You’d hope that any car you drove would protect you and everyone else in the event of a crash. To a certain extent this is true, but manufacturers can now prove that they will go above and beyond to keep drivers, passengers and pedestrians safe by putting their vehicle through NCAP tests.
The first ever car to be awarded the top occupant protection rating was the Renault Laguna in 2001. Over the years, hundreds of models have been given a star rating for safety, with each vehicle being given a score out of five since 2001.
The main areas of interest for NCAP are adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and safety assist. In 2010, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta became Euro NCAP’s safest ever compact car with a score of 87/100.
In recent years, the safest vehicles tested by NCAP have included the Chevrolet Aveo (2011), Jeep Cheroke (2013), Qoros 3 Sedan (2013), Mercedes C-Class (2014), Mazda MX-5 (Safest roadster/convertible 2015/2016) and the Honda Jazz (Safest supermini 2015/2016).
By running cars through a series of vigorous and ever-evolving tests, NCAP provides a safety performance assessment of popular superminis, family cars, roadsters, SUVs, pick-up trucks and many other vehicles. Their first ever set of test results were released February 1997 and since then their publications have become very popular.
The Qoros 3 Sedan received a 5 star Euro NCAP rating in 2013 and then went on to receive another from C-NCAP in 2015 who are known for their highly regulated and difficult safety tests. NCAP’s system rates vehicles based on the level of crash protection and crash avoidance technology and all manufacturers now strive for that top rating.
NCAP safety tests take up to four examples of a best-selling European variant and assess them at one of their six facilities. A percentage score for each rating area test then goes towards the overall star rating which helps consumers make an informed decision when purchasing their next vehicle.
Euro NCAP is an international association and crashworthiness improvements can be seen in new vehicles around the world as a result of their crash test programs. Structural designs are always being adjusted since manufacturers are ever more aware of the importance their NCAP rating can have on sales.
This year’s standout performer was the Volvo XC60. With its full five-star rating it has become the safest ever new car and in the 2017 tests it beat the larger XC90’s 97% adult occupant protection score.