What is assessed?

* All the results here * New, tougher test for 2009 * New test explained...

What is assessed?

These are the areas that are assessed in every test:

Frontal impact: a 40mph collision designed to replicate the most common accidents on our roads. Euro NCAP evaluates how well the passenger cell remains intact, measures intrusion into the cabin, movement of the pedals and steering wheel, and gauges how the car's hard areas may injure parts of the body.

Side impact: this replicates the second-most common type of collision between cars. The 30mph test examines intrusion into the cabin and has resulted in the increased fitment of side airbags.

Pole test: trees cause extensive damage because of their narrow diameter. This 18mph impact is now compulsory and should mean that head-protecting airbags become more common.

Child protection: this tests the protection offered by seats recommended by the car manufacturer for children aged 18 months and three years of age. It looks at potential injuries as well as seat instructions and ease of fitment.

Pedestrian protection: a 25mph collision between the car and adult and child dummies. The test assesses the protection given by the bumper and bonnet, which need to give under impact and minimise injuries by providing clearance from hard components in the engine bay underneath.

Whiplash: a new element of the overall result, this looks at the design and performance of the seat, which is tested on its own outside the car.

Equipment: electronic stability control, seatbelt reminders and speed-limitation devices can all earn valuable extra points because of their proven ability to reduce the chances of accidents and injuries.