One of the most fundamentally important aspects of a car to bear in mind when buying a new one is how safe it is. For most people, but particularly those with families, how well a car protects its occupants in the event of an accident and what technology it's equipped with to avoid them in the first place is very important. If you’re trying to find out which cars on the market are the safest, then scroll down to see our top 10 list.
Our list is based on the scores cars have received from Euro NCAP, the independent body that crash tests car to give them a safety rating.
Euro NCAP assesses cars in four main areas; adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and safety assistance. Over the years, the tests have become increasingly stringent as construction techniques, safety standards and safety technology have developed and improved.
The first three of the four categories mentioned above are concerned with assessing the way the car is built and what that means for its occupants in a collision. These three areas also take into account how safety equipment, such as airbags, performs in protecting both occupants and pedestrians in the event of an accident.
The safety assistance category looks at the level and efficiency of safety technology that's fitted to the car to help prevent a crash from happening in the first place. This includes electronic stability control, lane-departure warning systems and systems that can automatically apply the brakes if they sense you’re going to hit a car in front. For more information on the tests, check out Carbuyer's Euro NCAP: How safe is my car? article.
Euro NCAP gives every car it tests a score in percent for each of the four categories. From those scores, it derives an overall headline score given in stars out of five. Every car in our top ten below achieved a five-star rating within the last two years, apart from the Volvo V40, which recorded scores yet to be beaten in 2012 (though it's worth remembering the tests have become more stringent since then).