Safety is hugely important when looking at a new car, and we are very lucky that our cars are safer than ever.
Every car that goes on sale in the UK and Europe has to go through a safety test, called a Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) test. They are then given a rating, an NCAP rating, that shows you how safe the car is for drivers, passengers and pedestrians.
Of course, you don’t have the time to go through every NCAP rating of every car on the market, so how do you know which cars are the safest?
In this article, we look at the safest cars in Europe in each class.
What are the safest cars on sale in 2017?
It should be noted that these vehicles were tested in 2015 and 2016, as many NCAP ratings for 2017 have yet to be released.
Safest Supermini: The Honda Jazz
The Honda Jazz is a quirky, reliable supermini that is also super safe as well.
Coming in several trims, the Honda Jazz features Bluetooth, DAB radio, cruise control and front and rear parking sensors. You can also get a Driver Assistance Safety Pack on all models up from the S trim which includes traffic sign recognition, forward collision warning and a lane departure system.
The Jazz got a full five stars on the Euro NCAP crash test. The breakdown is as follows;
- 93% for adult occupants
- 85% for child occupants
- 73% for pedestrians
- 71% for safety assist systems
The last score is due to the added safety pack most trim levels get.
The Honda Jazz is perfect for small families, first time drivers and for those who simply need something to drive around the city in. It comes in several colours and comes with a huge amount of personalisation and customisation if you wish.
Safest Small Family Car: Hyundai Ioniq
The Hyundai Ioniq is the only car that is available as a standard hybrid, a plug-in hybrid and a pure electric model. It’s smaller and more affordable than the Toyota Prius and is perfect for families who want to a car that is good for the environment, safe and affordable.
The hybrid and plug-in hybrid comes with a 104bhp 1.6-litre petrol engine with a 43bhp electric motor. It can reach 62mph from rest in 10.8 seconds. It also claims 83.1mpg. There are three trims available and all trims get 15-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth. You also get autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist.
The Ioniq also gets a five star Euro NCAP rating. This applies to all versions of the Ioniq regardless of whether it is a hybrid or an all-electric model. The breakdown looks like this;
- 91% for adult occupants
- 80% for child occupants
- 70% for pedestrians
- 82% for safety assist
Safest Large Family Car: Toyota Prius
The Toyota Prius is one of the most well-known hybrids in the world and is currently in its fourth generation. It was named Green Car of the Year by AutoExpress in 2016 as it’s improved its emissions and mpg figures in official tests. It is also available in plug-in form. The Prius currently uses a 1.8-litre petrol engine, an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack.
Emissions start at 70g/km of CO2 and have a claimed economy of 94.2mpg so it is perfect for those who want to keep running costs down.
The equipment is good too, and even the entry-level model comes with dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and start. It also comes with road sign assist, lane departure alert, automatic high beam lights and forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking. If you move further up the trim levels then you get features such as blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.
All models also come with seven airbags and Toyota’s Safety Sense system. This comes with the above as well as pre-collision brake assist and adaptive cruise control. Higher trim levels also get park assist. They received a full five star rating on the Euro NCAP test with the breakdown as follows;
- 92% for adult occupants
- 82% for child occupants
- 77% for pedestrians
- 85% for safety assist
Safest Small MPV: Volkswagen Touran
The Volkswagen Touran is perfect for families who want something practical, affordable, safe but something that isn’t too big. That said, it is a great seven seater even though it is smaller than other MPVs on the market.
In terms of space, the Touran is only available in the UK as a seven seater, but you can always fold the third row of seats flat and make the boot larger. There is 137-litres of space with the third row of seats up but this expands to 927-litres with the third row of seats folded away.
All models come with a touchscreen infotainment system with DAB radio and air-conditioning. Safety kit has been updated and gets a lot of safety equipment. It comes with nine airbags and systems such as the Automatic Post-Collision Braking and Pre-Crash proactive occupant protection system. You also get adaptive cruise control, emergency braking and traffic alerts. If you have a trailer, then you can also get Trailer Assist.
The Touran achieved a five star Euro NCAP rating with some impressive scores;
- 88% for adult occupants
- 89% for child occupants
- 71% for pedestrians
- 76% for safety assist
Safest Large MPV: Ford Galaxy
The Ford Galaxy is the largest MPV in the range and is hugely spacious, comfortable and very safe. It’s a seven seater and the seats can fold down with a touch of a button so it’s very practical for families.
