The Ford Puma city SUV will drop from five to four stars for safety from next year after it was re-assessed under new crash-test criteria.
In what appears to be an own-goal, the Ford Puma city SUV will lose its five-star safety rating in Australia from next year – and drop to four stars – after it was re-tested under new, stricter protocols in Europe.
The re-test could have been done so that Ford could extend the Puma’s safety rating for another six years to the end of 2028 rather than expire at the end of 2025.
The Puma earned a five-star safety rating when it was first tested by Euro NCAP in 2019 – but a new round of testing conducted in Europe under stricter 2020-22 criteria has seen it fall short of a five-star score.
In a media statement, Ford Australia confirmed the lower four-star safety rating will apply to Australian-market Puma examples from the 2023 model year.
While crash-test results under old and new test criteria can’t be directly compared, the results show the Puma has scored lower in three of the four Euro NCAP areas of assessment in 2022 compared to its previous 2019 rating.
It is unclear why the Ford Puma was put through Euro NCAP testing a second time – and whether it was at the request of Ford, or if the safety body elected to re-test the Puma for validation, as happens from time to time.
Previously, the Ford Puma’s five-star safety rating would have expired on 31 December 2025 – but the re-test will mean Ford can continue to advertise the rating, now albeit a four-star result, until 31 December 2028 without any further safety upgrades.
The new four-star safety result comes weeks before ANCAP and Euro NCAP introduce even stricter test criteria for 2023.
Ford claims “some safety-related elements [of the Puma] have been enhanced”, including “improved retention systems”.
But despite any upgrades it has received, the Puma lacks key features which were not needed for five stars when it was first tested in 2019, but are now common among vehicles with five-star scores under today’s test criteria.
These include a centre airbag between the front seats to prevent occupants colliding in side-impact crashes – which saw the Puma lose four points it did not when it was first tested in 2019.
“Puma has been re-tested according to the latest Euro NCAP test protocol. With the changed requirements under the new protocol the result for Puma is a solid four-star rating,” a statement from Ford Australia reads.
“Some safety-related elements have been enhanced – including improved retention systems – for the car to achieve this rating. Safety continues to be of the highest importance when designing and engineering our vehicles, and Ford is committed to meeting or exceeding safety requirements across the globe.
“This rating will relate to Puma sold in Australia from [the] MY23 [Model Year 2023] model.”
Further details of any updates for the 2023 Ford Puma are due closer to its showroom arrival.