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Old 28-05-2019   #1
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Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

After the Panda was re-tested, I emailed Euro NCAP requesting details as to the rationale in again testing this model. Euro NCAP have not responded to two requests for comment.

Aside from the publicity for Euro NCAP, and adverse headlines for FIAT, what in reality was achieved in retesting the Punto and Panda?

As with every other manufacturer, FIAT design its cars to meet the safety standards as they apply at the time. When tested by Euro NCAP at launch in 2005, the 199 Punto achieved five stars. In 2011 the 319 Panda achieved four stars. One star was deducted from the Panda since stability control was not available as an option on all markets/models. In 2013 Euro NCAP recognised the Panda separately in respect of its low speed collision avoidance option.

Just as at launch, at the time of second testing by Euro NCAP both the Punto and Panda continued to conform to the statutory crash worthiness requirements as applied across the EU.

Because neither the Punto nor the Panda were new designs, or structurally revised models, Euro NCAP could have no expectation that a second crash test would yield different results from those already achieved. In terms of their research brief, there was therefore no logical reason for the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) to carry out further crash tests on these models.

With the pace of technological advance, and models today required to satisfy an ever changing and widening brief, no manufacturer can hope to future-proof their designs. Among this host of competing demands, and the rate of technological change, improvements in occupant safety would, merely to keep pace, require a ground-up redesign of both the platform and the technical systems every four or five years.

Many manufactures take the view that such an investment would be better spent in the development of an entirely new model. In the past, when the pace of change was slower and designs were less technically complex, such decisions would often coincide with declining sales as the model aged and neared the end of its seven to twelve-year production cycle.

Increasingly however, the development and production of lower margin cars like the Panda pose a particular difficulty. The economics of developing technically advanced designs, building them from high-strength materials and marketing them for a low price simply donít stack up. In order to satisfy the design brief and bring new models in on budget, FIAT has for decades been pioneers of platform and component sharing.

From an ethical standpoint, the revised tests carried out by Euro NCAP could not be said to have been conducted in good faith. Only by using its altered testing criteria could Euro NCAP achieve the zero-star ratings. Even if we allow that Euro NCAP had a research goal to carry out a comparative study of its test criteria, this could have been achieved without unreasonably maligning a manufacturerís reputation. Having now briefed against the same manufacturer twice, Euro NCAPís actions might be regarded as being unreasonably vindictive.
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Old 28-05-2019   #2
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

There is a threadnaught on this very issue already - https://www.fiatforum.com/panda-iii/...euro-ncap.html
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Old 28-05-2019   #3
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

You emailed ncap to ask what their rational was but they clearly stated their reasons in the media, both cars had not seen any significant update for many years, in the punto’s case 13 years and was still using the same essential body, yes there had been updates, but in this case NCaps point was you can’t get a 5 star rating 13 years ago and expect to sill rant and rave about 5 star safety all this time later, when every other car Being sold is a newer design and safer.

Fiat are terrible for updating their models, seriously they could have worked on a replacement for the punto instead of releasing the flop that was the tipo, a car literally no one was asking for.

Basically NCAP made an example of fiat causing them serious embarrassment, and forcing them to retire the punto earlier than they had planned because rightly so, it was not as safe as it’s “5 star” rating would have you believe in the modern world. The whole purpose was to me entirely vindictive if you want to get personal about it, the risk here is not just to fiat, but also to the reputation of NCAP if fiat are selling a supposed 5 star car that in the real world areperforming more like like a 1 star or zero star car by today’s standards.
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Old 29-05-2019   #4
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

My view is that if NCAP are revising their test standards, then they should be revising how they award test stars, rather than regressing the 5-star standard gained by Fiat (legitimately, based on the criteria at the time). To do what NCAP did is disingenuous and undermines their own credibility.

It's like saying my History O'Level (which I passed based on the criteria for passing, back in the 20th Century) is no longer valid because now there's a a GCSE or some fandango where instead of knowing that Magna Carta was signed in 1215 AD, I didn't write about what King John's feelings must have been, at being brought to task by his barons. "F*cking p*ssed" is presumably not going to get me an A-grade today...

