Volvo is no crash test dummy
T HE safest cars which were crash tested last year have been named to help drivers make better choices when selecting their next new vehicle.
Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) conducts ever stricter and more realistic tests and now also judges vehicles on how well they help the driver to avoid a crash in the first place as well as assessing how it performs and protects both adult and child occupants, as well as the effect on pedestrians, in the event of a collision.
Last year Euro NCAP put 36 vehicles through their paces.
The new Renault Clio is the best in the supermini sector, the Volvo V40 won the small family car category and the BMW 3 Series the large family car one.
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The Fiat 500L and Ford B-MAX shared the honours in the small MPV segment, Ford's Kuga took the small 4x4 title and Hyundai's Santa Fe the large 4x4 one and the Ford Transit took both the business and family van awards.
The Volvo V40 reached the highest combined score of any car previously tested by Euro NCAP and the Ford Transit is the first van to achieve a Euro NCAP five star overall rating.
In stark contrast last year's underperformers were the Jeep Compass and Renault Trafic, each of which was only able to score two stars against the latest set of requirements.
With manufacturers offering new safety technology and continuously improving designs, further updates to the Euro NCAP star rating are scheduled. Last June it announced its decision to include Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems in the star rating in an effort to promote wider fitting of this life saving technology in Europe.
At the moment only a few car makers build this into their models.
Euro NCAP has recently added Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) in its safety rating, building on the previous protocol for driver set speed limitation devices.
It has also broadened its assessment of child safety by adding an extensive evaluation of how well cars accommodate many of the most popular child restraints. Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary general, says: "Euro NCAP is recognising the efforts of some manufacturers already offering a higher level of occupant protection in their cars but today safety means more than protecting occupants in a crash. Through the expansion of our tests and the assessment of important active safety systems, our aim is to inform and allow all road users to benefit from safe cars with advanced systems in the most affordable way, and to contribute in reducing the number of road accidents.''