Safest cars of 2010 revealed

Safety should be top of any buyer’s list of desirable traits in a potential new car. Each year safety ratings organisation EuroNCAP tests all new cars in a variety of safety tests.

These include smashing the cars into a barrier, a side-on pole and into a dummy posing as a pedestrian.

Safety equipment such as Electronic Stability Control, the number of seatbelts and anti-lock brakes are all taken into account to give a final star rating out of five.

In these safety-conscious days most new cars receive a five-star rating and EuroNCAP is constantly upping the criteria to make the tests tougher.

Now it has announced the best-performing cars of 2010 in five different categories, giving car buyers an insight into the safest new cars on the road today.

While the BMW 5-Series, Honda CR-Z and Toyota Verso triumphed in their respective categories, two new models really caught the eye in the final two.

So often in the past derided for stunning looks but poor reliability, Alfa Romeo has turned it round spectacularly in recent years.

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta, the stylish hatchback designed to compete with the Ford Focus, not only adds dependability to the typical Alfa design, it is also the highest-scoring small family car released in 2010.

The Giulietta scored the highest out of all family cars tested in 2010 after the manufacturer specifically aimed to score a five-star rating.

This puts the Giulietta over and above the European criteria for safety. This is because the EU criteria is far more lax than the EuroNCAP, which encourages manufacturers to go above and beyond the minimum safety levels.

The winner of the small off-road 4×4 category was the Kia Sportage, cementing the Korean manufacturer’s place as one of the most impressive car makers around.

Kia’s Sportage is a stylish, practical SUV crossover with a superior build quality to previous Kia models and now, safety to match.

It was a good year for Kia in terms of safety, after the Kia Venga was included in the list of five additional cars which scored more than 80 per cent in the tests.

Dr Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General says: “Every year, car manufacturers constantly work to innovate and make their cars better and safer for the driver, whatever the size of the vehicle. The presence in these categories of high performing 5 star cars demonstrates car manufacturers’ commitment to safety for all sizes of vehicles.”

The Citroen C4 and Seat Alhambra MPV also scored over 80 per cent, putting them in the top ten safest cars of the year in 2010.