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New Nissan Leaf earns five-star Euro NCAP safety rating

Nissan Leaf excels despite being the first car to be assessed under tough new rules designed to better reflect 'real-world' crashes

Words By Steve Huntingford

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Nissan Leaf crash test

The new Nissan Leaf electric car has been awarded a five-star safety rating by independent crash test body Euro NCAP.

Adult occupant protection was found to be particularly strong, with the Leaf given 93% in this area, but its 86% score for child occupant protection also betters those of most rival family hatchbacks.

The Leaf is the first car to be assessed by Euro NCAP in 2018, following changes designed to make its tests reflect a greater proportion of 'real-world' crashes. Additions include:

  • An offset test of automatic emergency braking systems, where the car partially overlaps the point of impact
  • A walking-in-road scenario and assessment of pedestrian protection during darkness
  • Scenarios for collisions with cyclists both crossing and riding along the road

Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham Research, which carries out Euro NCAP's testing in the UK, said: "Safety campaigners have raised concerns about noise, or rather the lack of it, in fully electrified vehicles [such as the Leaf] which is why standard-fit AEB systems that can detect vulnerable road users should be fundamental to any electric vehicle’s suite of safety technologies.

β€œNissan has done a great job considering the additional challenges pure electric propulsion presents. And in none of the impact tests did we see any compromise of the battery."

Full Nissan Leaf Euro NCAP scores:

  • Adult occupant protection 93%
  • Child occupant protection 86%
  • Pedestrian protection 71%
  • Safety Assist 71%

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Top 10 family-friendly cars for safety

Safety standards have risen dramatically in recent years, but there are still sizeable differences between the best and worst cars. Below we count down the family-friendly models that received the 10 highest Euro NCAP scores prior to the introduction of the latest tests.

= 10. Land Rover Discovery

Total Euro NCAP score: 318

The new Land Rover Discovery is one of the best family SUVs you can buy, achieving a five-star What Car? rating as well as a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. It can genuinely seat seven adults and combines a fantastic, elevated driving position with a very comfortable ride, plus it's as capable off the road as it is on it.

Read our full Land Rover Discovery review


= 10. Subaru Levorg

Total Euro NCAP score: 318 (out of 400)

This practical, four-wheel-drive estate car earned the same Euro NCAP score as the Discovery, but it's nowhere near as impressive in other areas: it's expensive to buy, the ride is poorly controlled and the interior feels cheap.

Read our full Subaru Levorg review


9. Audi Q2

Total Euro NCAP score: 319

Adults will feel a bit cramped in the back of Audi's smallest SUV, but children will be fine and the interior is beautifully finshed. The Q2 is great fun to drive, too, and it has a slightly higher overall safety score than the larger Audi Q5.

Read our full Audi Q2 review

Next: the rest of the top 10 >

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