The other issue with NCAP is that the additional safety gains it is pushing (in their unrevised but ever-more exacting testing scheme) is that the requirements for a car to achieve a high score are bearing less and less relevance to the car if it is involved in an accident and more and more on how many electronics it has, that might prevent poor little Harrison (who would have been beaten to a pulp, at school, just for being called Harrison, when dinosaurs ruled the Earth) from denting the front bumper.

There is no testing as to the efficiency of said gizmo's... just that a car has some. Arguably NCAP is designed for VW.. (who said dieselgate?)

So.. if NCAP wants to prevent Fiat claiming Punto is a 5-star car, then the answer is too bad, it can't, if NCAP has any more integrity than a dodgy East London university.

If it really wants to improve scores and force manufacturers to fit an automated Hurt Feelings Sensor and Integrated Butt Pacifier, or whatever other cobblers it can think of, to justify its funding, let's not forget.. then it could have the decency to introduce a 6th, 7th 8th etc. star rather than devalue and undermine its own previous scoring system.

Right now, I (as a consumer) have no idea whether a Hyundai Jangly (4 stars) has the same 4 stars as a Nissan Microbe.. or whether the Jangly has 4 stars (comparable to the Fiat Punto 5 stars).. which would make it a -1 stars car? Or whether it has 4 stars earned somewhere in between so it's like 4.5 stars compared to the Microbe , so marginally less than the Toyota Torpedo, unless that car's 5-stars pre-date the Microbe's 4 stars, so might only be worth 3 stars, in the new money.

NCAP is why everyone hates the EU so much..


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Old 29-05-2019   #5
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

Quote Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
My view is that if NCAP are revising their test standards, then they should be revising how they award test stars, rather than regressing the 5-star standard gained by Fiat (legitimately, based on the criteria at the time). To do what NCAP did is disingenuous and undermines their own credibility.
If you take a step back and look at the situation, fiat tested a car with ncap back in 2005 when they launched the grande.

Since then they had been flogging the punto on the back of this seat result and 13 years later they still were, despite significant changes fiat had made to the car which in all honesty are expected to change the outcome of an ncap test. And in the mean time the tests had changed.

So if a buyer is weighing up what car to buy a brand new Honda Jazz with 5 stars on the modern current test is a considerably safer car than the punto from 2005 with 5stars, but the most current punto was not ever tested and is nothing like the car tested 13 years ago, so ncap set out to make this point.

What they did not do is replicate the tests of a grande from 2005, they tested a brand new 2017 model punto under the most current standards. So the zero star punto was not just a revisit of an old car, they were testing a new car very different to the original 2005 grande and under the new standards.

It would be no different if Fiat launched a new model and ncap tested that, generally ncap donít test face lifts and fiat have a terrible track record for facelifting models until they absolutely have no choice but to either update it or kill the model

In the puntoís case fiat didnít argue with the results and killed the punto shortly after
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Old 29-05-2019   #6
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

Now there is a very interesting "STANDARDS" issue to be considered here.

If we just focus on electrical product safety standards (e.g IEE Wiring Regulations or UL regulations or ECMA .......) then these standards move forwards and improve.

Now I have no experience/expertise in the standards etc for vehicles in the UK/EU but I do have many years of this in the electrical and electronic product design and manufacture industry.

Now my house was built in 1988/89 and complies with IEE regulations at that time. I have a metal fuse box and no ELCBs. Move forward a few years plastic fuse boxes/distribution units were allowed. Move to today and they now have to be metal.

Back to the Panda/Punto. When these were designed, manufactured and sold they complied with all the relevant standards. They still do as each vehicle design has to be homolagated to current regulations applicable on the manufacturing date. So a 2015 Panda and a 2019 Panda meet all the required standards.

EURO NCAP is a different game. They are not as such testing to required standards as such. What they are doing is a comparison of A vs B in a defined test eg. offset head on collision at velocity x.

How many of us believe and rigorously follow "Which Reports" before we buy a dishwasher? All we care about is that the dishwashers on sale in the UK meet all the UK safety standards and then we choose based on function, capacity, style, brand reputation, cost etc.

Playing devils advocate I could do a washing machine test (which meets all the required standards) and put a concrete block in the test machines (unfair test but a simulation of an off balance load) and see/measure which machine did less damage/movement/etc compared to the others.

