Safety first – the EuroNCAP winners

There’s a lot to think about when buying a new car. One thing which may sometimes be overlooked is the hugely important EuroNCAP safety rating.

In 2009, the standard tests for the car industry were made stricter and more comprehensive. It is now much harder for a car to be awarded the maximum five star rating for safety.

However, some cars manage it, and it is important to know which ones, particularly for people with children who want the safest vehicle they can find.

But first, how do the EuroNCAP tests work? Every new car is put through a series of tests including frontal impact, side impact and car to car impact. Seat belts, safety assisting technologies and pedestrian impacts are all measured.

The results are in four categories; adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and safety assist. A final overall score is also awarded.

Since the new, more stringent tests, a wide range of new cars have been given a rating. But which cars fared the best?

The first eye-catching model is the Chevrolet Cruze, which scored a five star rating overall and a near perfect adult safety rating of 96 per cent, one of the highest scores ever in the new test.

Similarly, the Vauxhall Astra and Insignia were streets ahead of rivals with five star ratings and 94 and 95 per cent in adult safety respectively.

If you’re a parent, the important rating is the child occupant safety rating. The five star-rated Mazda6 achieved an impressive 84 per cent in child safety, as did the Vauxhall Astra and Kia Sorento. The Kia Soul fared even better, recording 86 per cent – the joint highest score in the new test.

The Renault Grand Scenic earned a five star rating after scoring 91 per cent in adult safety and an impressive 99 per cent on the safety assist test.

The most successful manufacturer was Peugeot. The 3008, 308 and 5008 all achieved five star overall ratings when they were tested in 2009.

Visit www.euroncap.com for all the latest safety ratings. It is an essential stop on the way to buying your new car.