Smith-Jones

Which are the safest cars?

Introduction

If you’re on the look out for your next family car then safety is likely to be one of your top priorities.

Whilst safety has improved massively over the past few years, all new vehicles must still pass certain safety requirements and this is regulated by the European New Car Assessment Programme (or “Euro NCAP”).  This independent body performs crash tests on the vast majority of vehicles that go on sale through the UK and Europe and provides scores on four key areas namely:

NCAP Safety Score Categories

  1. Adult occupant protection

  2. Child occupant protection

  3. Pedestrian protection and

  4. Safety assistance

Each year, Euro NCAP highlights those models which have achieved the highest scores in their respective class so it’s always advisable to take their advice since this is likely to be the most reliable.

In this article we look at the top ten safest cars of 2017.

Who have Euro NCAP named as the safest cars?

Coming in with the highest ratings for safety are the Subaru Imprezas, very closely followed by the Subaru XV. Perhaps not surprisingly, Subaru pride themselves on the level of safety offered by all their models and tend to score consistently high in safety tests across the globe. Committed to “all-round safety”, they’ve already won numerous safety assessment awards and their driver feedback really does speak for itself.

In third place – and scoring an impressive 93{d0b33ffed4c839fc4b18c811774d92ca1331969f61d589721459b0764cff8e09} on the adult protection score (just 1{d0b33ffed4c839fc4b18c811774d92ca1331969f61d589721459b0764cff8e09} below the Subaru) – is the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia. Having not previously been tested by NCAP since 2009, it’s apparent that Vauxhall certainly haven’t scrimped on safety, given its six airbags, ISOFIX child seat mounts and electronic stability control which are all fitted as standard.

This year – and only three months after making its first global debut – the new Hyundai i30 also achieved 5-star ratings across all four categories, making it an ideal choice for smaller families. What’s more, the i20 range was also rated as “above average” for reliability during the 2017 Driver Power survey conducted by www.carbuyer.co.uk with only 3.6{d0b33ffed4c839fc4b18c811774d92ca1331969f61d589721459b0764cff8e09} of owners reporting a problem with their vehicle on one or more occasions.

In 5th and 6th place followed the Kia Rio and Kia Stonic respectively. Whilst the Rio hadn’t been on sale long enough to be featured in the Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, its predecessor came 71st out of 150 cars during 2016 and finished in 22nd place for reliability, thus giving it added appeal over similar body types.

All Rio’s now feature electronic stability control and hill-start assistance as standard – however, it’s worth noting that the Euro NCAP conducted during 2017 only applies to those vehicles fitted with the optional Advanced Driving Assistance Pack. When tested without this optional add-on the Rio dropped to just a three-star rating.  That said, since Kia have recently increased the percentage of high-strength steel used in the construction of the car, safety credentials have certainly improved compared to the previous models.

According to www.whatcar.com there’s also good reason why the Vauxhall Crossland also achieved five-star ratings during the Euro NCAP testing, thus putting it firmly into 7th place.  As with most of its rivals, the Crossland X has six airbags and a stability control system, although it didn’t score particularly well for rear-seat adult protection due to the high likelihood of whiplash injuries being sustained and this is due to the poor design of the rear head restraints. What’s more, if you want the reassurance of automatic emergency braking then you can expect to pay extra since its part of a safety pack which also includes a driver drowsiness detector.

In 8th place is the Citreon C3 which has an impressive range of safety features fitted as standard, including six airbags, lane-departure warning, speed limit display and even a tiredness monitor. However, whilst its rivals such as the Skoda Fabia and Nissan Micra feature autonomous emergency city braking, the C3 doesn’t – not even as an optional extra, which is quite surprising given that they’re generally used as a commuting car. That said, it’s currently the only vehicle featuring an in-built dashcam which is certainly useful if you’re looking to reduce your insurance premiums.  They’re currently available as an optional extra on the Feel trim and come as standard on the top Flair model.

Another zippy car about town is the Mini Countryman and this made for 9th place during the testing process. In terms of safety it has eight airbags (as opposed to six, which seems to be common among its rivals) and even has traffic sign recognition as an optional extra.

In terms of standard features you can expect stability control, traction control, rear parking sensors and a tyre pressure monitor making it an ideal car to either use about town or on much longer journeys.

Finally, in 10th place is the Mercedes Benz C-Class cabriolet. Again, having achieved five stars in the Euro NCAP testing it features everything you’d expect from a vehicle of this calibre including stability control, anti-lock brakes, a host of airbags throughout the vehicle, ISOFIX child car seat mounts and tyre pressure monitoring. What’s more, it has also automatic braking should the vehicle detect an imminent collision and a pop-up bonnet which helps improve pedestrian impact scores. Put simply, even the fact that this particular model is a cabriolet version it certainly doesn’t compromise in terms of safety features and this is something Mercedes are renowned for.

Conclusion

It’s certainly reassuring to know that safety remains one of the key concerns for today’s car manufacturers and the Euro NCAP ratings make for very useful reading if you’re looking to compare safety ratings. Their website can be found at www.euroncap.com.

When choosing a vehicle, it’s always a good idea to speak with your local showroom to emphasise your concerns about safety and in some cases, you might well be able to negotiate certain additional features as part of the package. As the old adage goes, ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’!

Of course, another major concern for most car buyers is the actual selling price and it perhaps goes without saying that the more you’re prepared to pay, the more safety features you’re likely to have included as part of the package. For this reason, it might also be advisable to shop around for second hand models which, although older, certainly won’t compromise in terms of safety standards.