The safest cars on sale today

Safety body Euro NCAP has just revealed its latest crash test results. So which models excelled, which disappointed, and do any new models break into our list of the top 10 safest cars on sale?...

Volkswagen Golf Euro NCAP

The all-new Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Juke have both been awarded five stars by Euro NCAP as part of the safety group's last round of tests in 2019.

In particular, Euro NCAP's testers praised the latest Golf's standard-fit safety systems, including automatic emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, as well as lane-keeping assistance. The Golf's Car2X system, which allows connected cars to be warned about upcoming hazards such as traffic jams and breakdowns, was also praised. In fact, the Car2X technology is one of the finalists in this year's What Car? Technology Award.

It wasn't all good news for the Golf, however, since one of the car's doors was shown to open during a side impact crash test. While Volkswagen says the Golf's door-locking mechanism should prevent any door opening, and that it is looking into "the root cause" of it happening, the Golf is the second Volkswagen to have had its door open during a crash test. The first was the Volkswagen Sharan earlier this year. Euro NCAP officials have said that the opening of a door during a crash test represents "a critical ejection risk to occupants."

The latest round of tests also saw the Ford Puma, MG ZS EV, MG HS and Audi Q8 SUVs achieve the highest five-star rating, However, the Volkswagen e-Up was awarded three stars. The electric Up has good levels of passive safety, but scores poorly because of the decision by Volkswagen to withdraw its automatic emergency braking system from the equipment list.   

The Chinese-made Aiways U5 SUV also scored a three-star rating because it had poor passive and active safety technology. It's the first car by the new Chinese brand to be tested by Euro NCAP and the company has said it will take onboard the criticisms highlighted by the tests and will aim to improve the car. 

Of the 69 models that Euro NCAP has tested since tough new standards were introduced in 2018, 52 have earned the full five-star safety rating. Among them are such diverse vehicles as the Audi A1 Sportback small hatchback, BMW Z4 sports car and Skoda Kamiq small SUV.

However, while Euro NCAP has stated that cars have never been safer, there are still big differences between the very best and worst performers. So, below we count down the cars with the 11 best scores – and reveal the models that received one star or less.

The top 10:

=10. Audi Q3

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Audi Q3

Adult occupant protection 95% Child occupant protection 86% Pedestrian protection 66% Safety Assist 85%

Total Euro NCAP score 342/400

Until recently, the Audi Q3 had the highest Safety Assist score of any car tested under Euro NCAP's latest criteria. The list of systems that are standard includes blindspot monitoring and a lane-keeping system that can steer the car back into its original lane to prevent a head-on collision.

Mazda CX-30 2019 front cornering

Adult occupant protection 99% Child occupant protection 86% Pedestrian protection 80% Safety Assist 77%

Total Euro NCAP score 342/400

The CX-30 fits neatly between Mazda's other two SUVs, the small CX-3 and larger CX-5. It feels as luxurious as rivals from premium brands, but costs significantly less. It comes with an impressive array of safety kit as standard, including automatic emergency braking (AEB), blindspot monitoring, lane departure warning with lane-keeping assistance, a rear cross-traffic alert system (to warn of traffic in your path when reversing into a road) and a driver attention alert system.

Read our full Mazda CX-30 review >>

=10. Toyota Corolla

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Toyota Corolla

Adult occupant protection 95% Child occupant protection 84% Pedestrian protection 86% Safety Assist 77%

Total Euro NCAP score 342/400

As good as the latest RAV4 is, we reckon it's Toyota's family hatchback, the Corolla, that's the best hybrid currently on sale. Although the Corolla matches the RAV4 on its overall score, it betters its larger sibling in terms of adult occupant protection and pedestrian protection.

Read our full Toyota Corolla review >>

=10. Toyota RAV4

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Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Adult occupant protection 93% Child occupant protection 87% Pedestrian protection 85% Safety Assist 77%

Total Euro NCAP score 342/400

Large SUVs are all gas-guzzling planet polluters, right? Well, not the Toyota RAV4, because thanks to hybrid power, it pumps out less CO2 than a 1.0-litre Ford Fiesta. The RAV4 comes with automatic emergency braking, including pedestrian and cyclist detection, as standard, as well as lane-keeping assistance.

Read our full Toyota RAV4 review >>

Next: more of the safest cars >

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