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Car of the Year Awards 2022: Safety Award

For this award, our judges considered both active and passive safety, along with purchase price, because a model that sells in large numbers will have a bigger influence on road safety...

WINNER: Safety Award

Nissan Qashqai

Car of the Year 2022 logo - Thatcham

The Nissan Qashqai takes the top spot this year for a number of reasons, not least because its overall Euro NCAP safety score is among the best of all the cars tested in 2021.

And the fact that such safety comes in a relatively affordable family SUV is great news; it’s likely to be a huge seller, and that gives it the potential to bring the latest safety technology, along with improvements in road safety, to many drivers.

The Qashqai gained the year’s highest Euro NCAP score for Safety Assist: 95%. That’s because all trim levels come with a suite of very effective active safety systems, including automatic emergency braking (AEB) and lane-keeping support.

Nissan Qashqai 2021 front

Its emergency lane-keeping system is one of the best; it will pull the car back into its lane if the driver inadvertently moves into the path of an oncoming car on a single carriageway, or if they steer the car towards the edge of the road. This helps to avoid these common causes of accidents.

At higher speeds on dual carriageways and motorways, the lane support system helps to prevent the car from drifting out
of its lane, working in tandem with the adaptive cruise control, which automatically maintains a safe distance from the car in front. Together, these systems improve safety by helping to reduce driver fatigue on longer journeys.

On top of all this, the Qashqai has a very strong and well-designed body structure, enabling it to protect adult and child
occupants in a crash just as well as some models that cost four times as much.

2nd - Polestar 2

Polestar 2 front

As you’d expect, given that Polestar is a sister brand to Volvo, the electric Polestar 2 gains high marks for its crash test performance. It does a fantastic job of protecting adults and children in the event of an impact, despite being weighed down by a heavy battery.

Its AEB system is class-leading, too; not only does it work when driving forward, but it can also identify people and objects in your path when reversing and automatically brake to avoid them.

Another plus is that the Polestar 2 is one of a growing number of cars that can receive over-the-air (OTA) updates, so its software can be upgraded remotely, potentially improving safety over time.

3rd - Skoda Enyaq

Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 front

The Skoda Enyaq demonstrates just how safe a mainstream electric car can be. Its occupant protection score of 94% was one of the highest of the year, with maximum scores for child protection in two Euro NCAP crash tests.

What’s more, its impressive crash protection doesn’t make the hefty Enyaq any more harmful to other vehicles in the event of a collision. There was no excessive deformation to the vehicle it hit in the offset frontal crash test, and that’s impressive for a large, heavy SUV.

This all said, the Enyaq is also great at avoiding accidents in the first place; its AEB system is excellent at spotting pedestrians and cyclists and braking to avoid them.

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See all of our Car of the Year 2022 winners >>