Nine new cars get Euro NCAP's top rating

* Kia Picanto misses out on top crash score * Stability control not standard in Europe * Big improvement for Chevrolet...

Nine new cars get Euro NCAP's top rating

The Audi A6, BMW X3, Chevrolet Aveo, Chevrolet Orlando, Citroen DS5, Hyundai i40, Vauxhall Ampera, Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet and Volkswagen Jetta have all received five stars in the latest crash test results released by Euro NCAP.

Only the new Kia Picanto failed to get the top rating in this round of results, achieving a four-star result.

Euro NCAP said it was surprised that electronic stability control (ESC) wasn't fitted as standard across the Picanto's range in Europe. This could cause confusion for British car buyers because ESC is standard on the Picanto in the UK.

'Consumers should expect this critical safety equipment to be part of any offering, regardless of car size or price,' said Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP's secretary general.

A Kia spokesman said: 'In the UK, the new Picanto comes as standard with Electronic Stability Control across the range. Electronic Stability Control is not standard across all versions, in all European markets. Euro NCAP rate the lowest spec version on offer within Europe and, as such, tested a version without Electronic Stability Control.

'We are confident that had this been fitted to the version tested then a five-star score would have been achieved.'

Euro NCAP praised Chevrolet, however, saying it recognised the efforts the car maker had made since the original Aveo was tested in 2006, when it scored just two stars.

Ratingen said Euro NCAP will be making its five-star rating even tougher 'in the coming years' by making the child occupant protection tests ever more stringent.

'We consider child protection as a very important part of the overall star rating and have plans to step up our requirements,' he said. The Hyundai i40 and Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet and Jetta all achieved an impressive 86% in these tests.

Ratingen also pointed out that the Audi A6, Citroen DS5 and Vauxhall Ampera wouldn't have received a five-star rating under the scoring system that's due to come into effect next year, because none of the cars scored 60% or more in the pedestrian protection test.