The safest hybrid and electric cars

Sales of hybrid and electric cars are booming, thanks to their low emissions and running costs, but which models do the experts at Euro NCAP rate highest for safety?.....

Hybrid and electric cars are some of the most advanced on the road. But there are still big differences between the best and worst – particularly when it comes to safety.

Tesla model 3 crash test

This is highlighted by the crash tests conducted by the independent assessors at Euro NCAP. So, if you're looking for a new hybrid or electric car to keep you and your family from harm, what should you choose?

Below we count down the 10 models that have received the highest scores since the latest – and toughest – version of the Euro NCAP test was introduced. Plus, we reveal the hybrid or electric car which performed worst.

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10: Jaguar I-Pace

Jaguar I-Pace front three quarters

Adult occupant protection: 91%

Child occupant protection: 81%

Pedestrian protection: 73%

Safety Assist: 81%

Total Euro NCAP score: 326

Jaguar's first electric car combines entertaining handling and futuristic looks with a big real-world range.

10: Jaguar I-Pace - interior

Jaguar I-Pace interior

What's more, it earned Euro NCAP's maximum, five-star rating, and most versions come with lane-keeping assistance, a blindspot warning system and high-speed automatic emergency braking.

9: Hyundai Nexo

Hyundai Nexo front three quarters

Adult occupant protection: 94%

Child occupant protection: 87%

Pedestrian protection: 67%

Safety Assist: 80%

Total Euro NCAP score: 328

The Nexo is unique among the cars on this list, in that it gets its electricity from a hydrogen fuel cell rather than batteries.

9: Hyundai Nexo - interior

Hyundai Nexo 2019 RHD dashboard

This technology has significant future potential, but at the moment it's expensive – and, as a result, so is the Nexo. While Euro NCAP rated the car highly in all areas, its child occupant protection score is particularly impressive.

8: Mercedes EQC

Mercedes EQC driving

Adult occupant protection: 96%

Child occupant protection: 90%

Pedestrian protection: 75%

Safety Assist: 75%

Total Euro NCAP score: 336

The EQC can't match the range between charges of the rival I-Pace, but it offers even better protection for adult and child occupants.

8: Mercedes EQC - interior

Mercedes EQC 2019 LHD dashboard

It's a brilliant choice, too, if you want to maximise the peace and quiet offered by going electric: it really is incredibly hushed at all speeds.

7: Lexus UX

Lexus UX

Adult occupant protection: 96%

Child occupant protection: 85%

Pedestrian protection: 82%

Safety Assist: 77%

Total Euro NCAP score: 340

Lexus's smallest SUV is offered exclusively as a hybrid, giving it low CO2 emissions and company car tax bills. What's more, every model comes with a Safety System Plus package, which includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance and road sign detection.

7: Lexus UX - interior

Lexus UX interior

Unfortunately, the driving experience is so-so and the infotainment system and practicality are poor.

=5: Toyota RAV4

Toyota RAV4

Adult occupant protection: 93%

Child occupant protection: 87%

Pedestrian protection: 85%

Safety Assist: 77%

Total Euro NCAP score: 342

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.

=5: Toyota RAV4 - interior

Toyota RAV4 Hybrid - interior

The RAV4 also comes with automatic emergency braking, including pedestrian and cyclist detection, as standard, while blind spot monitoring is included on Excel models and above.

=5: Toyota Corolla

Toyota Corolla GR 2020 front tracking

Adult occupant protection: 95%

Child occupant protection: 84%

Pedestrian protection: 86%

Safety Assist: 77%

Total Euro NCAP score: 342

As good as the latest RAV4 is, we reckon Toyota's family hatchback, the Corolla, is even better, combining its superb efficiency with a cosseting ride and generous standard spec.

=5: Toyota Corolla - interior

Toyota Corolla GR 2020 RHD dashboard

While the two cars get the same overall score from Euro NCAP, the Corolla betters its larger sibling in terms of adult occupant protection and pedestrian protection.

=3: Lexus ES

Lexus ES front three quarters

Adult occupant protection: 91%

Child occupant protection: 87%

Pedestrian protection: 90%

Safety Assist: 77%

Total Euro NCAP score: 345

Modern luxury saloons tend to use diesel engines, but the ES is different, combining a 2.5-litre petrol engine with an electric motor.

=3: Lexus ES - interior

Lexus ES 300h - interior

This approach makes for a car that's whisper-quiet around town and when cruising on the motorway but a bit noisy under acceleration. The ES's suite of standard safety kit includes lane-keeping assistance, high-speed emergency braking and pedestrian and cyclist detection.

=3: Telsa Model X

Tesla Model X 2019 RHD front tracking

Adult occupant protection: 98%

Child occupant protection: 81%

Pedestrian protection: 72%

Safety Assist: 94%

Total Euro NCAP score: 345

Tesla's luxurious, fully electric SUV combines astonishing performance with very low running costs and seating for up to seven people

=3: Telsa Model X - interior

Tesla Model X - interior

While Euro NCAP rated its adult occupant protection particularly highly.

2: Subaru Forester

2019 Subaru Forester e-Boxer front

Adult occupant protection: 97%

Child occupant protection: 91%

Pedestrian protection: 80%

Safety Assist: 78%

Total Euro NCAP score: 346

Subaru has a reputation for building rugged cars that are very capable off road, and the hybrid Forester lives up to that tradition.

2: Subaru Forester - interior

Subaru Forester - interior

However, it also scores incredibly well for child occupant protection and comes with a sophisticated driver monitoring system that uses facial recognition technology to warn if you're becoming too tired to concentrate or if your gaze has wandered for the road for too long.

1: Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 front three quarters

Adult occupant protection: 96%

Child occupant protection: 86%

Pedestrian protection: 74%

Safety Assist: 94%

Total Euro NCAP score: 350

Tesla is famous for pushing the boundaries of autonomous driving technology, so it's perhaps unsurprising that its new Model 3 scored so highly in the Safety Assist section.

1: Tesla Model 3 - interior

Tesla Model 3 2019 RHD dashboard

However, Euro NCAP found that it also performs very well when a crash is unavoidable. Together, these things gave it the highest overall score of any hybrid or electric car tested to date.

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