Safety is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a new car, which is why official crash testing is so important.
The leaders in this department are Euro NCAP, who release data on crash tests and driver assistance features for a wide range of cars each year.
With the latest data for 2020 just released, here, we take a look at the nine cars that received five stars for crash safety this year…
Audi’s family hatchback scored particularly well for adult occupants, noting that it demonstrated the ability to protect people of varying sizes from serious injuries. It was also commended for including a system that brakes the car following a crash. The only real negative was that it could cause higher damage to other vehicles in a crash.
The Leon shares a platform with the A3 and therefore scores similarly. However, it did marginally better in adult occupant protection, despite near-identical comments on injury protection. It also received a small penalty for the damage it could cause other vehicles, but otherwise received good marks for protecting passengers from injury.
Volkswagen’s new electric vehicle also underwent testing this year, getting full marks. It performed well in preventing injuries to its passengers, but was also noted for not causing excessive damage to the crash barrier, indicating it’s also quite friendly to other vehicles in a crash. The main negative was the fact that the dummy moved too far across the vehicle in the side impact test.
The Yaris might be small but it scored well across the board, receiving maximum points for protecting critical body parts in the side impact test. It also gained praise for having clear information on the front airbag system, which can be disabled for rear-facing child restraints. However, an unclear manual meant it failed on the installation check for some child restraints.
Another small car that performed well is the Jazz, which demonstrated a stable passenger compartment in the offset frontal test. Protection of the passengers was generally good, but was rated as weak for the driver’s chest. It was noted that the centre airbag protected passengers colliding with each other in a side impact.
Another electric car, Mazda’s new MX30 received top marks, doing particularly well in adult occupant protection, where it scored 91%. The report notes that protection of passengers was strong, scoring top marks in both the side barrier test and more severe side pole impact. It was knocked for not having an advanced emergency call system or post-collision braking.
Land Rover Defender
Land Rover will be pleased to learn that one of the most highly anticipated new cars of the year scored top marks in testing, despite not being outstanding in any department. Euro NCAP noted that the femur protection score was penalised, as was chest protection of the rear passenger in the full-width rigid wall test. It was also considered an ‘aggressive’ partner to other vehicles in the event of a crash.
Another large SUV and another five stars, the Sorento was another that didn’t stand out in any particular area but did well overall. Its central airbag, whiplash protection and driver assistance were all rated highly. However, its protection of the driver’s chest and right femur was rated weak, with occupant protection rated marginal in this test because structures in the dashboard could cause a risk to occupants of different sizes.
The surprise of the year was the Isuzu D-Max pick-up, which scored top marks despite ‘competing in a segment that is not famous for highlighting safety’. It received similar occupant safety comments as the Sorento in the offset frontal test, and was also penalised for how it interacts with other vehicles in a crash. However, it typically scored highly for occupant protection in a variety of crash scenarios, as well as for having an emergency call system.