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Best in class: safest cars of 2015 revealed by Euro NCAP

Volvo XC90 takes top honours


Volvo has lived up to its reputation for safety after its relaunched XC90 SUV emerged as the car with the best overall performance in Euro NCAP’s 2015 crash test report.


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Euro NCAP awards cars a maximum of five stars for their safety performance. It tests four aspects of a car’s safety – adult occupant, child occupant, pedestrian and safety assist – awarding each a maximum of 100 points, expressed as a percentage. These final percentages are then expressed as a maximum five-star rating.

Revealing its Best in Class Cars of 2015, the organisation highlighted the XC90s score of 97% for adult occupant protection and 100% for its safety assist technologies, to beat more than 40 production vehicles released during what it called “a very busy year”.

Analysis of the results showed that there was very little separating the best performers. For example, in the large family category the Toyota Avensis performed as well as the Jaguar XE but lost out to the latter’s higher level of standard-fit driver assistance technologies. However, the Avensis was recognized as being the cheaper car.

In the supermini class the Honda Jazz just pipped the Suzuki Vitara to top honours on the strength of what Euro NCAP said was Honda’s fitment strategy for advanced safety systems.

All class winners with the exception of the Mazda MX-5 achieved Euro NCAP’s maximum five-star safety rating. The organization said that in the roadster class, none of the cars that were tested achieved the maximum five stars due to their lack of new avoidance technologies.

A new feature of this latest round of tests was the introduction of the full width frontal impact test. Euro NCAP said it had encouraged the more widespread fitment of rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters, and autonomous braking systems.

Meanwhile, the organisation said the ratings achieved this year had revealed a marked difference between newer cars that had been developed for the latest safety technologies and older vehicles, whose safety had not been updated and which now lagged behind the leaders.

 

Large off-road: Volvo XC90

Euro NCAP crash tests best in class of 2015: Volvo XC90

  • Price: £46,250-£64,205
  • Overall rating: ★★★★★
  • Adult Occupant: 97%
  • Child Occupant: 87%
  • Pedestrian: 72%
  • Safety Assist: 100%

Euro NCAP summary

Generally good level of adult occupant protection in all tests but side curtain airbag failed to deploy, reducing third-row protection. As a result, Volvo has modified a trim panel on production cars to allow the bag to deploy as intended, and agreed a retro-fit to existing cars.

City brake system achieved maximum points. Car achieved full marks for protection of child dummies in rearward-facing seats, and all child restraints could be easily fitted.

Pedestrian leg protection good but pelvic protection less so; otherwise generally good. A high level of standard-fit safety assist systems, the highlight being maximum points awarded for autonomous emergency braking system, which recognises pedestrians and cyclists as well as cars. High level of standard-fit safety assist technologies.

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Small off-road: Mercedes GLC

Euro NCAP crash tests best in class of 2015: Mercedes GLC

  • Price: £34,950-£39,595
  • Overall rating: ★★★★★
  • Adult Occupant: 95%
  • Child Occupant: 89%
  • Pedestrian: 82%
  • Safety Assist: 71%

Euro NCAP summary

Generally high level of occupant protection boosted by an effective, standard-fit city brake system. Maximum points were achieved for protection of 1.5-year-old child dummy, while three-year-old dummy protection was rated ‘good’.

All restraint types could be easily and securely fitted. In raised position, active bonnet offered very good pedestrian head protection. Bumper leg protection good but pelvic not so. Autonomous braking system worked well over a range of inter-urban speeds.

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Large family car: Jaguar XE

Euro NCAP crash tests best in class of 2015: Jaguar XE

  • Price: £29,775-£44,995
  • Overall rating: ★★★★★
  • Adult Occupant: 92%
  • Child Occupant: 82%
  • Pedestrian: 81%
  • Safety Assist: 82%

Euro NCAP summary

Good levels of occupant protection, especially in side barrier impact test. Autonomous braking system performed well. Good levels of child dummy protection, and clear airbag status information provided. All restraints easily fitted.

