The new mid-sized Holden was awarded a full 5-Star rating, while the new Fiat SUV's local specifications could get it only to a 4-Star rating.
ANCAP CEO Nicholas Clarke said he was disappointed that the Freemont did not reach the five star safety level.
"Models like the Freemont are purpose-built to carry up to seven occupants, in particular families,” Mr Clarke said.
“It is therefore concerning that this model did not score sufficient points to achieve a five star ANCAP safety rating."
Mr Clarke said it was unfair that the Freemont sold in Australia should miss out on safety features - such as an ‘active’ bonnet to improve pedestrian safety - which are standard fitment in Europe.
Full specifications for the Malibu are yet to be released, but safety features will include rear park assist and electronic stability control, keeping it in-line with its rival offerings.
The Malibu will be available with a 2.4 litre four cylinder petrol engine or a 2.0 litre four cylinder turbo diesel, both linked to a six speed automatic.
Freemont safety features include six airbags, anti-lock braking with brake assist, electronic stability control, Hill-Holder and electronic rollover mitigation.
The Fiat Freemont is on sale now, while the Malibu will reach Holden showrooms next month.
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- Malibu | Holden | Freemont | Fiat
- Family Cars | Medium Sedans | SUVs