By any measure the Euro NCAP crash test assessment has been a tremendous success. It has exposed cars’ safety shortcomings in the full glare of publicity and forced manufacturers to raise their game faster than otherwise might have been the case.
Cars today are immeasurably safer than those of even ten years ago, such has been the rate of progress. Better chassis design, the use of ultra high-strength steels, anti-lock brakes and airbags – all these have combined to make the latest cars so much safer.
But now the crash test is gong to be looking at other features and from next month engineers will begin testing cars to new criteria called Euro NCAP Advanced which looks at devices that help the driver avoid a crash.
It has just done so with the latest four cars tested (Honda CR-Z, Hyundai ix35, Citroen C4 and Suzuki Swift) and although all get the maximum five-star safety rating, there were some significant variations.
For example, the Citroen C4 was the only one to have a speed-limiter device that can be set by the driver (it’s a little system on the steering wheel) which not only protects your licence against points but is also an effective safety measure.
The Citroen scored 97 per cent in the Safety Assist test compared with for example, 71 per cent for the Suzuki. This is not to say the Suzuki is not safe, of course it is and in the crash tests it rated the maximum five-stars, it’s just that NCAP is now showing consumers which cars go even beyond having an ultra-strong and safe bodyshell.
Think of it this way – up to now the crash test has shown how good your chances are in the event of a prang. What it is moving onto now is demonstrating how much the car will help you avoid that prang in the first place- and the Citroen C4 has just been proven to be pretty good at that.
Perrys is one of Britain’s top car retailers, and always has a great range of used cars in stock