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New Ford Puma 2021 scores five-star rating ... but tested on last year's standards

The Ford Puma was crash tested by Euro NCAP last year, with its rating carrying over to Australian models launching in 2020.

The new Ford Puma has been awarded a maximum five-star Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) rating, though the crossover was tested overseas using last year’s examination standards.

While the Ford Puma is just hitting Australian showrooms now, the car launched in Europe in 2019 and subsequently went through Euro NCAP crash testing in December that year.

That same five-star rating has carried over to the Australian Puma despite ANCAP changing its testing criteria this year to include a more stringent frontal offset crash, side impact crash and far-side impact crash tests.

However, ANCAP communications boss Rhianne Robson told CarsGuide that the rating has carried over because it is still applicable to the Puma despite the tweak in local testing.

“It’s important we utilise the test results available to provide consumers with information to allow them to compare the safety credentials of similar vehicles, the flip side to it is that the car would go unrated,” she said. “It’s still a great result, it’s still a five-star result on the 2019 criteria, which was fairly stringent at that time.

“In our protocols, we can utilise ratings no more than two calendar years after (the car is released). That is saying to manufacturers, ‘you can’t get away with launching a vehicle in the European market one year, and then waiting two years to come to Australia, and then pushing out that same product’.”

To date, the only vehicles tested using the new 2020 standards are the Toyota Yaris and Isuzu D-Max – both scoring five stars and boasting new safety features such as a side-centre airbag.

Ms Robson said the Puma will not be retested locally under the new criteria due to the high cost.

“From our perspective, there’s no point duplicating it,” she said. “We’ve got a valid result out of European testing; it would cost us in the order of $750,000 to retest.

“For the purposes of a one-year date-stamp difference, it’s not something we are able to do, just from a cost perspective.”

Meanwhile, a Ford Australia spokesperson told CarsGuide: “Bringing a new nameplate in Puma to Australia, we know that customers place a high value on safety, and ANCAP plays a great role in ensuring that Australians are able to make informed choices. We’re pleased to bring Puma here from Europe with distinctive style, tech and smart packaging with the full confidence of a five-star ANCAP rating.”

According to ANCAP’s report, the Puma scored highly in the adult occupant and child occupant protection tests, notching 94 and 86 per cent respectively.

Of note, the frontal offset test found just ‘adequate’ protection for the driver’s chest, and head and neck of children in the second row.

For the vulnerable road user protection test, the Puma scored 77 per cent, while in the safety assist category, a 74 per cent score was awarded.

Ford’s Puma comes with a long list of safety gear as standard, including autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane-keep assist, traffic sign recognition, tyre pressure monitoring and reversing camera, but adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert are reserved for a $1500 Park Pack.