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The cheapest new cars with five stars for safety

Cheap five star safety

The three-point safety belt was created by Volvo in 1959, and more than a million people are estimated to have survived a car accident thanks to the 60-year-old invention. Volvo was also the first manufacturer to fit three-point safety belts as standard, in 1963.

It’s easy to claim you can’t put a price on safety, but when it comes to buying a new car you don’t need to break the bank to protect yourself on the road. All of the 20 cars featured here have been given the highest possible rating of five stars for safety by Euro NCAP, yet presently cost less than £20,000.

Safety ratings explained

Cheap five star safety

Established in 1997, the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) has challenged car manufacturers to take safety seriously. Subjecting new cars to a series of crash tests, Euro NCAP independently rates new cars on a scale of one to five stars. As safety technology has developed, Euro NCAP has changed the rating process to take this into account.

This means it’s harder to achieve a maximum five-star rating in 2019 than it was in 2012, with cars also needing standard crash avoidance technology to claim top marks. To keep things recent, our list only includes cars tested since 2013, while any cars no longer in production have been excluded.

Suzuki Ignis (with Safety Pack)

Cheap five star safety

With a starting price of just £10,849, the Ignis supermini is the cheapest car on our list. There is a catch: the five-star rating awarded in 2016 only applies to the Ignis when specified with an optional ‘Safety Pack’.

This pack includes a camera-based automatic braking system that, without, sees the Ignis score just three stars. However, even adding the £750 Safety Pack to the price of the entry-level SZ3 model, still sees the Ignis undercut everything else on this list.

Skoda Fabia

Cheap five star safety

Skoda takes safety seriously, so you can be confident that even the most basic Fabia supermini will have your back, despite costing just £12,255. Awarded top marks when assessed in 2014, the Euro NCAP testers noted that the passenger compartment of the Fabia remained stable on frontal impact, with good protection of head and legs.

The entry-level S trim means no air conditioning or satellite navigation, but you can add a blind-spot monitor and hill-hold assist if you so wish.

Nissan Micra (with Safety Pack)

Cheap five star safety

As with the Ignis, in order to claim the full five stars, the Nissan Micra needs to be equipped with certain safety features. Fortunately, all Micras sold in the UK come with the requisite Lane Departure Warning, and Intelligent Emergency Braking to qualify for five stars. It means you can spend just £12,880 and feel quietly confident.

Toyota Yaris

Cheap five star safety

Currently available with a £525 discount if ordered by 30 June 2019, the Toyota Yaris achieved a maximum five-star rating when it was tested in 2017. Toyota’s Safety Sense package comprises a pre-collision system with autonomous emergency braking, automatic high beam and lane-departure alert, and is standard across the range.

All models apart from the entry-level Yaris Active also feature road-sign assist. Take advantage of the discount and the Yaris range starts from £12,995.

Kia Rio

Cheap five star safety

Order a Kia Rio ‘1’ without the optional Advanced Driving Assistance Pack (ADAP) and you’ll be driving a car with a three-star safety rating. Spend £350 and you’ll own a supermini with a five-star rating. It seems like a small price to pay for an enhanced safety package.

Alternatively, opt for the Rio ‘2’, which features the safety pack as standard, along with alloy wheels, rear electric windows, a seven-inch display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Rio ‘2’ prices start from £14,735, while the Rio ‘1’, without the safety package, costs £12,495.

Honda Jazz

Cheap five star safety

The sensible car of choice for many, it is perhaps hardly unsurprising that the Honda Jazz notched up a strong performance when evaluated by Euro NCAP in 2015. It’s adult occupant rating of 93 percent even outscores the latest Civic, along with good protection against whiplash for both front and rear passengers.

An active city braking system is standard on all models, including the cheapest S version that costs just £14,600.

Seat Ibiza

Cheap five star safety

Scoring an impressive 95 percent for adult occupant crash protection, the Seat Ibiza comes with a wealth of airbags, brake assistance technology, and even a speed limiting function as standard.

With the poverty-spec S model no longer available, the Ibiza range looks a whole lot more desirable, with the entry-level SE offering 15-inch alloy wheels, a 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, LED daytime running lights and metallic paint.

