Feature

Euro NCAP crash tests in numbers

We reveal the attention to detail in Euro NCAP testing and list the most significant developments that have taken place over the past 20 years

Words ByClaire Evans

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Euro NCAP’s seven crash test centres all have the same equipment and follow precisely the same procedures.

To do all 18 tests for each of the four categories that make up an NCAP rating for one car model (adult occupant, child occupant, pedestrian and safety assistance) takes around a month.

It takes a team of five or six people two days to prep each car for a crash test. Four examples of each car model are needed for crash testing, plus a spare set of seats for whiplash testing and extra panels and bodywork for the pedestrian tests.

The dummies can cost up to a quarter of a million pounds each and are fitted with sensors that capture data in a 10th of a second. They’re designed to replicate real people, so the adult male dummy weighs 90kg and has to be moved about using a winch.

Euro NCAP milestones

1. February 1997 - first crash test results released. Rover 100 is first car to be removed from sale due to poor NCAP rating – it achieved just one star for occupant protection

2. July 1997 – Volvo S40 is first car to gain four-star rating for occupant protection

3. June 2001 – Renault Laguna is first car to achieve five stars for occupant protection

4. November 2003 – first Euro NCAP child protection rating results published: Renault Kangoo did badly (two stars), Ford Focus C-Max did well (four stars)

5. November 2008 – first Euro NCAP rear impact or β€˜whiplash’ test results released for front and rear car seats

6. January 2009 – revised five-star NCAP rating system launched to include results on how well cars protect pedestrians

7. January 2010 – Advanced Rewards initiative launched to celebrate the advanced technologies introduced by some car makers

8. January 2011 – ESC test added to crash test ratings

9. January 2011 – first Euro NCAP test of, electric, hybrid and plug-in cars. Mitsubishi iMiev is the first EV tested; it gains four stars

10. October 2013 – first tests of cars with crash avoidance technologies, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems

11. January 2014 – crash avoidance technology tests on systems such as AEB, lane keep assist and lane departure warning, added to ratings

12. January 2015 – new full width frontal crash test introduced

13. November 2015 – AEB for pedestrians added to crash test rating

14. April 2016 – dual star ratings introduced to show two ratings for the same model, one for it with standard safety equipment and the other fitted with an optional safety pack

Read more – What safety kit is essential on your next new car?

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