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New ute’s shocking crash test result

Jeep‘s new circa-$80,000 Gladiator ute has been hit with an underwhelming three-star crash rating.The disappointing result handed down by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) isn’t unexpected. The Jeep Wrangler — on which the Gladiator is based — also received a three-star safety score.Originally the Wrangler received a one-star safety rating but it was…

Jeep‘s new circa-$80,000 Gladiator ute has been hit with an underwhelming three-star crash rating.

The disappointing result handed down by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) isn’t unexpected. The Jeep Wrangler — on which the Gladiator is based — also received a three-star safety score.

Originally the Wrangler received a one-star safety rating but it was lifted to three stars after Jeep added safety tech such as auto emergency braking and blind-spot monitoring, which are standard on the Gladiator.

ANCAP’s communications director, Rhianne Robson, said the Gladiator had the same structural issues as the Wrangler, which could put occupants at risk during a crash.

“The structural issues we saw with the originally-tested Wrangler also apply to the Gladiator including A-pillar and cross-facia beam failure, footwell intrusion, high seatbelt loads and excessive pedal movement. These remain an increased risk for occupants,” said Mrs Robson.

ANCAP used crash data from the organisation’s previous test of the Wrangler rather than testing the Gladiator again. It said the technical information provded on the Gladiator determined it would have the same issues as the Wrangler.

The Wrangler tests showed that adult occupants and vulnerable road users — including pedestrians and cyclists — were particular areas of concern, with scores of 60 and 49 per cent respectively. The Gladiator scored 80 per cent in the child occupant tests.

“Consumers have come to expect a high level of safety regardless of price-point and market segment,” said Mrs Robson.

“Safety should remain a priority in all vehicle purchases, and this is no different for a vehicle of this type — particularly at this price-point.”

A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles spokeswoman said the Gladiator was equipped with vital safety equipment despite the three-star rating and ANCAP based their decision on technical information rather than a fresh crash test.

“The Gladiator is a specialist off-road performance vehicle that has more than 70 advanced safety systems. This includes front and side airbags, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-path detection, parking sensors, a rear-view camera and autonomous emergency braking.”

The Jeep Gladiator and Wrangler have their origins in the original Willy’s Jeep from World War II. They still maintain some of that car’s design with the flat front grille and boxy shape as well as removable doors, roof and windscreen.

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