Mercedes-Benz A-Class wins the What Car? Safety Award 2019

The new family car gained the highest Euro NCAP crash test score of the year, beating larger, more expensive models...

23 January 2019
Mercedes A-Class Safety Award 2019
Mercedes A-Class Safety Award 2019

The A-Class was the only car to gain an overall score of 90% in Euro NCAP’s 2018 tests for both the protection it offers in the event of a crash and its crash avoidance technology. 

It beat many other models, including two that were highly commended by the judges: the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40. 

What Car? editor, Steve Huntingford, commented: "The annual What Car? Car of the Year Awards cover every type of car, but safety is the one category that's relevant to everyone. It's therefore particularly exciting to see this award won by a model that millions of British motorists can afford."

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The judges heralded the A-Class as one of the safest and most technologically advanced smaller cars ever. Its Driving Assistant Plus package, which combines adaptive cruise control, lane centring, speed limit recognition and guided lane change functions, was also highlighted by the judges as one of the best available on the market.

Matthew Avery, one of the Safety Award judges and director of research at Thatcham Research, said: “The Mercedes A-Class was the year’s top performer in the world’s most exacting safety tests. It’s exciting to see one of 2018’s best-selling cars meet that challenge, and it shows that car makers can deliver state-of-the-art safety for the mass market.”

AEB cyclist Audi Q3

The A-Class, Q3 and XC40 are all extremely good at protecting vulnerable road users. They all have standard-fit automatic emergency braking (AEB) systems that can detect pedestrians and cyclists as well as other vehicles. With Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) accident rates involving pedestrians and cyclists increasing, these systems are an important safety feature on new cars. 

The A-Class fared best in this area, scoring a perfect 100% in the NCAP AEB cyclist avoidance test and achieving an impressive 97% for the system’s ability to detect pedestrians. 

All three highly commended cars can be specified with additional driver assistance systems that are “forming the foundations for automated driving”, according to Avery. 

For example, the A-Class’s optional Driving Assistant Plus package helps keep the car in the centre of a lane and accelerates and brakes automatically to maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front. 

XC40 driver assist

Of the other two highly commended cars, the Audi Q3 came out on top. It was praised for gaining the highest Safety Assist score in Euro NCAP tests; this measures the car’s ability to avoid the crash in the first place. 

In third place was the Volvo XC40, which achieved the best Adult Occupant Protection score (97%) of all cars tested in 2018. Its Pilot Assist system was also very good at providing drivers with steering assistance and helping them to maintain a safe gap from the vehicle ahead. 

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