From the invention of the motor-car, way back in the late 19th century, driver and passenger safety inside the vehicle has been an issue. But for a long time, addressing concerns over automotive safety were something that didn’t feature highly on the list of the major producers. What a car looked like or how fast it travelled were deemed more important that how safe it was – with tragic consequences for anyone involved in a crash.
Changing times, changing priorities
Of course, over time, attitudes changed and producers realized that to remain customer-relevant they had to factor safety into their thinking – particularly as ownership trends showed a growing number of families enjoying the freedom of the open road. And now, in the 21st century, the result is cars that make driver and passenger safety a priority.
For example, partly to keep pace with changing road safety legislation and partly to satisfy customer demand, almost all cars now come with built-in safety features as standard – such as air bags, locking seatbelts, ABS and reinforced bodywork. But perhaps most significant of all, is the ongoing and rigorous safety tests all modern cars are now subject to, the results of which play a big part in helping establish the safest cars around.
One example is the annual Euro NCAP tests, which aim to go above and beyond the existing safety tests required by car manufacturers by law, to push brands into exceeding minimum safety requirements. As such, they’re a great indicator of the safest models.
So, what do the Euro NCAP tests from 2012 tell us about the current cars on the market?
Well, let’s look at the top performing cars for safety across the full spectrum of types – from sportier numbers to traditional family cars, with some of the ratings for each.
Five star performers
Most of us familiar with car brands know about Volvo’s reputation for putting safety first. But the Euro NCAP tests appear to prove there is real substance to that claim.
The Volvo V40 recorded a five star rating for safety based on the Euro NCAP crash test, including a perfect 100% for safety assistance features – with the premium hatchback model notching up the highest score of any car to undergo the test. It’s worth pointing out that the tests are extremely thorough including front, rear and side impact assessment plus whiplash, which is currently one of the major causes of personal injury claims in the UK.
Also recording a five-star rating was the Ford B-MAX 1.5 Diesel. This 5-door family hatchback scored highly for adult and child occupancy safety and performed well for pedestrian safety in the event of a collision too – something the tests take into account.
Next up in the hitlist of top performers right now is the Renault Clio. A favourite in the small car category, the Clio scored an impressive 99% for safety assistance.
Another small family car, the Kia Cee’d, emerged as one of the select 5-star performers from the Euro NCAP tests with high totals for adult and child occupant safety.
Lastly, also worth noting in the sportier end of the spectrum is the two door Audi A3. Again, it emerged as one of the top safest cars through its combined ratings for a range of factors including pedestrian safety and car occupancy safety for both adults and children.
You can find out more about the Euro NCAP car safety ratings on their website.
Tommy Scott works for an injury solicitor in Edinburgh and know that driving a safe car can really help save lives and his personal favourite is the Audi A3