Citroen C3 Aircross

Cheap five star safety

If you’re looking for a reason to opt for the Citroen C3 Aircross over the standard C3 supermini, the fact that the high-riding version achieved a five-star safety rating might sway your decision.

While the scores of 85 percent for adult protection and 82 percent for child protection are marginally lower than those achieved by the C3, the C3 Aircross performed better in the pedestrian safety and safety assist categories. Prices start from £15,550.

Ford Fiesta

Cheap five star safety

Tested in 2017, the Ford Fiesta was rated 87 percent for adult protection and 84 percent for child occupant protection. A score of 60 percent for driver assistance is less impressive, but lane departure warning and lane keeping assist are standard across the range.

Sadly, autonomous emergency braking costs extra. The Fiesta Zetec costs from £15,670.

Volkswagen Polo

Cheap five star safety

The Volkswagen Polo has a solid and dependable reputation to uphold, so a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating was almost guaranteed. A score of 96 percent for adult occupant protection is seriously impressive for a supermini – only the larger and more expensive Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Volvo XC60 scored higher in 2017.

All Polo models come with autonomous emergency braking, but other systems are optional. Prices start from £15,735.

Suzuki Vitara

Cheap five star safety

The £16,999 Suzuki Vitara in SZ4 trim comes with seven airbags, Isofix child seat mounts, electronic stability control and cruise control with a speed limiter. Higher specification versions also include radar-operated brake assist, which the Euro NCAP assessors noted as ‘good’ when tested in 2015.

All of the above helps the Vitara make a strong case for itself in the competitive compact SUV market.

Hyundai i30

Cheap five star safety

It should be no surprise that the latest Hyundai i30 comes packed with standard safety equipment. That includes autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist, and a forward-facing camera that scans for potential collisions.

All of this kit comes as standard on even the cheapest S model, priced at £17,130. Euro NCAP was impressed, awarding the i30 five stars after testing it in 2017.

Seat Arona

Cheap five star safety

Another car tested in 2017, the Seat Arona delivered a better set of results than its platform-sharing sibling, the Ibiza. The 95 percent for adult occupant protection and 60 percent for driver assistance systems are the same for both cars, but the Arona’s 80 percent for child protection is three percent higher than the Ibiza’s score of 77 percent.

It’s a likeable compact SUV that’s big on space and surprisingly fun to drive. The Arona range kicks off at £17,150.

Hyundai Kona

Cheap five star safety

While the Seat Arona is based on a supermini, the Hyundai Kona was built from the ground up as a compact SUV. Autonomous emergency braking is optional on trims up to and including Premium SE, and standard on Premium GT.

Blind-spot detection is standard on Premium SE and Premium GT trims, while rear-cross traffic alert is fitted on Premium SE trims and above. All Kona models get driver attention alert and downhill brake control. Kona prices start from £17,305.

Kia Stonic (with Safety Pack)

Cheap five star safety

In standard form, the Kia Stonic was awarded a three-star safety rating, but add the Advanced Driving Assistance Pack (ADAP) to the mix, and the Stonic earns the full five stars. The pack costs £400 on the Stonic ‘2’, but is standard on the ‘3’ and ‘4’. Prices start from £16,815 (without the pack).

Vauxhall Crossland X

Cheap five star safety

The Vauxhall Crossland X is based on the Peugeot 2008, a car that was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating back in 2013. Four years later, the Vauxhall achieved the same rating – a good result considering the test gets harder every year. All models come with lane-departure warning, traffic-sign recognition and cruise control, with prices starting from £17,715.

Renault Megane

Cheap five star safety

Another Renault, another five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Tested in 2015, the Megane made sure the reputation of the French brand was upheld, scoring a very respectable 88 percent for adult occupant safety. Even pedestrian safety was rated well at 71 percent, although try to avoid the hard A-pillars if you have the misfortune of being hit by a Megane.

Prices start from £17,820.

Ford Focus

Cheap five star safety

Tested in 2018, the new Ford Focus delivered a solid set of results, scoring no lower than 72 percent in any of the four categories. Parents will like the fact that it scored 87 percent for child occupant safety – two percent more than the adult occupant score.

The Focus features three radars, two cameras and 12 ultrasonic sensors – more than any other Ford in history. The range kicks off with the £18,305 Style, but you can now order a crossover-like Focus Active.

