The brand-new JL Jeep Wrangler has only just arrived in the country and has already been subject to a scathing assessment from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
ANCAP has served the JL Wrangler with a one-star safety rating. Rather than test the vehicle locally, ANCAP has used the test results dished out by its European sibling NCAP last year.
“The safety performance of the Wrangler is limited, falling well shy of the expected standard in three of the four key areas of assessment,” ANCAP Chief Executive James Goodwin said.
“Chest protection was a concern for the driver and rear passenger in each of the frontal crash tests; a number of penalties were applied for structural deformation and potential leg injury hazards; and base variants lack autonomous emergency braking altogether.”
The final safety scores released by ANCAP imitate those achieved in European testing, with a 50 percent score in adult occupant protection, 80 percent for child occupant protection, 49 percent for vulnerable road user protection, and 32 percent for safety assist.
“The passenger compartment of the Jeep Wrangler did not retain its structural integrity in the frontal offset test,” ANCAP’s official report states.
“Connection between the A-pillar and the cross fascia beam was compromised, as was the footwell structure, and penalties were applied.
“Protection of the chest was weak for the driver and adequate for the front passenger. Structures in the dashboard were a potential source of injury for both the driver and passenger.
“An autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system is available on some variants, however, this system is not standard equipment and was not tested.”
The Wrangler’s adult occupant protection score was assessed across five separate tests, each scored out of 8.
On the frontal offset test, the wrangler achieved a 3.89, while on full-width frontal ANCAP awarded 5.72 out of 8.
A perfect 8 out of 8 was given for side impact, while whiplash protection was a 1.67. For the oblique pole test, not points were given.
The JL Wrangler was slapped with a one star NCAP rating in Europe late last year – one of the lowest safety scores ever achieved in the modern era.
This prompted a strongly worded response from Jeep’s US press office.
“The new Jeep Wrangler – an award-winning vehicle with unmatched capability and worldwide appeal – meets or exceeds federal safety requirements in every market in which it is sold,” it said.
“Further, the Jeep Wrangler is engineered to deliver superior performance and unique driving experiences under the most demanding conditions. Testing protocols that apply exclusively to urban scenarios may not align with such a vehicle.”
Locally, Jeep Australia told Wheels that it stood by its Wrangler as a specialist off-road vehicle with appropriate safety technology and construction.
“Safety is something we take incredibly seriously and every other member of the Jeep family of vehicles wears a five-star safety rating with pride, whether tested by ANCAP in Australia or by Euro NCAP.
“The new Jeep Wrangler is a specialist off-road performance vehicle that has more than 70 advanced standard and available safety equipment. This includes front and side airbags, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, parking sensors, a rear-view camera and autonomous emergency braking, all of which are paired with the use of high-strength steel in the Wrangler's construction designed to protect the cabin in the case of an accident.
“The Wrangler also meets federal safety requirements in Australia and is compliant with Australian Design Rules (ADR), the national government standards for vehicle safety, anti-theft and emissions in Australia.
At the time of the NCAP result, Mr Goodwin said the results of the Wrangler’s crash tests were “disappointing”.
“I’d encourage FCA to use the opportunity to improve the safety result in time for its Australasian launch,” he added.