I think the the public have a right to know (if they want to) how products compare but bodies that do these test comparisons also have to be very careful, open, transparent and over indulgent in making sure that all the scales, factors, relevance, et, etc, of the purpose for their tests, the limitation of their tests, the time based relevance, etc. etc. ALL CLEARY documented and explained up front beofre they publish their results.

I've looked a while ago at some NCAP test reports and to my knowledge I never saw ANY statements that all vehicles tested comply with all relevant safety standards. Instead we just get an A vs B which while useful is also unfairly damaging to other manufacturers in that without that up front statement about standards compliance then the public can be led to believe that one or more products do not comply with relevant safety standards and are therefore a death risk.
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Old 30-05-2019   #7
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

Quote Originally Posted by AndyRKett View Post
What they did not do is replicate the tests of a grande from 2005, they tested a brand new 2017 model punto under the most current standards. So the zero star punto was not just a revisit of an old car, they were testing a new car very different to the original 2005 grande and under the new standards.

I'd disagree. The 2005 Grande Punto is practically identical to the 2017 model. It's built using the SCCS (Small Common Components and Systems) or "Fiat Small" platform co-developed with The General (Motors).

The main issue with the Punto 2017 is that it has a lack of warning bongs, not much Isofix and not much in the way of emergency braking assistance or auxillary airbags etc. This apparently disqualifies it from getting any stars in the latest NCAP rating system, which is called "Euro NCAP Advanced" (compared to the old-school "Euro NCAP").

I'm not sure that makes Punto a zero-stars car for safety. "Euro NCAP Advanced" deliberately (NCAP say as much) stresses new safety technologies. By rewarding these technologies "Advanced" is supposed to incentivise manufacturers to accelerate the standard fitment of safety equipment across their ranges (sadly Punto was too old for Fiat to find that cost-effective, so it was canned).

But if it's a new test then it should have had a new designation or nomenclature, such as 5+5 or in the Punto's case, 5+0. The average punter (see what I did there?) will only look at the headline rating. They won't delve into whether it's actually "5* for protection... but it got a 0* because there's no isofix in the front seat (yes, really).

Meanwhile I have a 3.5 stars Stilo... which won't ever be re-tested, so it's at least safer than a VW Frump! unless VW get their **** together and fit a Dandruff Analyser to tell drivers to get on their mobile and order up some more L'Oreal... or whatever the latest NCAP "proven" safety must-have is..


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Old 30-05-2019   #8
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

Euro emissions "standards" killed the direct injection 2 strokes. Not because these engines were dirty at any point in the running cycle but simply because they used an O2 sensor WITHOUT the three way catalyst.


Today's Rotax ETEC engines are stunningly clean and powerful with low running costs but the tech they use will never appear in European cars. They do appear in the USA where the regulators are no less stringent on emissions but do apply the rules more sensibly.


The standards demanded that a catalyst with O2 sensor has to be used with a three way system and that demands a stoichiometric air fuel ratio. The new 2 strokes were using a stratified charge with large excess air to ensure a fully clean burn at reduced peak pressures. That reduced all emissions including NOx but it could not work at stoichiometric ratios.


An excellent new tech was killed at birth simply because the regulator was defining the technology that must be used rather than the end results that must be achieved.

NCAP seem to be fostering the same types of problems in how they define what is safe and what is not.
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Old 30-05-2019   #9
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

Quote Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
The 2005 Grande Punto is practically identical to the 2017 model. It's built using the SCCS (Small Common Components and Systems) or "Fiat Small" platform co-developed with The General (Motors).

The main issue with the Punto 2017 is that it has a lack of warning bongs, not much Isofix and not much in the way of emergency braking assistance or auxillary airbags etc. This apparently disqualifies it from getting any stars in the latest NCAP rating system, which is called "Euro NCAP Advanced" (compared to the old-school "Euro NCAP").

but it got a 0* because there's no isofix in the front seat (yes, really).
The chassis is essentially the same but fiat did change a lot in 2010 with the evo which they carried over to the 2012 punto including a complete redesign of the dashboard. The seatbelts mount differently (believe it or not) and they brought in things like isofix which the grande didnít have at all.

