In February 1997, the first Euro NCAP safety results were presented at a press conference. Since then, the five-star safety rating has continuously evolved as technology matures and new innovations are developed.
With this in mind, we’ve created a list of the cars awarded four- and five-star safety ratings in 2016. If you put safety first, these are the cars you need to consider.
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Alfa Romeo Giulia: five stars
From the beginning of the year, Euro NCAP applied a ‘Dual Rating’ scheme, awarding a default rating based on standard safety equipment across the range. Carmakers are able to apply for a second rating, showing the additional safety provided by an optional pack.
Not that the Alfa Romeo Giulia needed to fall back on a second rating. Back in June, the Italian saloon was awarded the maximum five-star rating, with Euro NCAP noting that it comes with “superior standard safety equipment as standard throughout Europe”. Indeed, the Giulia scored an impressive 98% for adult occupant safety: the highest mark of 2016.
Audi Q2: five stars
Speaking about the ‘Dual Rating’ scheme, Euro NCAP secretary general, Michiel van Ratingen said: “It is good to see the dual rating scheme being used as it encourages vehicle manufacturers to develop advanced technologies for their vehicles, even if pricing of the product does not allow it to be standard across the range.”
The Audi Q2 received the maximum five-star rating for safety with standard equipment. Audi’s new compact crossover – likely to be one of the most popular cars of 2017 – scored an impressive 93% for adult occupant safety and 86% for child occupant safety.
Ford Edge: five stars
Euro NCAP dished out no fewer than 14 five-star ratings in 2016, with the Ford Edge one of the beneficiaries. Look beyond the five stars and you’ll discover that Ford’s large SUV received the highest mark for safety assist technologies.
Commenting on the Edge, Euro NCAP said: “Its standard-fit autonomous emergency braking system showed good performance in test of its functionality at highway speeds, with complete avoidance of the target in some of the test scenarios. The Edge also has a lane assistance system that warns the driver when the car is drifting towards a lane marking and gently steers the car back to its path.”
Hyundai Ioniq: five stars
In 2016, Hyundai challenged the dominance of the Toyota Prius by launching the new Ioniq. In all four categories – adult occupant, child occupant, pedestrian safety and safety assist – the Pirus out-performed the Ioniq, but Hyundai won’t be too disappointed with a five-star rating.
Thomas A. Schmid, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor Europe, said: “State-of-the-art active safety features are fitted as standard in all versions making the Ioniq one of the safest cars in its segment and a safe and accessible e-mobility choice for customers.”
Kia Niro: five stars
For 2016, Euro NCAP made some subtle tweaks to its tests. The assessment of child occupant protection is now based on larger dummies, representing a six-year-old and a ten-year-old, rather than the smaller 18-month and three-year-old dummies.
The Kia Niro was tasted under the new ‘Dual Rating’ system, achieving a four-star rating with standard safety equipment. With an optional safety pack fitted, the Niro achieves the maximum five-star rating.
Mercedes-Benz E-Class: five stars
Also in 2016, Euro NCAP introduced a new layer to the pedestrian protection test, with cars that perform well in the standard tests able to score additional points if they have an autonomous emergency braking system that recognises pedestrians.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class scored well across three areas: 95% for adult occupants, 90% for child occupants and 77% for pedestrian safety. The E-Class is fitted as standard with a ‘Pre Safe’ system, which senses when an accident is about to occur and primes the restraint and protection systems.
Peugeot 3008: five stars
Electronic stability control is no longer part of the safety assist rating, as all cars must have such a system fitted by law. Euro NCAP is quick to point out that 2016 ratings should not be directly compared with earlier years.
The Peugeot 3008 scored 58% for safety assist, one of the lowest scores of 2016, yet still managed to drive away with a five-star rating. We say ‘drive’, although this is unlikely once Euro NCAP has finished with a car.
Renault Scenic: five stars
In 2001, the Renault Laguna became the first car to be awarded five stars for occupant protection, some four years after the very first Euro NCAP results were released.
The new Renault Scenic mirrors the result of the old Laguna with a maximum five-star rating. The new Scenic looks and feels a world away from the car it replaces, with a more SUV-like approach.
