A solid safety record is one of the key considerations for many when purchasing their new cars so, after testing 53 new models in 2011, Euro NCAP has released its safest cars for the year. Euro NCAP they all scored a five-star rating and showed good scores in each of the four areas of assessment. The top achievers in each category were:Small off-road 4x4 - Audi Q3Supermini - Chevrolet Aveo/SonicSmall family - Ford FocusSmall MPV - Mercedes B-ClassLarge family - Volvo V60 Came close: Chevrolet Malibu, Mercedes M-Class, Toyota Yaris, Lexus CT200h, Opel Zafira Tourer, Hyundai ix20 and BMW X1. MANY WINNERS Electric vehicles were tested in 2011 for the first time; the Nissan Leaf was the first of its kind to rate five stars overall. The vehicle with the worst result was Dacia's Duster small SUV - three stars. RATHER NOT: Renault subsidiary Dacia's Duster SUV was the worst performer in 2011. The Ford Ranger was the only bakkie tested in 2011 and scored highly in all areas, most notably pedestrian protection. Several automakers were praised for safety features not yet included in the crash-protection rating scheme, such as the Ford Focus’ "active city stop", "driver alert" and lane-drift warning; the B-Class and Volvo V60’s "collision prevention assist" and "city safety" respectively were also commended.Euro NCAP is setting tougher standards for 2012.