2020 What Car? Safety Award contenders revealed

New cars have never been safer, and these have performed the best in the past year, putting them in contention for the 2020 What Car? Safety Award...

Safety award

The 10 contenders for the 2020 What Car? Safety Award, held in association with the experts at Thatcham Research, have been revealed.

The list includes some of the safest cars ever made, including the Mazda CX-30, the first car to score 99% for adult occupant protection in Euro NCAP tests, and the Tesla Model 3, which is packed with cutting-edge technology that helps to prevent it being involved in an accident in the first place.

All 10 nominees were selected by an expert panel made up of Thatcham’s director of research Matthew Avery, Euro NCAP’s secretary general Michiel van Ratingen and What Car?'s consumer editor Claire Evans.

They took a variety of factors into account. For example, only cars that have achieved the top five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests were considered. And contenders were also expected to have standard-fit crash avoidance technology, including automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems that can not only detect other vehicles but also pedestrians and cyclists.

They also needed to have advanced driver assistance systems, such as adaptive cruise control and lane support systems that can work together to reduce fatigue for motorway drivers. 

And on top of all this, the judges were looking for relatively affordability, so that the safest cars are within reach of many car buyers.

Here, in alphabetical order, we run through the 10 contenders for the 2020 What Car? Safety Award, ahead of the winner being announced at the What Car? Car of the Year Awards on 14 January. Don't forget that if any of these cars takes your fancy, you can get a great discount via our New Car Buying service

BMW 3 Series 

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BMW 3 Series - blue front

The brand’s longest-running and most popular model is the best premium executive car you can buy. Its primary appeal is in the way it drives, but its engines, standard equipment and infotainment system are first rate as well.

When it comes to safety, the 3 Series is also one of the best. It scored 97% in the Adult Occupant Protection category and 100% in the pole crash, which is the most invasive test Euro NCAP carries out. It shows that cars can be both safe and fun to drive.

Read our full BMW 3 Series review >>

Mazda 3 

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2019 Mazda 3 front

Although the 3 isn't the sportiest car to drive, it is refined, very well equipped, its infotainment system is great and its interior quality is top-notch. It's reasonably priced, too, plus, the fuel-efficient Skyactiv-X engine offers low CO2 emissions to make it an attractive company car.

It also has class-leading safety protection for adult and child occupants and some great active safety features, including an innovative driver monitoring system, which isn’t a factor in the current Euro NCAP rating system, but will be in the future.

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