The Punto was awarded two stars for protection in frontal and side impact. All the new frontal-impact criteria were met apart from rearward movement of the steering wheel. In the frontal impact, the major problems related to intrusion and the instability of the passenger compartment. There were problems for the lower limbs and attention is required to the knee impact areas. The unstable head contact on the airbag suggests potential problems for different-sized drivers and those in different seating positions. In side impact, the greatest improvements could be expected from reducing rib loading while controlling the pelvis loading.
In the frontal impact, the Punto's passenger compartment became unstable owing to failure of the spot welds on the front door pillar and the partial detachment of the facia. Structural deformation was moderate. The driver's door buckled, allowing moderate collapse of the door aperture and intrusion of the facia. The driver's door required moderate force to open, and the passenger door needed limited force. The steering wheel was forced backwards by 213mm, which is judged excessive, and the front of the driver's seat base tilted down, allowing the dummy to have a low forward trajectory. There was moderate intrusion of the footwell.
The driver's head protection would have been good on the basis of the instrumentation, but was downrated to marginal because the head contact on the airbag was unstable and because of the excessive rearward intrusion of the steering wheel. Unstable airbag contact means the head of differently-sized drivers can slide off the bag. Neck protection was good. Seat belt loading on the chest was recorded as adequate but this was downrated to weak because of the intrusion of the facia and the instability of the passenger compartment. The driver's left knee struck and fractured the steering column cover and distorted the cover's support bracket. The knee then deformed the facia, to the left of the steering column, which was supported by a stiff steering column mount. The right knee hit the oddments bin. For both knees, there were stiff structures which could concentrate loads on part of the knee and further penetration into the facia would have resulted in sharply increased loads. Because of this, the results were downrated to weak for the left side, marginal for the right. Solely on the basis of the dummy instrumentation, protection of the left lower leg was found to be weak, the right lower leg adequate. In addition, intrusion of the footwell caused foot and ankle protection to be rated as poor.
Protection of the passenger's head, neck, knee/femur/pelvis and left lower leg was good. Seat belt loading resulted in the chest protection being rated as adequate, as was protection of the right lower leg.
Head protection was good. Chest protection was weak owing to the loading on the dummy's middle rib. Protection of the abdomen was found to be adequate. An instrumentation failure resulted in no data being available to assess pelvis protection. However, information supplied by the manufacturer indicated that the ratings would have been within the range adequate to weak. Within this range, the overall performance rating for the car would not vary.
A forward-facing Britax Supercruiser child seat identified with Fiat logos was fitted. In a frontal impact, forward movement of the child restraint was well controlled but it moved down into the rear seat as the child dummy moved forwards, and the dummy then rebounded in an upward direction. In addition, there was insufficient restraint of the child's upper body which allowed a large forward movement of the dummy's head to occur. The head rebounded to hit the car's rear seat backrest outside the area of the child restraint. The lateral movement of the child restraint under side impact was poor with the upper part of the restraint moving as far as the mid line of the car. The child's head then moved well beyond the sides of the child restraint.
Child head impact
Five of the six test points gave better-than-average protection. The worse-than-average test point was on the bonnet above a front suspension turret.
Upper leg impact
All three test points on the bonnet leading edge provided worse-than-average protection. The test points were at the centre of the car at the bonnet latch, above the centre of the headlight and in line with the inside edge of the headlight.
Adult head impact
One out of three test points gave better-than-average protection. The two poorer areas were on the scuttle panel in front of the windscreen and on the bonnet above the hinge.
Two of the three test points gave better-than-average protection. The poorer result was ahead of the towing eye mount.