The Punto gave a strong performance, revealing no areas of real concern. The cabin remained stable and could still be opened after the frontal impact. Less good was that the passenger's head hit the facia; this would have been more serious had such an impact happened to the other side of the car. The centre rear seat belt was of a simple two-point lap type that, it has been shown, can cause serious abdominal and spinal injuries. The child restraints had poor instruction labels and did not give very good sideways support: they allowed the dummies' torsos to come out of the seatbelts.
Damage to the cabin was insufficient to have seriously threatened the occupants. The steering wheel was slightly distorted but there was no evidence of chest contact. The front seat belts were equipped with real-mounted pyrotechnic pre-tensioners and were load limited. However, loadings on the driver's and passenger's chests were relatively high. Fiat intends to fit new front belt pre-tensioners and load limiters from March 2000.
When the Punto was first tested the results showed that the driver ran a high risk of serious chest injury. But the latest results were very good, even without a side airbag, and showed only a small risk of chest injury. This is an impressive performance by a small car that has a well designed body structure.
The seat for the three-year-old used the adult belt to restrain the dummy. This prevented the head from moving too far forward but gave little support laterally, allowing the child to roll to the right. This, together with there being no seat wing, allowed the head to move outside the restraint and strike the other child seat. The seat's instruction labels were inadequate; some could be removed; others could not be seen when fitting the restraint.
The score comes mostly from protection offered in adult and child head-impact areas. The leg impact sites were unforgiving, but two of them gave little protection.