Volvo XC60 safety crash test

Euro NCAP announces ‘game-changing’ new safety tests for 2020

Volvo XC60 safety crash test

Safety organisation Euro NCAP has announced stringent new standards for crash tests from 2020 which include assessing the impact of big vehicles on smaller ones.

Reflecting the growth in popularity of larger, heavier SUVs, the new test comprises a moving barrier which the moving test vehicle collides with.

It replaces a ‘static’ barrier test used by Euro NCAP for the past 23 years and allows testers to judge how the test vehicle contributes to injuries in the other vehicle.

Called the compatibility test, the UK’s Thatcham Research has been a lead partner in creating the new regime.

“Historically, SUVs and other big cars have offered very good protection to their occupants,” explained Thatcham Research’s Matthew Avery, a Euro NCAP board member.

“However, the smaller vehicles they sometimes crash into can fare less well.”

“In the new compatibility test, if the larger vehicle is too stiff in an impact scenario, it will be penalised accordingly. This levels the playing field for all vehicle sizes, which is a win-win for road safety.”

Euro NCAP 2020

A graphic showing the location of the centre airbag in the new 2020 Honda Jazz

Other changes include a new test to assess centre airbags, which are designed to protect interaction between driver and passenger in side impact tests.

Side impacts cause the second-highest rate of death or serious injury in vehicle collisions.

The new 2020 Honda Jazz, pictured above, is one of the first mainstream cars to be available with a centre airbag. 

The standards for assessing AEB autonomous emergency braking systems are raised, and Euro NCAP is to carry out the first assessments of driver alert systems.

“We believe that driver monitoring is the next big thing in active safety technology,” said Mr Avery.

Post-crash safety will be rated too, including how accurately e-call systems send rescue information to emergency services, and how easy it is to get occupants out of a crashed vehicle – this includes rating aspects such as electric door handles.

Carmakers will also be rewarded for making information on where it’s safe to cut a vehicle should extraction be required easily available.

The first tests to the new standards will be announced later this summer, after Euro NCAP testing was put on hold due to the coronavirus crisis.


The history of Euro NCAP safety tests

Fiat Panda scores ZERO in 2018 Euro NCAP test shock

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Safest cars of 2020: best crash-test results revealed

Euro NCAP safest cars of last year

Car safety watchdog Euro NCAP has published a list of star performing cars from recent tests. Of the 55 new cars crashed last year, 41 earned a full five stars. That makes 2019 one of the most impressive years on record since Euro NCAP started testing.

So which cars stood out among such a broad selection of top performers? The Mercedes-Benz CLA gets a special shout-out for scoring more than 90 percent in three of the four categories. It delivered the best overall rating of the year, and was the first of six Mercedes models to get five stars.

Tesla takes the top spotsEuro NCAP safest cars of last year

Also, 2019 was the year that two new models from Tesla were tested. The Model X and Model 3 both performed outstandingly. The X took best in class for the Large Off-Road category, beating the Seat Tarraco. The Model 3 took the top spot in the Electric and Hybrid class, in addition to holding the joint-best slot in Large Family, in tandem with the new BMW 3 Series.

The Model 3 and BMW 3 Series came out with identical scores, save for pedestrian protection and safety assist. The BMW edged the Tesla for pedestrian protection, while the Tesla nosed ahead for safety assist. 

Euro NCAP safest cars of last year

In the Small Off-Road and Small MPV classes, Subaru’s new Forester fended off stiff competition from the Mazda CX-30 and Volkswagen T-Cross.

Mazda had a good 2019 overall. Its new 3 family hatchback took second place behind the Mercedes CLA and was commended for ‘exceptional performance in adult occupant protection’.

Clio and A1 – the safest superminis Euro NCAP safest cars of last year

In the world of the supermini, 2019 was a busy year. The new Renault Clio and Audi A1 took joint top honours, beating the new Ford Puma.

