NCAP has expressed disappointment and concern at the disappointing scores in its test from a lot of cars.

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Dacia Duster, DS 3, Ford C-Max, Ford Grand C-Max, Kia Stonic, MG ZS, Toyota Aygo and Vauxhall Viva all scored only three stars in their standard avatars. The Aygo scored four, while Kia's Stonic managed five stars when it was fitted with the optional safety equipment.

NCAP's secretary general, Michiel van Ratingen, said about the Punto's results, “The fact that older cars cannot compete illustrates the pace at which the vehicle industry is innovating safety and the willingness and ability of competitive manufacturers to meet the highest standards. Those who do not keep their cars up to the latest standards get left behind – as these results clearly show.”

The third-generation Punto was first launched in 2005, and hasn't been replaced in markets like India and the UK, upon Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne’s instruction. Continuing, van Ratingen said, “This is perhaps the strongest example of a manufacturer continuing to sell a product that is well past its best-before date at the expense of the unsuspecting buyer. We would urge consumers to choose cars with the most up-to-date five-star ratings – many examples of which we have seen in 2017.”

Thatcham Research, the UK’s organisation which is responsible for conducting the Euro NCAP tests, also added that the number of three-star results are a bigger problem.

“Some great strides have been made in car safety this year; 72 percent of the cars tested achieved a five-star Euro NCAP rating, as compared to the 56 percent in 2016; but December’s test results have shown that some car makers are choosing not to fit potentially life-saving safety technology as standard, despite an overall trend to the contrary in 2017,” said Matthew Avery, Thatcham’s research director.

Five cars got five star ratings – the BMW 6 Series GT, Hyundai Kona, Jaguar F-Pace, Kia Stinger and Toyota Yaris.

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