SEAT Ateca: five stars
SEAT’s first SUV received a maximum five-star rating back in the summer, with the Ateca receiving particularly good scores for adult and child occupant safety.
The Ateca is equipped with seven airbags as standard, including driver’s knee airbag, as well as seatbelts with pretensioner and load limiter in the front and rear seats. Other safety systems include blind spot detection, cross traffic alert, 360-degree view and tiredness recognition system.
Subaru Levorg: five stars
In August 2016, the Levorg became the fifth Subaru to score a maximum five-star rating. Later, Subaru added the clever EyeSight technology to every Levorg ordered in the UK. Data from Japan revealed a 61% reduction in crashes for vehicles equipped with EyeSight, compared to those without.
EyeSight features six technologies: pre-collision braking, pre-collision throttle management, adaptive cruise control, lane departure and sway warning, pre-collision steering assist, and lead vehicle start alert.
Suzuki Ignis: five stars
Another ‘Dual Rating’ here, with the Suzuki Ignis receiving a three-star rating when tested with standard safety equipment, but a maximum five stars when tested with a safety pack.
The Ignis SZ5 model is fitted with Dual Camera Brake Support (DCBS) and is the difference between a three and five-star rating. DCSB incorporates stereo cameras that function in a similar way to the human eye, detecting objects and alerting the driver with full braking if necessary.
Toyota Hilux: five stars
On the face of it, a maximum five-star rating for the Toyota Hilux is a tremendous result, making it the safest pick-up you can buy. The only other pick-up to receive a five-star rating was the Ford Ranger, but that was way back in 2012.
However, remove the optional Toyota Safety Sense and the rating drops to three stars.
Toyota Prius: five stars
It’s an excellent set of results for the Toyota Prius, with a score of 85% for safety assist technologies – the second highest rating of 2016.
Toyota’s Safety Sense is fitted as standard and includes autonomous braking, a lane assistance system and a camera-based speed assistance system.
Volkswagen Tiguan: five stars
The Volkswagen Tiguan is the last car on our list to receive the maximum five-star rating. A 96% rating for adult occupant safety is the second highest score of 2016, while an 84% rating for child occupant safety is similarly impressive.
The Tiguan features an emergency braking system and – as a first in the Tiguan – a pedestrian detection function.
Fiat Tipo: four stars
In standard form, the Fiat Tipo was awarded a middling three-star rating, although the fitment of an optional safety pack helped it to achieve an improved four-star rating. The result prompted Euro NCAP to issue a press release with the headline of “Fiat Tipo – it’s cheap, but is it safe?”
Michiel van Ratingen said: “The Tipo is marketed as a functional car which maximises value for money. However, to maximise safety, and to bring the car up to the protection levels offered by its biggest rivals in this segment, consumers should not pass over the safety pack.”
SsangYong Tivoli: four stars
The SsangYong Tivoli is another car to benefit from the Euro NCAP ‘Dual Rating’ system, with the crossover receiving a four-star rating when fitted with an optional safety pack.
Study the percentage ratings and you’ll discover the real difference a safety pack can make. Adult occupant safety up from 74% to 82%, pedestrian safety up from 55% to 65%, and safety assist up from 25% to 43%.
SsangYong Tivoli XLV: four stars
It will come as no surprise to discover that the SsangYong Tivoli XLV received identical scores to those awarded to the Tivoli. The XLV is a larger version of the Tivoli, boasting a massive 720 litres of cargo space.
Suzuki Baleno: four stars
Euro NCAP introduced the ‘Dual Rating’ system in April 2016, making the Suzuki Baleno the first car to benefit from the new approach.
In standard form, the Suzuki Baleno received a three-star rating. Add the radar brake support system and the star rating jumps to four.
Quadricycle safety at a standstill
Also in April, Euro NCAP issued a damning critique on the safety of quadricycles, arguing that the results show little improvement since the last tests performed in 2014. Quadricycles are not subject to the same legislation as passenger cars, but they look like city cars and are likely to compete for sales. You have been warned.