Buying new? Your safest choices

2012-02-01 08:18

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 Q3
Supermini - Chevrolet Aveo/Sonic
Small family - Ford Focus
Small MPV - Mercedes B-Class
Large family - Volvo V60

Came close: Chevrolet Malibu, Mercedes M-Class, Toyota Yaris, Lexus CT200h, Opel Zafira Tourer, Hyundai ix20 and BMW X1.


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.

Dacia Duster

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.

  • Ebon - 2012-02-01 09:52

    The premise of this article is silly if you ask me. Doing well in Euro-NCAP is not a comprehensive measure of car safety. While EuroNCAP metrics are very useful, they can't absolutely measure which car is the best - especially when the scores are close. While EuroNCAP can certainly separate the good from bad, it can't necessarily determine who is the *absolute* best. It's a bit like trying to decide who is the smarter of two people by looking at the results of one maths test. While I wouldn't doubt the credentials of these category winners, I reckon many of the close contenders would, to all intents purposes, be equally good choices for the real world.

      Trevor - 2012-02-01 11:31

      You have to have some sort of standard to compare vehilces to one another, it's like a dyno read out, they meaningless unless they performed on the same dyno by the same operator who understands the need for consistancy. These tests will NEVER cover all situations but, they do give you an idea of what you are buying because even I have noticed working in the industry world wide that vehicles as we know it, big heavy,"strong" are dead, we now have paper thin body shells using airbags and crumble zones to provide HIGHER safety levels than the old heavy donkeys so when you buy a car now, it needs X airbags as a start...eg a baseline POLO with steering airbags is not as safe as say a GTI Polo with 6 airbags, same body shell but a compromise in safety because there are less airbags.....so buy cheap and suffer a significant safety reduction, not like the old days, same body shell for all models, just engine and trim difference.

      Gerrit - 2012-02-01 16:02

      Please remember to not go over 64km/h in your 5 star Euro NCAP car, as this is the speed at which it is tested for head on collisions. The tests are usefull to compare cars, much like the fuel consumption figures quoted by manufacturers, which are measured on a dyno and can't be replicated. If you go onto the Euro NCAP website however you can download the test results for any model they have tested to see how the car scored, from head on, side impact, pedestrian safety to child safety. Now one car might be just as safe as another one for head on collisions, but fared worse in side impact and child protection and therefore have a lower score. I for one don't have children so I don't place a high priority on child safety, but someone with children might find that a particular car has a very high child safety rating and score lower for a head on collision, and this would be more important to him/her. Personally I place greater emphasis on side impact scores, as I can't control the idiot skipping the lights and side swiping me, where I can most of the time avoid driving into someone with the front of my car.

  • Shaun - 2012-02-01 13:52

    Sonic, an excellent choice, I test drove both the sedan and the hatch. Pity I couldn't take both home. Well done Chevrolet! I'm sure comments will arise it's a Daewoo not a Chevrolet, but it's in the same breath a saying that a Toyota is the most reliable car on the road, Oooops, are they? - Cheers

  • Mark - 2012-02-06 11:46

    Chev seem to be going places

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