Vauxhall Astra

Cheap five star safety

Built in Britain, and a favourite of police forces throughout the land, the Astra undercuts many C-segment hatchback rivals, with prices from £18,905.

It also picked up the award for European Car of the Year for 2016, and was tested by Euro NCAP in 2015 where it was awarded all five stars. The assessors noted particularly good performance in side impact testing, despite a rear door coming open unexpectedly.

Honda Civic

Cheap five star safety

The Honda Civic received a four-star rating when it was tested in 2017, but the car was retested later that year following a curtain airbag deployment issue.

With Honda fixing the problem, the Civic was awarded a five-star rating by the safety experts. Euro NCAP said: “Honda has introduced a modified side curtain airbag to lessen the impact of head bottoming out, seen in the previous assessment, of the head of 10-year child dummy in the side barrier test. Honda is working to further develop the side curtain airbag to improve performance in this area.”

Ford Mustang slammed for two star Euro NCAP crash test

Ford Mustang slammed for two star Euro NCAP crash test

Ford Mustang slammed for two star Euro NCAP crash test

The Ford Mustang has become the first car from a mainstream car manufacturer to be given a two-star Euro NCAP safety rating since 2008.

Thatcham, the company that oversees the official NCAP crash test, has criticised Ford for selling the Mustang in the UK without important safety technology that’s available in the USA.

Video: Ford Mustang Euro NCAP crash test

“Ford has made a deliberate choice,” explains Thatcham Research’s director of research, Matthew Avery.

“The car has been designed to score well in less wide-ranging US consumer safety tests and only minor updates have been made to meet required European (pedestrian) safety regulations.

“This has resulted in poor adult and child protection scores and the high-tech radar collision warning system that is available to US consumers not being available here in the UK. The two-star Euro NCAP rating is the consequence.”

During the test, the driver and passenger airbags failed to inflate sufficiently in an offset front collision.

In the full-width front impact test, a rear passenger was found to slide under their seatbelt. Rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load-limiters would prevent this, Thatcham says.

Ford Mustang slammed for two star Euro NCAP safety rating.

A facelift for the Mustang, due to go on sale in September 2017, will have extra safety technology as standard, Ford says, including pre-collision assist and lane-keep assist. This could result in a higher NCAP score when re-tested.

“This really bucks the trend,” adds Avery. “Car buyers are increasingly benefiting from improved safety functionality and features, and this applies equally to cars in the sports roadster category as to family cars.

“We have concerns about the Ford Mustang’s crash protection of adults and children which also makes it unsuitable for having rear passengers. On top this, it does not have basic life-saving technology like autonomous emergency braking that is available even on the Ford Fiesta, and the recently-launched Ford Edge.”

Ford has hit back, telling Motoring Research the Mustang is “fundamentally a safe car,” achieving five stars for pedestrian safety, four for front occupants and three for child occupants. Despite this, a spokesman admitted they found the overall result “disappointing”.

NCAP has also tested the new Volvo S90 and V90 – both of which have been awarded five stars and praised for their “class-leading safety”.

“It does make you wonder if anything rubbed off on Ford from the Volvo/Ford partnership,” concludes Avery.

Five-star Euro NCAP scores for new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Peugeot 3008

Five-star Euro NCAP scores for new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Peugeot 3008

Five-star Euro NCAP scores for new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Peugeot 3008

The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Peugeot 3008 have both scored a full five stars in the latest Euro NCAP crash test safety ratings – but you’ll only get the very safest version of the E-Class if you’re among the 1 in 10 expected to fork out for the optional gadgetry.

Car safety specialist Thatcham has praised the safety equipment offered on the E-Class – but hit out at the decision not to offer a lot of it as standard.

“The E-Class is head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to advanced safety features,” explained Thatcham’s director of research Matthew Avery.

“However, we know that the take up of optional safety features is typically less than 10%, so more needs to be done in terms of standard fitment to make these superb technologies more widely accessible.”

The firm added that the Mercedes-Benz E-Class “provides a glimpse of the future”, with safety systems such as Mercedes Benz’s assisted driving system, Drive Pilot. This allows short periods of hands-free driving as long as the driver occasionally touches the wheel to prove they’re still paying attention.