The BMW Z4 was the only roadster to be tested in 2019. It put in what NCAP calls an ‘outstanding performance’, which ‘unquestionably has set a new safety benchmark for the segment’.

Tesla Model X a ‘stand-out performer’ in Euro NCAP safety tests

NCAP results Tesla Model X and Porsche Taycan

Euro NCAP has published its penultimate results of the year – and this one’s a biggie. The Tesla Model X, Porsche Taycan, and new Ford Kuga have faced Euro NCAP’s crash testing. 

Some good news for Tesla – the Model X has been described as ‘stand-out performer’. It’s safety assist score was a heady 94 percent, the same score that the Model 3 got earlier this year. The big Tesla also got 98 percent for adult occupant protection. That makes it a contender for Best in Class for 2019. 

NCAP results Tesla Model X and Porsche Taycan

It’s not the only strong-performing EV in this round, though. It’s joined by the Taycan, Porsche’s newly-minted thorn in the side for Tesla’s high-end EV monopoly. It scored five stars, too, though it’s individual percentages aren’t as impressive as the Tesla. It got 85 percent and 73 percent in adult occupant and safety assist respectively.

“The devil’s in the detail when you compare the Euro NCAP assessments of the Tesla Model X and Porsche Taycan. Both are safe cars, but the Tesla Model X is the stand-out,” said Matthew Avery, director of research, Thatcham Research and Euro NCAP board member.

NCAP results Tesla Model X and Porsche Taycan

In the realms of more conventional cars, Skoda’s new Octavia, the new Renault Captur, Ford’s new Kuga, the facelift Audi Q7 and the new Subaru Forester all scored five stars. Peugeot’s 2008 just misses out on an unconditional five stars, given that safety packs need to be equipped.

The addition of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) helps keep some older cars up to date. The Ford Mondeo earns five stars as a result, while Volkswagen’s Sharan and its sister car, the Seat Alhambra, both hold a steady four-star score. Worryingly, however, the Sharan was penalised for its door detaching in a side pole test. This poses a risk of occupants being ejected in an accident.

The Jeep Renegade got a bad rap, too, still only having AEB as an option. It’s the only sub four-star score of 2019. Last year, the Wrangler got a pitiful one-star rating – one of the lowest ever seen.

NCAP results Tesla Model X and Porsche Taycan

“Well done to Tesla and the other five stars performers for not only bringing best in class performance in testing but also making safety systems accessible and standard across the European market,” said Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP’s secretary general.

“It is also good to see manufacturers – Ford and Volkswagen in this case – standardising AEB and keeping safety up-to-date even for older cars, to the benefit of their customers. It’s a pity that not everyone follows this example, and by prioritising looks over substance Jeep ended up at the bottom of the list of this year’s rated cars. The good news is that consumers have more choice than ever to find a safer alternative.”

Five stars: Euro NCAP names safest new SUVs

Mercedes G-Class safety rating

The new Mercedes-Benz G-Class is one of three new SUVs to be awarded a maximum five-star safety rating by Euro NCAP – highlighting the reinvention of this iconic off-roader.

What’s even more impressive is that the G-Class – a left-hand-drive G 350d – was subjected to Euro NCAP’s more stringent protocols of 2019, making a five-star rating harder to achieve than last year.

The Mercedes scored 90 percent for adult occupant safety, 83 percent for child occupant safety, 78 percent for vulnerable road users, and 72 percent for safety assist technology. 

Seat’s new seven-seat SUV, the Tarraco, delivered an even better performance, scoring a near-perfect 97 percent for adult occupant safety. For child safety, pedestrian safety and technology, the Tarraco scored 84 percent, 79 percent and 79 percent respectively.

SEAT Tarraco crash test

What makes this all the more impressive is that the Tarraco shares its platform with the Kodiaq, with the Skoda receiving lower scores in every category when it was crash tested in 2017.

Finally, the new Honda CR-V is awarded a maximum five-star rating, scoring 93 percent for adult safety, 83 percent for child safety, 70 percent for vulnerable road users and 76 percent for safety assist technology.