You can rant about the lack of technology in the punto being the reason, letís be honest thatís all anyone seems to look at, but it didnít just perform badly on the tech.

You can take a very comparable car that uses the same platform, the 2014 Vauxhall corsa. This was tested with the new post 2010 standards, same as the new punto and while it did have some of the new tech, it also performed much better in every other area.

Adult occupants safety the punto got 51% the corsa got 79%
Child safety the punto got 43% the corsa got 77% (the corsa also had no isofix in the front btw)
Pedestrian safety the punto got 52% the corsa got 71%

So not counting bings and bongs the punto still performed badly, compared to a car built on the same platform, using the same essential shell in essentially the same tests.

People like to compare the newer punto with the grande, tested 12 years apart with completely different tests, ignoring a 2014 facelifted corsa performed better than the punto, both of which are based on the same 2005 grande/corsa d platform. The corsa gained 4 stars which shows that the punto could easily do much better.
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Old 30-05-2019   #10
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

Quote Originally Posted by DaveMcT View Post
Euro emissions "standards" killed the direct injection 2 strokes. Not because these engines were dirty at any point in the running cycle but simply because they used an O2 sensor WITHOUT the three way catalyst.


Today's Rotax ETEC engines are stunningly clean and powerful with low running costs but the tech they use will never appear in European cars. They do appear in the USA where the regulators are no less stringent on emissions but do apply the rules more sensibly.


An excellent new tech was killed at birth simply because the regulator was defining the technology that must be used rather than the end results that must be achieved.

NCAP seem to be fostering the same types of problems in how they define what is safe and what is not.
Isnít the rotax etec a snow mobile engine or boat engine not used in cars anyway? There are no cars that use direct injection 2 strokes ?

Also you can buy direct injection 2 stroke engines right now in the U.K. KTM sell a whole range of bikes.

This argument is not also factually wrong as far as I, aware on both counts, but itís also bizarre as I see no connection or comparison to NCAP testing cars
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Old 31-05-2019   #11
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

Quote Originally Posted by AndyRKett View Post
The chassis is essentially the same but fiat did change a lot in 2010 with the evo which they carried over to the 2012 punto including a complete redesign of the dashboard. The seatbelts mount differently (believe it or not) and they brought in things like isofix which the grande didn’t have at all.

You can rant about the lack of technology in the punto being the reason, let’s be honest that’s all anyone seems to look at, but it didn’t just perform badly on the tech.

You can take a very comparable car that uses the same platform, the 2014 Vauxhall corsa. This was tested with the new post 2010 standards, same as the new punto and while it did have some of the new tech, it also performed much better in every other area.

Adult occupants safety the punto got 51% the corsa got 79%
Child safety the punto got 43% the corsa got 77% (the corsa also had no isofix in the front btw)
Pedestrian safety the punto got 52% the corsa got 71%

So not counting bings and bongs the punto still performed badly, compared to a car built on the same platform, using the same essential shell in essentially the same tests.

People like to compare the newer punto with the grande, tested 12 years apart with completely different tests, ignoring a 2014 facelifted corsa performed better than the punto, both of which are based on the same 2005 grande/corsa d platform. The corsa gained 4 stars which shows that the punto could easily do much better.
A lot of your post is correct.. but it proves the OP's point in a number of ways.

First of all, if the 2014 Corsa got 4 stars, then the admittedly inferior (as anyone might expect, given the age difference) 2010 Punto which scores about 66% of the Corsa's score ought to have 2.6 stars (or 3 if you're rounding to the nearest whole star). Certainly not zero.

Secondly, the Corsa was tested under post-2010 standards (according to you... not doubting it but I have no idea without trawling the internet looking for precise confirmation). The Punto scores above... are they pre- or post 2010? How do I know there is not a "post 2012" or "post 2016" etc. test too, that both of us don't know about?

It would be a lot easier if NCAP just added a new star and then all we consumers would have to worry about is how many stars has it got, not whether it was tested in 2010, 2016, under a full moon during a leap year, or just the day Helmut had a hangover and his wife left him. I want to know how "safe" the car is, not decipher NCAP's process validity issues. NCAP is failing in this regard. Dare I say "zero stars"?

