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Car of the Year Awards 2024: 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

Volkswagen ID 7

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Not only did the Volkswagen ID 7 gain the highest scores of the year in three of the four Euro NCAP testing categories, but when you delve deeper into its scores, it’s also the top performer in a number of key areas.

It collected full marks for the full-width frontal crash test; it was found to provide excellent protection for occupants of most statures (tested using dummies in a range of sizes), and this shows that Volkswagen takes an inclusive view in its cars’ crash protection.

In addition to keeping those inside it safe, the ID 7 does a good job of sharing the energy of an impact with another vehicle. This helps it to protect the occupants of a smaller vehicle in a head-on collision.

Volkswagen ID 7 crash test

The ID 7 also excels in some of Euro NCAP’s latest tests that are aimed at protecting the most vulnerable road users, including cyclists and pedestrians; it has a pop-up bonnet that helps to reduce head injuries in the event that the car should strike a member of any of these groups.

The ID 7 is also in tune with motorcyclists, who have a small visual profile, and this, combined with their quick movement, makes them difficult to identify. In a new test designed to simulate a motorcycle moving into a car’s path, the ID 7 reacted impressively promptly.

Perhaps the most significant achievement of the ID 7 is the performance of its active driver assistance systems. Previous versions of the VW Group’s active driver safety systems – especially lane-keeping assistance – were considered to be too abrupt and intrusive in operation, and this could result in drivers turning them off and losing out on their safety benefits.

Volkswagen took on board the criticisms of its customers when developing the ID 7’s systems, making them work much more collaboratively with the driver. They don’t interfere unless they’re needed; they then gently guide the car back to a safe position on the road.

2nd - BMW 5 Series

BMW 5 Series crash test

The BMW 5 Series and its electric BMW i5 sibling are the strongest of this year’s contenders when it comes to protecting vulnerable road users. Their 86% score comes thanks to their automated emergency braking systems (AEB) being excellent at detecting pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, plus a pop-up bonnet is fitted to lessen injuries in an impact.

The BMWs also provide good crash protection to occupants of different sizes, and they scored top marks in the side impact test by protecting all critical areas of occupants’ bodies.

As a popular choice among private and company car users alike, the 5 Series has the potential to bring the latest safety tech to a wide audience.

3rd - BYD Seal

BYD Seal crash test

The BYD Seal demonstrates that cars from brands new to the European car market can be as safe as those from more established ones. It scored an excellent 89% for adult occupant protection, and was awarded maximum points for adult and child protection in side impact crash tests.

Vulnerable road users are also well protected by the Seal; its AEB system was found to be good at identifying pedestrians, cyclists and motorbikes, and it scored fairly well for reducing head and leg injuries in front-end crashes among those groups.

What’s more, the Seal has a warning system that alerts the driver if a cyclist is approaching when the door is about to be opened.

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See all of our 2024 Car of the Year Awards winners >>