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New What Car? award will name Britain's safest car

  • Safety Award created in conjunction with Thatcham Research Centre
  • Prize only open to cars achieving five Euro NCAP stars
  • Winner will be announced at What Car? Awards ceremony in January
Words ByTom Webster

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What Car? and Thatcham Research Centre will unveil the safest car launched this year at its annual Car of the Year Awards ceremony in January 2015.

The brand new Safety Award will only be open to vehicles which have achieved five Euro NCAP stars, come fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), and are available for consumers to buy in the UK as of January 7, 2015.

Award contenders will also be assessed against a number of stringent safety factors from the Euro NCAP breakdown, including Adult Occupant Protection, Safety Assist, Euro NCAP breakdown and Child Occupant Protection.

The potential challengers include the Tesla Model S, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Nissan Qashqai, and VW Golf Sportsvan. See the full list below.

The top three cars will be selected by Thatcham Research Centre and an independent panel of safety experts, before being announced at the What Car? Car of the Year Awards in London on Wednesday, January 7.

What Car? editor Jim Holder said: 'When people are looking to buy a car, there are certain requirements that they will automatically have in their minds. Among the foremost of these is safety, especially if they are planning to use the vehicle to transport their family.

'We felt it was only right that such an important consideration in the car-buying process is reflected in our Car of the Year Awards.

'It will also be a chance for us to celebrate and applaud the work that manufacturers do and the lengths they go to in order to make sure that the cars we drive keep us as safe as possible.'

Matthew Avery, Director of Safety at Thatcham Research Centre, added: 'We are delighted to support this new, important award category. Our research on new vehicles, carried out on behalf of our motor insurer members, is increasingly focusing on safety features. We have led the testing protocols for systems such as AEB and we are already seeing significantly reduced accident rates on UK roads as a result.

'The synergy between improved safety and the reduced cost to insure is also now being reflected by lower premiums emerging for safer cars, making it an increasingly significant factor for car buyers.'

The cars in contention for the award are as follows:

Five-star shortlisted vehicles

Skoda Fabia
BMW 2 Series
Nissan Pulsar
Nissan Qashqai
Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Tesla Model S
VW Golf Sportsvan
Mercedes-Benz GLA
Nissan X-Trail
Mercedes-Benz V-Class

In contention – vehicles whose star rating is yet to be made public

Ford Mondeo
Land Rover Discovery Sport
Mini Cooper
Smart Forfour
Smart Fortwo
Kia Sorento
VW Passat
Jeep Renegade
Porsche Macan
Vauxhall Corsa
Subaru Outback

See the full list of cars shortlisted for the What Car? Car of the Year Award