jeep Wrangler 2018: One star Euro NCAP, more safety bound for Australia

The Jeep Wrangler will be equipped with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) as standard from next year.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia was quick to defend its new-generation Jeep Wrangler after it scored a lowly one-star safety rating in a test conducted by European crash testing authority Euro NCAP.

The Jeep Wrangler variant tested was the four-door Sahara Unlimited, although the one-star rating applies to all variants sold in Europe.

A spokesperson from FCA Australia explained that the left-hand drive model year 2018 vehicle tested was not homologated for the local market and that many of the issues that led to the low safety rating overseas have been addressed with the upcoming MY19 Wrangler.

The new Wrangler is set to arrive Down Under in Q1 of next year, and will be equipped with an updated standard safety equipment catalogue that includes front and side airbags, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, parking sensors, a rearview camera and most importantly; auto emergency braking (AEB).

In an official statement from FCA Australia, the company explained that the Wrangler is designed for “the most demanding conditions” and that “testing protocols that apply exclusively to urban scenarios may not align with such a vehicle”.

Euro NCAP released results for its latest round of crash tests yesterday, awarding five-star ratings to the Audi Q3, BMW X5, Hyundai Santa Fe, Jaguar I-Pace, Peugeot 508, Volvo V60 and the Volvo S60.

While the Jeep Wrangler was given just one star, it still fared better than the Fiat Panda small car, which was awarded zero stars, scoring points only for a seatbelt reminder.

In the offset test, the Wrangler was rated as weak and marginal for driver chest protection and leg protection, respectively. In the offset test, the Wrangler was rated as weak and marginal for driver chest protection and leg protection, respectively.

The Jeep Wrangler came in above the one-star threshold, with a seatbelt reminder and a driver-set speed limiter helping its cause, but managed just 50 per cent for adult occupant protection while the Audi Q3 scored 95, the Hyundai Santa Fe scored 94 and the BMW X5 followed with an 89 per cent rating.

Euro NCAP engineers described the Wrangler’s bodyshell as unstable, with the A-pillar and trans-fascia beam damaged from the crash test in a way that showed it would not be able to withstand higher loads.

In the offset test, the Wrangler was rated as weak and marginal for driver chest protection and leg protection respectively.

The vehicle performed well in whiplash and lateral impact tests, and scored 69 per cent for child protection, though it lost points for marginal head protection in the lateral crash test.

In the vulnerable road users test the Wrangler scored 49 per cent, while it managed just 32 per cent for safety assist due in part to its lack of lane support and autonomous emergency braking (AEB).

Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen criticised the vehicle for its lack of AEB and lane support, suggesting that all new vehicles should be equipped with these technologies in 2018.

“It is truly disappointing to see a brand-new car being put on sale in 2018 with no autonomous braking system and no lane assistance” he said.

“It is high time we saw a product from the Fiat-Chrysler group offering safety to rival its competitors.”

A spokesperson from FCA Australia explained that the company takes safety “incredibly seriously”, but defended the Wrangler as a “specialist off-road performance vehicle”.

“Safety is something we take incredibly seriously, and every other member of our Jeep family of vehicles wears a five-star safety rating with pride, whether they have been crash-tested by ANCAP in Australia or by Euro NCAP,” the spokesperson said.

“The Wrangler is a specialist vehicle that offers unique features that are highly valued by our customers, both in Australia and overseas.

“It’s a specialist off-road performance vehicle. Part of what makes it such an icon, is the fact that its doors, roof and windscreen can be removed or folded down” the spokesperson said.

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