Modern cars are safer than ever but the reality is that we are never completely secure on the road. Driving in a careful, measured fashion will reduce your chances of an accident, but there’s never any telling as to what other road users will do and, although it’s a scary thought, it pays to be prepared for the worst on the road.
On the plus side, today’s cars are better equipped to handle, and even avoid accidents than models from years gone by. Features such as anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic stability programmes (ESP) and ISOFIX child-seat mounts are now mandatory equipment for new cars. Other technologies such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and lane-departure warning systems are not legal requirements, but they are becoming more and more common.
The way to measure a car’s safety is dictated by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP). The independent organization performs crash tests on the vast majority of cars sold in the UK and Europe, and each test scores cars in four different areas: adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and safety assistance – and the final category covers technology such as AEB and lane-departure warning systems.
During the test authorities give the car a percentage score for each of those four areas, which then dictates its overall score out of five. All of the models in our list of safest cars below have the highest possible five-star rating, but we have also judged their safety credentials by looking at the adult occupant percentage score.
Euro NCAP’s tests evolve and become stricter over time, so we’re only looking at cars that were tested in 2016 and in the first half of 2017. Older vehicles may still have high scores, but it’s worth remembering that a five-star rating from five or 10 years ago is not the same as today’s equivalent. Our explanation of the Euro NCAP crash test explains everything in detail.
Here are the top 10 safest cars on sale:
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