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Cars with big aspirations: Fiat 500 and Kia Cee'd get 5 stars

Last week, Euro NCAP released the results of two superminis, the Fiat 500 and the Renault Twingo, and two more cars in the small family class, the Kia Cee'd and the Peugeot 308. Three out of the four car achieved five-star ratings for adult occupant protection.

The iconic Fiat 500 received five stars in adult occupant protection with an overall score of 35 points, revealing that Fiat has not compromised safety, even when compromising the car's size.

Renault's Twingo, the other supermini, received four stars for adult occupant protection with an overall score of 28 points. No child protection rating is available for the Twingo as there was not enough space to fit Renault's recommended child restraints in the rear seats with the front seats set to Euro NCAP's test position for adults.

Euro NCAP said it was also greatly encouraged with the five-star result achieved by the Kia Cee'd, as it is the first Kia to do so since Euro NCAP first tested this make of car in 2003.

The Peugeot 308, the other small family car tested, received five stars in adult occupant protection and a higher result in pedestrian protection than the Kia Cee'd, with a three-star score.

Euro NCAP's secretary-general Adrian Hobbs said: "I am particularly happy to see the adult occupant protection results for the Fiat 500 and the Kia Cee'd. It is encouraging to see another small car offering high protection for its adult occupants.

"Congratulations also go to Kia for their first five-star result. It is satisfying that manufacturers from all parts of the world are putting safety first."

Fiat said in a statement last week that the Euro NCAP rating took the 500 to the top of its segment in terms of safety.

"To achieve its rating, (Fiat's) designers examined every possible type of accident: front and side collisions, overturns, rear-end collisions; the different speeds at which collisions take place; the different types of obstacle involved; and the protection of occupants with widely varying physical characteristics," it added.

Apart from a host of sophisticated devices, including passive safety, the new car guarantees constant, predictable road behaviour that will forgive many driver errors and enable the person at the wheel to overcome critical situations without difficulty.

As well as a high performance braking system, the Fiat 500 deploys the most sophisticated electronic devices for the control of the car's dynamic behaviour.

Renault said in a statement that the Twingo's four-star rating was an improvement on the three-star rating obtained by its predecessor. "Alongside this excellent, officially recognised level of passive safety, New Twingo also delivers reassuring handling and class-leading road manners with sure-footed, reliable performance," it added.

Among the novelties in the Twingo are a '3D' airbag for the front passenger, to optimise the distribution of force between the passengers head and chest in the event of an impact, three-point Isofix anchor points on up to three seats, class-leading handling thanks to its B-segment chassis and modern driving aids rarely seen on small city cars, including options for a speed limiter, cruise control, automatic lights, wipers and reversing radar.

Kia said in a statement that the Cee'd is among the safest cars in its segment. "The latest Euro NCAP result is a major landmark achievement for Kia," Yong-Hwan Kim, senior executive vice-president and COO, Kia Motors Corporation, said.

"The Cee'd is designed, engineered and built in Europe, to meet or surpass the expectations of European consumers in every respect - including safety. The combination of the car's many talents, plus the five-star safety rating and the unique Kia seven-year warranty, will make the Cee'd even more attractive to European consumers, offering real peace-of-mind and low ownership costs.

"Kia's safety engineers developed the new Cee'd to provide the highest levels of occupant protection in real-world accident scenarios. Our engineers predicted that Cee'd would achieve a Euro NCAP five-star rating and this result confirms the major advances made by Kia with its latest C-segment family car."

The Cee'd family will soon become complete, when the five-door Cee'd model will be complimented by the stylish Cee'd wagon, and the launch of the new three-door pro_cee'd model at the Frankfurt Motor Show later this month.

According to Jean-Charles Lievens, senior vice-president, Kia Motors Europe: "The Cee'd is the first Kia product and the first Korean-brand car ever to be awarded the top rating by a European safety organisation. The introduction of the Kia Cee'd has brought about a qualitative revolution for Kia, and together with our highly-productive factory in Slovakia, is beginning to change the way Kia is perceived by consumers.

"Most of the Cee'd five-door buyers are new 'conquest' customers switching to the Kia brand for the first time and we expect the Cee'd wagon and three-door pro_cee'd models will accelerate this trend."

Peugeot said the 308 received its maximum five-star occupant protection rating by Euro NCAP ahead of the model's launch. "Safety is always a crucial factor in the design of any new Peugeot vehicle. The 308, therefore, has benefited from Peugeot's wide experience and also from the latest technological advances to ensure it provides its occupants with the highest levels of safety."

The 308 is designed structurally to dissipate impact energy in a designed, controlled way. To provide the best possible protection for pedestrians, the car incorporates a pedestrian impact beam and protective padding to help reduce the extent of leg and thigh injuries.

In addition, the design of the bonnet and the shape of the inner frame ensure maximum space is available under the bonnet to limit head injuries if a pedestrian were to hit the bonnet. A total of nine airbags are available.

Active safety is also a strong point, with the standard specification on all models of ABS with EBFD and EBA. ESP and tyre pressure sensors are fitted as standard on the range topping Premium Pack and Feline models.

"With the launch of the new Peugeot 308, no longer will it be necessary to compromise on safety when choosing a family car. Now a family car can provide top levels of safety, a spacious luxurious interior and low emissions ensuring less pollution and lower running costs."

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