Active lane keep assist was also praised – the system continually provides feedback to the driver when lane markings are crossed, and even actively intervenes to steer out of the way when oncoming traffic is detected. This could potentially avoid a life-threatening head-on collision, says Thatcham.

Thatcham also says that the latest five-star safety ratings highlight the gulf in safety standards around the world.

Cars on sale in India, including the Renault Kwid, Maruti Suzuki Celerio, Maruti Suzuki Eeco, Mahindra Scorpio and Hyundai Eon all achieved zero star ratings when tested by NCAP earlier in the year.

By contrast, cars tested in Europe routinely achieve a maximum five stars.

Global NCAP’s secretary-general, David Ward, said: “Renault and Honda make safe cars in other markets; they have the know-how to make all their Indian cars much safer. We expect them to start doing so now.”

Chevrolet Sail Global NCAP crash test zero stars

Global NCAP pleads with GM to urgently fix ‘life threatening’ zero-star new car safety

Chevrolet Sail Global NCAP crash test zero starsAnother Latin American Chevrolet has scored zero stars in Global NCAP crash safety tests – and the organisation has taken the unprecedented step of writing to the chairman and CEO of Chevrolet parent firm GM, Mary Barra, to express its concern.

Global NCAP’s concern is clear: the Chevrolet brand has a poor overall safety performance in the huge Latin American market, it says, with the worst average safety star rating of any major volume brand.

The Chevrolet Sail has just scored a zero star in the Latin NCAP tests, following the similar zero star of the Chevrolet Aveo. Global NCAP says this means both cars have a high risk of life threatening injury.

What’s more, neither would pass the United Nations’ minimum crash test standards.

GM ‘exploits weaknesses’

Urgent steps must be taken to address this, said Global NCAP secretary general David Ward. “GM has chosen to exploit the weak application of minimum crash test standards in Latin America to provide a version of the car that the company would be unable to sell either in Europe or North America.

“Two years ago GM announced a ‘Speak Up for Safety’ programme billed as an important step toward embedding a customer and safety-centered culture in every aspect of the business.

“Global NCAP warmly welcomes these commitments but believes that they now must have practical application in Latin America and in other emerging automotive markets.”

The letter details how the Euro NCAP test warned GM back in 2006 that the Aveo was unimpressive: the car’s bodyshell became unstable in crash tests and injuries to the crash test dummy “indicated an unacceptably high risk of life-threatening injury”.

Yet in the 2015 Latin NCAP test, the Chevrolet Aveo bodyshell again became unstable and poor dummy readings were again recorded for both head and chest.

This resulted in an even worse score of zero stars “primarily because, unlike in Europe, the Aveo in Mexico has no air bags fitted as standard,” said Global NCAP.

“For at least ten years, therefore, GM has known that without any airbags the Aveo will have a high risk of fatal injury in a frontal crash test at 40 mph. So clearly the safety of your customers in Mexico and in other countries in Latin America has been knowingly compromised.”

Damming words indeed. So what should GM do? Quite simply, adopt a new approach to vehicle safety, says Global NCAP.

The organisation wants GM to firstly, “globally ensure that from 2018 all its production in Latin America and worldwide pass the minimum UN crash test regulations (and equivalent Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) and include the crash avoidance system, electronic stability control.”

Second, it wants GM to “inform the Mexican Government that GM will support legislation for both minimum crash test standards and electronic stability control to be applied from 2018.”

GM has yet to respond.

UPDATE: GM responds

A GM spokesperson has contacted Motoring Research to say “GM shares the goal of improving road safety worldwide, including the adoption of basic auto safety standards in global markets and the phase-out of zero-star cars”.

The firm’s planned $5 billion investment in an all-new vehicle family for Latin America and other emerging growth markets will achieve this, it believes: the cars will have, at the very least, twin airbags, three-point seatbelts for all occupants and meet United Nations standards for structural performance in front and side impacts.

They will replace most of the high-volume cars in Latin America, including the two zero-star models criticised by Global NCAP.

They are, however, still some way off: the new vehicle family won’t appear before the 2019 model year. So, in the interim, GM is “expanding the availability of front airbags in a number of existing cars in Latin American markets, starting with the 2017 model year”.