Every year, the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) crash tests numerous vehicles that are available on the European market. The vehicles are then given a percentage score for four individual marking criteria, which are: adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and safety assist systems.
Afterwards, the vehicles are given an overall mark, between one and five stars, assessing their overall safety performance. We are going to take a look at the best in class of 2012 the cars that topped their respective categories by having the overall best safety performance.
Supermini Renault Clio
Topping the safest’supermini’ category was the ever-popular Renault Clio, which managed to receive high scores in each of the four categories especially in the’safety assist’ category were the car received a score of 99 percent.
The Clio was originally launched in 1990 and is currently in its fourth generation, as of 2013. The Renault Clio supermini has achieved significant acclaim and substantial commercial success, consistently being one of Europe’s top-selling cars since its launch.
All models of the Clio come equipped with six airbags, anti-whiplash headrests and Isofix child seat anchorage points on three of the five seats. In addition, all versions of the car come with electronic stability control.
Small family car Volvo V40
With even better scores than the aforementioned Renault Clio, as well as the rest of the small family cars, the Volvo V40 took the top spot with some impressive marks.
The Volvo V40 is the latest impressive car from the Swedish manufacturer as it takes aim at the likes of BMW and Mercedes to win the hearts of business drivers.
It has done this through distinctive, sportier designs, superb levels of equipment and, as it has done throughout the years, a brilliant safety record.
Not only did the car achieve a five star rating, which all of the vehicles on this list achieved, but also received a 98 percent rating in the’adult occupant’ category and the perfect 100 percent mark in the’safety assist’.
Comments on the safety assist features, made by Euro NCAP assessors, pointed out that the V40 featured seatbelts reminders for all occupants, electronic stability control and even speed limitation assistance which numerous cars either don’t offer or only offer as an optional feature.
In addition, the pedestrian protection was better than most cars that were tested, thanks to the V40s clever new’bonnet airbag’.
Large family car BMW 3 Series
BMWs flagship model, the BMW 3 Series, is its best-selling model, accounting for around 30 per cent of the BMW brand’s annual total sales as well as winning numerous awards throughout its history.
The perfect business car, the BMW 3 Series not only has class-leading engines it also comes with superb residual values and an exemplary safety record.
The 3 Series obtained high scores in the’adult occupant’ and’pedestrian protection’ criteria, but received average marks in the’safety assist’ criterion, due to the speed limiter not being fitted as standard it is only an optional feature and, as such, Euro NCAP did not equip and test it.
Standard safety equipment in the BMW 3 Series include six airbags and dynamic stability control which incorporates ABS, cornering brake control, dynamic traction control and dynamic brake control.
Small MPV Fiat 500L
Based on the design of the fashionable Fiat 500 model, the larger Fiat 500L version came joint-top of the’small MPV’ category with the following Ford B-Max car.
The Fiat 500L comes with both front and window airbags to keep any of the occupants from harm in case of a crash. Knee-protecting airbags, however, are only available on request otherwise the vehicle would have received higher all-round marks.
The vehicle does also feature various electronic aids on-hand to prevent an accident happening in the first place, including stability control and a system that makes the car automatically brake if it senses an impending collision.
Perfect for a small family car, the Fiat 500L comes with Fiat’s award-winning TwinAir engines to cut running costs and even comes with an optional coffee maker in the front a nod to the brand’s quirky side.
Small MPV Ford B-Max
Sharing the’Best in Class’ honour in the Small MPV category with the Fiat 500L is the Ford B-Max. The B-Max received the same score as the Fiat 500L in the’safety assist’ criterion, although it did perform better in terms of child and pedestrian protection.
The Ford B-Max has extra strengthening in its doors and roof, in order to compensate for the absence of central pillars. This means not only is the B-Max easier to climb in and out of, it is just as safe as less practical cars.
This extra strengthening, amongst other safety features, helped the B-Max to achieve the maximum five star Euro NCAP rating.
The car is also packed full of airbags, which can only ever be a good thing. The vehicle comes equipped with front, side, curtain and driver’s knee airbags. In addition to these, stability control is also standard across the range.
Small Off-Road 4×4 Ford Kuga
Another new Ford model featured at the top of its respective category; this time it was the Ford Kuga, which is based on the C1 platform that also forms the underpinnings of popular models: the Ford Focus and Ford C-Max.
Only some Kugas offer the reassurance of four-wheel drive, but all of the models feature a stability control system that helps the driver keep the vehicle on the road in tricky conditions.
In case of an accident, the vehicle also features six airbags, as well as the steering wheel being able to move sideways, away from the driver, in a high-speed frontal crash. This feature contributed to the Ford Kuga achieving full marks for’safety assist’.
Large Off-Road 4×4 Hyundai Santa Fe
Keeping with the belief that big 4x4s are safe and strong, the new Hyundai Santa Fe managed to obtain scores of 96 percent and 89 percent for’adult protection’ and’child protection’, respectively. Only the previously-mentioned Volvo V40 had a higher score for’adult protection’.
Every Santa Fe specification comes with seven airbags and a plethora of electronic driver aids, such as stability control and trailer stability assist. In addition, the bonnets of the vehicles are automatically raised by 60mm in the event of a collision with a pedestrian in an attempt to minimise head injuries.
All of these features contributed to the Hyundai Santa Fe receiving consistently high marks across the board.
Business/family van Ford Transit
For the first time in its history, Euro NCAP conducted crash tests and released the comparative results in the category of Business and Family vans.
Topping the inaugural list was the Ford Transit van, which also received two’advanced’ awards for its’Ford Lane Keeping Alert’ and’Ford SYNC Emergency Assistance’ systems.
The Transit managed to score well in each criterion, especially in the’child occupant’ section where the vehicle managed to achieve a high score of 90 percent.
The Ford Transit comes equipped with a host of safety features, including driver’s airbag, electronic stability programme, drag torque control (to help in snowy conditions) and a traction control system.
All in all, leasing or contracting any of these vehicles for your business in 2013 seems like a wise choice, as the high safety scores will help your employees/partners feel secure in their vehicle.