Based on the principle that if everyone gets an A in an exam, it’s too easy, it would be possible to conclude that Euro NCAP safety tests for new cars might have to get a bit tougher soon.
According to the Euro NCAP website, eleven out of the last seventeen cars to be tested by Euro NCAP have achieved the maximum 5-star rating.
The remainder (Jaguar XF, Geely Emgrand EC7, Fiat Panda, Jeep Grand Cherokee, MG6 & Renault Fluence ZE) received 4 stars, emphasising just how far modern cars have advanced in terms of safety.
Even the smallest of cars, such as the new VW Up! and Skoda Citigo can now meet the top safety standard, which rates the safety of new cars in four categories:
- Adult occupant
- Child occupant
- Safety assist
The new cars that achieved five-star ratings in the last batch of Euro NCAP tests were: Chevrolet Malibu; Chevrolet Volt; Kia Rio; Mercedes-Benz B Class; Mercedes-Benz C-Class Coupe; Range Rover Evoque; Seat Mii; Škoda Citigo; Subaru XV; Volkswagen Beetle; Volkswagen Up!.
Size Still Matters In Safety
It is important to remember that the size and weight of a car still affects its safety in the event of an accident. If a supermini and a 4×4 with equal NCAP safety ratings crash into each other, the occupants of the 4×4 will almost certainly be safer, due to the greater weight and height of their car.
This is true for two reasons. Firstly, a car that is higher will tend to ride over a lower car, crushing it but protecting the occupants of the higher car.
Secondly, the momentum of a heavier car is greater than that of a lighter car, if they are both travelling at the same speed. Momentum is a measurement of the ‘moving energy’ of an object and is calculated by multiplying its weight by its speed.
Momentum is why heavier vehicles have more powerful brakes than lighter vehicles – even though their stopping distances may be the same. More braking power (energy) is required to stop a heavier vehicle than a lighter vehicle.
In terms of a collision, this means that the lighter car will have to absorb this energy – by being crushed or pushed along the road – as the heavier car comes to a halt.
To find out more or to look up the safety rating for any car, visit www.euroncap.com.