The power of consumer testing

Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, said, “Here we have three new vehicles, competing in the same segment and getting top safety ratings.

“That’s impressive enough, but the fact that all three off-roaders are equipped with pedestrian and cyclist AEB systems really demonstrates the power of consumer testing not only to encourage better performance but also to promote new technologies as standard-fit across Europe.”

Last year, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class was named the safest small family car by Euro NCAP, with the Lexus ES scooping the award in the large family car and hybrid/electric categories. The Hyundai Nexo was the safest large off-road car of 2018.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Fiat Panda received a zero rating while the Jeep Wrangler was awarded just a single star.

Euro NCAP reveals safest-in-class cars for 2018

Car safety watchdog Euro NCAP has announced the safest cars in each class for 2018. Three cars tested this year have achieved a best-in-class result, marking a great year of progression in automotive safety.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class was considered a standout performer in the Small Family Car class, delivering the year’s best result.

The Lexus ES was rated best overall in the Large Family Car segment, also bagging a new award for the best performing hybrid or electric vehicle.

And the Hyundai Nexo brought home the bacon in the Large Off-Roader segment.

Euro NCAP best in class 2018 car crash safety

A little-known fact about Euro NCAP’s testing procedure is that it evolves year on year. Five-star cars tested in 2005, for example, might not get five stars today. Indeed, even compared with last year, this year’s testing has advanced.

One factor Euro NCAP Secretary General Michiel van Ratingen references is Vulnerable Road User protection. This is one of many areas where all three best-in-class winners put in an exemplary performance. 

Autonomous driving is increasing in significance at a rapid rate, too. That’s led to a new focus on automated technology for Euro NCAP.

Euro NCAP best in class 2018 car crash safety

Establishing just what level of independence certain systems can be granted is key. But what isn’t in doubt is that this will be steadily increase as technology gets more sophisticated. Euro NCAP’s role is to assess and convey exactly what these systems mean for drivers.

Read more:

Nissan Leaf scores five stars in tough new NCAP crash test

Nissan Leaf scores five stars in tough new NCAP crash test

Nissan Leaf scores five stars in tough new NCAP crash test

The electric Nissan Leaf has been awarded five stars as part of a tougher Euro NCAP safety test introduced for 2018.

NCAP says it’s revised its agenda to focus on safety technology to help protect vulnerable road users, including the introduction of a cycling detection test for autonomous emergency braking.

Detecting cyclists presents new challenges to car manufacturers, says NCAP: “Sensors must have a wide angle of view to detect fast-moving cyclists in good time, and complex algorithms are needed to ensure correct identification of potential collision threats while avoiding false activations.”

The new Nissan Leaf is the first car to be tested for its cyclist-detection with auto brake technology.

“These latest updates in Euro NCAP’s active safety testing focus on both the protection of those inside the car and those who share road-space with it,” said Euro NCAP’s secretary general, Michiel van Ratingen.

“Our new assessments demonstrate the increasing level of sophistication that can be achieved by connecting various sensor systems installed on the vehicle. As the cost of these systems drops and computing capabilities increase, standard vehicles will soon become able to help prevent significantly more complex real-life crashes.

“Euro NCAP seeks to encourage this trend and in the context of a safe systems approach, will continue to challenge auto makers to deliver the highest levels of safety performance as standard, for car occupants and vulnerable road users.”

When the original Nissan Leaf was launched in 2011, it was the first all-electric car to be rated five stars by Euro NCAP. With car buyers being encouraged to turn away from conventional engines, NCAP says the Leaf proves that environmental friendliness does not need to come at the expense of improved safety.

As well as a focus on cyclist detection, other changes to the Euro NCAP test for 2018 include testing of pedestrian detection in darkness and obscure lighting conditions to ensure these systems work at all times.

