Thatcham Research has called for manufacturers to achieve the maximum five-star Euro NCAP rating as standard after the Fiat Tipo was awarded three stars.
The model scored lowly on collision avoidance technology, achieving 25% in safety assist evaluation. An optional safety pack, which includes autonomous emergency braking, raises the Euro NCAP rating, but to only four stars.
By comparison, other new cars recently introduced in the family car category – such as the new Renault Scenic – feature AEB as standard throughout the range, enabling a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research, said: “Vehicle manufacturers should be targeting a five-star Euro NCAP rating for all new models and to achieve this they need to score highly in every assessment category, including safety assist.
"The scores give consumers a clear indication of which cars they should be considering and just as importantly the ones that fall short of expectations.
"With most small family cars such as the Astra, Megane and Golf all achieving five stars it’s disappointing that Fiat can’t follow suit”
Despite overall improvement in the safety performance of newly launched cars, consumers still aren’t automatically getting a full range of advanced safety features as standard – and according to Thatcham Research that needs to change.
Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research, said: “Consumers shouldn’t be asked to make a choice when it comes to safety.
“The problem is that when safety systems are not standard, consumers simply do not specify the option.
"Our data shows that uptake rates of optional safety packs are extremely low - in the region of 2.5%. That’s why we believe vehicle manufacturers need to prioritise AEB as standard on all new cars.”