Finally, if you built a car that was essentially a T34 tank with wheels instead of tracks, otherwise it would be a tank, not a car.. then you would fancy your chances in a collision with absolutely any Mo-Fo on the road. For sure, T34 might not have a perfect score for head protection.. you're bound to smack your face on the gun breach.. but you would never die in that "tank" car.

Yet, it has no isofix, no driver aids (a longer steering lever may be optional), no anti-skid, no ABS, ESR, no auto-braking assist, no auto-dimming, auto-dip, auto-anything. You would get zero stars.... but in a collision between one of those and a 5* Nissan Micra. which one would give the best chance of surviving?

The case rests.


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Old 31-05-2019   #12
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

Quote Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post

Finally, if you built a car that was essentially a T34 tank with wheels instead of tracks, otherwise it would be a tank, not a car.. then you would fancy your chances in a collision with absolutely any Mo-Fo on the road. For sure, T34 might not have a perfect score for head protection.. you're bound to smack your face on the gun breach.. but you would never die in that "tank" car.

Yet, it has no isofix, no driver aids (a longer steering lever may be optional), no anti-skid, no ABS, ESR, no auto-braking assist, no auto-dimming, auto-dip, auto-anything. You would get zero stars.... but in a collision between one of those and a 5* Nissan Micra. which one would give the best chance of surviving?

The case rests.


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You would die in that "tank" car though.. physics is a bitch the stronger your vehicle the more violent the forces the passengers get subjected to in the event of a collision with a solid object. So unless your tank car weighed the same as T34 and could crush all items (one has to assume the fuel economy would be a bit poor) then you'd die in a 12mph impact with a wall from a fractured skull or internal injuries. The entire point of all the various systems is to either avoid the crash or ensure the car collapses in a controlled manner around the passenger cell without transmitting the force to the passengers.

If they were a similar weight to the Micra...then tank car passengers are dead, but at least you could hose it out and use it again. Also you'd have significantly more chance of having the accident in first place..
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Old 31-05-2019   #13
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

Quote Originally Posted by Ralf S. View Post
A lot of your post is correct.. but it proves the OP's point in a number of ways.

First of all, if the 2014 Corsa got 4 stars, then the admittedly inferior (as anyone might expect, given the age difference) 2010 Punto which scores about 66% of the Corsa's score ought to have 2.6 stars (or 3 if you're rounding to the nearest whole star). Certainly not zero.

Secondly, the Corsa was tested under post-2010 standards (according to you... not doubting it but I have no idea without trawling the internet looking for precise confirmation). The Punto scores above... are they pre- or post 2010? How do I know there is not a "post 2012" or "post 2016" etc. test too, that both of us don't know about?

It would be a lot easier if NCAP just added a new star and then all we consumers would have to worry about is how many stars has it got, not whether it was tested in 2010, 2016, under a full moon during a leap year, or just the day Helmut had a hangover and his wife left him. I want to know how "safe" the car is, not decipher NCAP's process validity issues. NCAP is failing in this regard. Dare I say "zero stars"?

Finally, if you built a car that was essentially a T34 tank with wheels instead of tracks, otherwise it would be a tank, not a car.. then you would fancy your chances in a collision with absolutely any Mo-Fo on the road. For sure, T34 might not have a perfect score for head protection.. you're bound to smack your face on the gun breach.. but you would never die in that "tank" car.

Yet, it has no isofix, no driver aids (a longer steering lever may be optional), no anti-skid, no ABS, ESR, no auto-braking assist, no auto-dimming, auto-dip, auto-anything. You would get zero stars.... but in a collision between one of those and a 5* Nissan Micra. which one would give the best chance of surviving?

The case rests.


Ralf S.
All very well and good, till someone else buys another tank and crashes into you, then someone will make a safer tank and everyone will be buying tanks so they donít get killed by another persons tank, till eventually someone sets up a body euroTankcap that crashes tanks in highly accurate ways to establish the safest tanks of all so consumers can make informed decisions about their tank purchase......

