One of the biggest advantages of owning a new car is the protection it provides you — and other road users and pedestrians — in the event of an accident.
Nothing illustrates this better (apart from experience) than the growing number of new cars that manage to achieve Euro NCAP’s coveted 5-star safety rating, despite the fact the test is regularly updated and made harder to reflect previous improvements in safety standards.
In NCAP’s latest round of tests, six cars were tested and five achieved the top score, a five-star rating:
- Audi A3 (5*)
- Ford B-Max (5*)
- Kia Cee’d (5*)
- Renault Clio (5*)
- Volvo V40 (5*)
- Isuzu D-Max (4*)
Here’s what Euro NCAP had to say about the new cars:
With a creditable four star rating, safety on board the new Isuzu D-Max is significantly improved compared to the model tested in 2008. While the previous pickup failed to impress with a struck-through two star rating for adult occupant protection and just one star for pedestrian protection, the latest results show that Isuzu has learnt from the experience and made safety a priority for its newest model. Their efforts have resulted in a score of 83% for adult occupant protection and improved protection for child occupants against a tougher 2012 regime. Equally, pedestrian safety score is considerably improved although – with 51% – it did not yet reach the 60% threshold required for five stars.
With its rear sliding doors and innovative design, the Ford B-MAX has achieved five stars. Ford has done away with the middle columns on the B-MAX, known as the B-pillars, that usually separate the front and rear passenger compartments. To ensure the highest levels of protection in lateral collisions, a structure is incorporated into the doors to form a central post when the doors are shut. Euro NCAP found that safety was uncompromised as the B-MAX scored 92 percent for adult occupant protection.
The new Volvo V40 achieved five stars and is Euro NCAP’s all time top scorer in its segment. What particularly distinguishes the V40 from other vehicles is the world-first Pedestrian Airbag technology, fitted as standard on the entire V40 range. In case of a crash with a pedestrian, sensors detect the impact, release the bonnet and deploy the airbag in a split second. The pedestrian airbag lifts the bonnet and partly covers the stiff A-pillars providing greater protection for the pedestrian. In Euro NCAP’s tests, this has translated into a 88% score in pedestrian protection, the highest score yet achieved in this part of the assessment.
The list of five star achievers is closed with the latest releases of Renault Clio, Kia Cee’d and Audi A3. Compared to their respective predecessors, this latest generation of hatchbacks offers significantly improved pedestrian protection amongst other notable improvements.
Volvo was, of course, the company that invented the safety feature that has saved more lives than any other — the seat belt.
The very best way to stay safe in a car is still to drive defensively and belt up — but modern safety engineering certainly plays a big part in letting us get away scot-free when we, or other drivers, make mistakes.