Emergency lane keeping systems are also being tested – with NCAP ensuring they react to the road edge (marked and unmarked) so the vehicle does not run off the road or steer into the path of another vehicle.

Read more:

The safest new cars of 2016

The safest new cars of 2016

The safest new cars of 2016In 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.

Alfa Romeo Giulia: five starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 starsThe safest new cars of 2016

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 standstillThe safest new cars of 2016

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.

EQUA Air Quality Index Audi A3

New EQUA ‘NCAP for NOx emissions’ test ranks real-world car pollution

EQUA Air Quality Index Audi A3Emissions Analytics has launched the first fully independent index-based NOx emissions standard for cars and the UK firm claims the new EQUA Index provides a level playing field “to help clear the confusion over real world NOx emissions”.

The new EQUA Air Quality Index has been developed from Emissions Analytics’ existing real-world car economy test. Purely assessing NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions, it gives a simple score from A to H for all cars tested.

An A rating means a car meets current NOx limits for diesel and petrol cars: an H rating is worse than even the very oldest Euro emissions standard – equivalent to 12 times the current Euro 6 limit. The ratings are explained in full below.

Alarmingly, more than 50 older Euro 5 diesels scored an ultra-dirty H rating, along with three current-standard Euro 6 cars – and a supposedly-green diesel-hybrid model, the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4, was also given a worst-possible H rating.

The EQUA Air Quality Index has been launched with ratings for 440 vehicles and the firm has vowed to test 200-400 new cars each year to ensure the rankings are as up-to-date as possible.

> Search the EQUA Index database

Nick Molden, CEO and founder of Emissions Analytics, said: “There’s a great deal of confusion among car buyers on the subject of pollutant emissions, but we’re able to deliver impartial and precise information to help them buy better.

“We’re also looking forward to working with the industry as a whole to highlight the best vehicles available.”

EQUA Air Quality Index: the winners and losers

Volkswagen Group cars are the big winner of the EQUA Air Quality Index tests. A batch of its latest Euro 6 diesels have been tested – and of the six cars assessed, all six have achieved the very cleanest A-rating, suggesting tailpipe NOx emissions are exactly what Volkswagen claims in real-world use.

Proof that no defeat devices are active on the latest models..?

The BMW 3 Series also achieved an A-rating for real-world Euro 6 diesel emissions – the only other Euro 6 diesel to do so: of the 62 latest-spec cars tested, three scored B-ratings, 9 were rated C, 13 were rated D, a worrying 20 were rated E, five scored F, two G and three the very worst H rating.

These models were the Fiat 500X 1.6-litre diesel SsangYong Korando 2.2-litre diesel, plus the 2013 Audi A8 3.0-litre diesel that’s no longer on sale (an indication that defeat device systems could be active on in-market Volkswagen Group cars?).

In contrast, all but four of the 45 Euro 6 petrol cars tested were rated A, suggesting the latest diesel models in particular have an issue with hitting Euro 6 NOx targets in real world use. All diesels, that is, except Volkswagen Group diesels…

Every single Euro 6 hybrid vehicle also achieved an A-rating.

As for Euro 5 diesels (which were applicable for new cars in showrooms up until September 2014 for newly-launched models and September 2015 for existing on-sale in-market motors), things are far worse.

Not a single Euro 5 diesel car scored an A-rating, or a B-rating: the best model was the Skoda Octavia 1.6-litre TDI, with a C-rating. Then it was five D-rated cars (proving Euro 5 cars can only meet Euro 4 limits), followed by a staggering number of E, F, G and H-rated cars.

Such H-rated models include best-sellers such as the BMW 1 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Nissan Qashqai, Renault Clio, Vauxhall Corsa and, yes, the 1.6-litre Volkswagen Passat.

However, all but eight of more than 100 older Euro 5 petrol cars tested failed to score the very lowest A-rating for NOx emissions. Does this mean air quality campaigners are right to focus on getting older diesel models off Britain’s roads?

EQUA Air Quality Index table