The safest cars on sale today

The new Vauxhall Astra had to settle for four stars in the latest round of Euro NCAP safety tests. But did any of the other models assessed do well enough to make it onto our list of the 10 safes...

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The Kia EV6 electric SUV, What Car?'s 2022 Car of the Year, has been awarded five stars for safety in the latest round of crash tests by Euro NCAP.

The Mercedes C-Class executive car, Volkswagen Multivan MPV and Volvo C40 electric SUV have also scored five stars.

The EV6 scored well for its ability to protect adult passengers – 34.5 out of 38 marks – with a near-perfect rating in side-on collisions.

The C40 Recharge and C-Class were better still in adult crash protection, with the former attaining a perfect score for its protection during side-on impacts. 

The C-Class also collected a Euro NCAP Advanced award for its optional Car-to-X communication system, which ‘talks’ to other cars via the internet to receive early warnings about upcoming hazards, such as a breakdown or a traffic accident, which you might not otherwise detect. Car-to-X is available as part of the optional 'Mercedes Me' service.

The Peugeot 308 and Vauxhall Astra, which share their underpinnings, were rated at four stars.

The 308 and Astra lost out on a star because they offer marginal chest protection for adults in front-on crashes, meaning that injuries are more likely than in a car rated 'good' such as the Volkswagen Taigo coupé SUV. Euro NCAP also noted that neither the 308 nor the Astra comes with a central airbag to protect against injuries caused by passenger-to-passenger collisions during an accident.

So far in 2022, the DS 4 (with the optional ‘Safety Pack Plus’), Lexus NX SUV and Renault Megane E-Tech electric car have all been awarded five stars. The Taigo and the updated Volkswagen Polo small car were also rated five stars, as well as 35 other models tested between 2020 and 2021. 

In July, new vehicle safety legislation will come into force to make automatic emergency braking (AEB), speed assistance and other safety systems compulsory on all new vehicles.

Euro NCAP toughens up its testing every two years to encourage car makers to keep improving safety standards.

The most recent update in 2020 brought about the biggest changes to the tests for a decade. It introduced a new moving barrier element to the frontal offset crash test. This replaced the frontal crash test that had been used since the programme started in 1997.

The new element not only measures likely injuries for those sitting in the near and far side of the vehicle during a crash, but also evaluates how much of a risk the car’s front-end structure poses to the vehicle it hits.

Other updates in 2020 included a new side impact test (with stronger mass) to the passenger side to assess passenger movement and injury, as well as new scenarios to test AEB systems. 

So far, 62 cars have been put through the new, more stringent safety tests.

Here, we take a look at the top 10 performers so far.

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