All trims get dual-zone climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and 17-inch alloy wheels. If you move further up the trim levels then you get cruise control, lane-keeping and traffic sign recognition and LED running lights. You can also get Active Park Assist and rear view cameras.
The Galaxy has 300-litres worth of boot space with all seven seats in place, this extends to 1,301-litres with the third row folded down and 2,339-litres with just the front two seats in place.
In terms of safety, the Galaxy has a host of airbags, tyre pressure monitors and Isofix mounting points all on second-row seats. There is also an intelligent speed limiter that can scan traffic signs and make sure that you never break the speed limit. You also get an auto-braking function that detects pedestrians and other cars.
It received a five-star rating on the Euro NCAP crash test, scoring the following;
- 87% for adult occupants
- 87% for child occupants
- 79% for pedestrians
- 71% for safety assist
Safest Roadster/Convertible: Mazda MX-5
The Mazda MX-5 is a hugely popular car that looks good, drives well and is great for everyday use as well as for cruising along country roads.
There are two petrol engines to choose from, either a 1.5-litre or a 2.0-litre both of which are connected to a six-speed manual gearbox. The entry-level trim comes with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, electric windows and air-conditioning. It also comes with remote central locking and heated power door mirrors. Moving up the trims and you get the likes of cruise control, rear parking sensors and light-sensitive Adaptive Front Lighting System and Lane Departure Warnings.
The Mazda MX-5 comes with front and side airbags, Dynamic Stability Control and traction control. You can also upgrade to the Safety Pack option which comes with High-Beam Control, Blind-Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. The MX-5 scored four stars of out of five on the Euro NCAP rating and scored as follows;
- 84% for adult occupants
- 80% for child occupants
- 93% for pedestrians
- 64% for safety assist
Safest Small SUV: Volkswagen Tiguan
The Volkswagen Tiguan is a very popular small SUV and is great for families in need of a practical and reliable car.
There are a few trims to choose from, starting from the S trim up to the R-Line model. In the entry level model you get air-conditioning, 17-inch alloy wheels, an infotainment system, automatic lights and lane-keeping assist. Moving up the trim levels and you get the likes of parking sensors, cruise control and sat-nav.
It also comes with plenty of space and boasts 520-litres of boot space. This expands to 615-litres if you slide the rear seats forward and 1,655-litres if you fold the rear seats down.
In terms of safety, it scores a full five stars on the Euro NCAP rating, with the breakdown as follows;
- 96% for adult occupants
- 84% for child occupants
- 72% for pedestrians
- 68% for safety assist
Safest Large SUV: Volvo XC90
Volvo are known for their safety, and aim to eliminate all death and serious injury in their latest models by 2020. That is quite a feat. Therefore, it should be no surprise to you that they win in the large SUV category.
It won Auto Express Car of the Year in 2015 and is one of the best in its class for reliability, safety and technology. There is also a hybrid variant for the eco-conscious amongst us.
There are two notable pieces of tech in the XC90 that make it one of the safest cars on the market. These are the Run Off-Road system and special energy-absorbent seats. The Run-Off Road System senses if you veer off the tarmac and prepare the car for a crash – the energy-absorbent seats reduce the impact of a big hit.
Other safety features include autonomous braking that comes with Volvo’s enhanced safety package. This protects you against collisions with motorcycles, bicycles or pedestrians. The passenger compartment is constructed from high-strength steel, the strongest in the auto-industry, for maximum protection.
You also get seven airbags, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and Queue Assist. It scored five stars on the Euro NCAP test, with the results as follows;
- 97% for adult occupants
- 87% for child occupants
- 72% for pedestrians
- 100% for safety assist
So those are some of the safest cars on the market in Europe today. These all score very highly on the Euro NCAP tests and all come with some great safety features that will keep you safe on the road. When looking at cars, it’s always worth going onto the Euro NCAP website and having a look at how each of your potential vehicles score. If you have children in your car then naturally you will want a higher child occupancy rating, or perhaps you want the car with the most safety tech. Hopefully this has given you some idea of what sort of cars are the safest on the market today.
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