Seriously though. This does make a very valid point, while back in 2005 the grande got 5 stars, which I might add no one is denying, the world moved on and so that little 5 star punto tank is no match for a modern day little ncap 5 star rated super mini tank. Whether or not you agree with zero stars doesnít really matter, itís no longer a 5 star car. Zero stars or 2.6 stars itís all pretty terrible.
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

Quote Originally Posted by AndyRKett View Post
Isn’t the rotax etec a snow mobile engine or boat engine not used in cars anyway? There are no cars that use direct injection 2 strokes ?

Also you can buy direct injection 2 stroke engines right now in the U.K. KTM sell a whole range of bikes.

This argument is not also factually wrong as far as I, aware on both counts, but it’s also bizarre as I see no connection or comparison to NCAP testing cars
Agreed they are. But the USA EPA rules on off-road emissions are extremely tight. Rotax went for the DI 2 stroke because fours strokes with similar power took longer to warm up and all that while were much more dirty. They were also much heavier and only got worse when detuned to meet the emissions rules.

My point is that we are not allowed to have this technology in cars. Two strokes have come a very long way from the days of smoky old pop-pop bikes.

The comparison with NCAP testing of cars is simply that NCAP define what should be fitted rather than defining the end result. Exactly as they do with emissions. So it's a very pertinent point.

For example, a car with stability control gets better NCAP than one that does not have it. Giving reduced safety stars for not having afterthought tech seems unfair.
Now, if the cars were dynamically tested for cornering/braking stability and the SC car was better then fair enough. But that is not done.

KTM off-road bikes have two stokes (and very good they are) but you will see very few road models offered with 2 strokes. To be fair the off-roaders are race engines with short periods between major parts replacements. They do however, last longer (and cost less in parts) than the equivalent 4 strokes some of which need major overhauls every 16 hours of use.
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Last edited by DaveMcT; 03-06-2019 at 09:22.
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Old 03-06-2019   #15
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Re: Zero Stars & Euro NCAP

Quote Originally Posted by DaveMcT View Post
Agreed they are. But the USA EPA rules on off-road emissions are extremely tight. Rotax went for the DI 2 stroke because fours strokes with similar power took longer to warm up and all that while were much more dirty. They were also much heavier and only got worse when detuned to meet the emissions rules.

My point is that we are not allowed to have this technology in cars. Two strokes have come a very long way from the days of smoky old pop-pop bikes.

The comparison with NCAP testing of cars is simply that NCAP define what should be fitted rather than defining the end result. Exactly as they do with emissions. So it's a very pertinent point.

For example, a car with stability control gets better NCAP than one that does not have it. Giving reduced safety stars for not having afterthought tech seems unfair.
Now, if the cars were dynamically tested for cornering/braking stability and the SC car was better then fair enough. But that is not done.

KTM off-road bikes have two stokes (and very good they are) but you will see very few road models offered with 2 strokes. To be fair the off-roaders are race engines with short periods between major parts replacements. They do however, last longer (and cost less in parts) than the equivalent 4 strokes some of which need major overhauls every 16 hours of use.
Right well Iím not going to go into whether or not a 2 stroke in a car is ever going to be more fuel efficient than what we currently have in cars, small 2 stroke engines are ok in something like a snow mobile but I have no idea if they could reliably provide the 100+ hp that people need for their car.

NCAP is not about crash testing, itís about safety and safety is not just the result of the accident.

You take car A with stability control and car B with out and you could get very similar results in a crash test, but that tells buyers nothing about the fact that car A wonít let you get into certain situations that car B will

To this point ABS Became a standard requirement on all cars not so long back, these days stability control is now a standard requirement on all new cars. It wonít be long before emergency braking becomes standard, not because these things help in the event of an accident, they donít change the way the car crumples or the airbags deploy, but like an airbag cushioning the driver in the event of an accident emergency braking cushions the blow by slowing the car where the driver has not acted. Stability control helps in situations when the driver would have crashed. You can rant about the technology all you want tout the reason itís now included is because it makes cars safer not because it changes anything about the way the car reacts in a crash.

The point is about making cars safer by preventing accidents. Otherwise all accidents will be a game of car conkers and more often than not inertia wins.

In respect to the punto, well the punto just didnít do as well as the corsa and they are based on the same floor pan and basic shell. Clearly fiat where not doing something right
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