Active bonnet gave good pedestrian protection in raised position, and the bumper gave good leg protection, although results for pelvic protection were mixed. Good level of standard safety equipment, and autonomous braking system worked well at inter-urban speeds.

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Small family car: Infiniti Q30

Euro NCAP crash tests best in class of 2015: Infiniti Q30

  • Price: £20,550-£34,890
  • Overall rating: ★★★★★
  • Adult Occupant: 84%
  • Child Occupant: 86%
  • Pedestrian: 91%
  • Safety Assist: 81%

Euro NCAP summary

Generally good occupant protection, although severe side pole test revealed marginal chest protection. Autonomous braking system good but poor whiplash protection in front and rear seats cancelled this out. Good child dummy protection, at both ages, and all restraints easy to fit.

Active bonnet gave good pedestrian head protection, while bumper gave good leg and pelvic protection. Good level of standard-fit safety assist equipment.

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Supermini: Honda Jazz

Euro NCAP crash tests best in class of 2015: Honda Jazz

  • Price: £13,495-£17,705
  • Overall rating: ★★★★★
  • Adult Occupant: 93%
  • Child Occupant: 85%
  • Pedestrian: 73%
  • Safety Assist: 71%

Euro NCAP summary

Excellent occupant protection and effective autonomous braking system. Child dummy protection was variable. Most restraints could be easily fitted, with the exception of the Group 1 universal restraint which was not stable when installed in the rear centre position.

Bumper achieved maximum points for pedestrian leg protection but results for pelvic protection were mixed. Pedestrian head protection ranged from marginal to good. Generally good provision of standard-fit and optional safety assist systems.

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Large MPV: Ford Galaxy

Euro NCAP crash tests best in class of 2015: Ford Galaxy

  • Price: £26,695-£37,195
  • Overall rating: ★★★★★
  • Adult Occupant: 87%
  • Child Occupant: 87%
  • Pedestrian: 79%
  • Safety Assist: 71%

Euro NCAP summary

Good occupant protection, although whiplash protection poor in middle and rear seats, while autonomous braking system is available only as an option. Maximum points awarded for protection of youngest child dummy. All child restraints could be easily fitted.

The bumper provided good pedestrian leg and pelvic protection, and the bonnet, good head protection. The Galaxy’s optional autonomous emergency braking system recognises pedestrians as well as cars but such systems will be tested from 2016. Good levels of standard and optional safety assist technologies.

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Small MPV: VW Touran

Euro NCAP crash tests best in class of 2015:  VW Touran

 

  • Price: £22,240-£30,510
  • Overall rating: ★★★★★
  • Adult Occupant: 88%
  • Child Occupant: 89%
  • Pedestrian: 71%
  • Safety Assist: 76%

Euro NCAP summary

Good levels of occupant protection in all tests. Autonomous braking system is not standard, so was not tested. Good protection for both child dummies, and fitting child restraints in all three rows was straightforward.

Bumper gave good pedestrian leg protection but poor pelvic protection. In raised position, the active bonnet gave good head protection. Good level of standard-fit and optional safety assist equipment.

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Roadster sport: Mazda MX-5

Euro NCAP crash tests best in class of 2015:  Mazda MX-5

  • Price: £18,495-£24,295
  • Overall rating: ★★★★☆
  • Adult Occupant: 84%
  • Child Occupant: 80%
  • Pedestrian: 93%
  • Safety Assist: 64%

Euro NCAP summary

Generally good occupant protection, although driver’s airbag did not have enough pressure to prevent the head contacting the steering wheel. Good whiplash protection in the event of a rear-end collision.

All child restraints that were tested could be safely fitted in the front passenger seat. In its raised position, the active bonnet gave good pedestrian head protection, while the bumper gave good leg and pelvic protection. Good levels of standard-fit and optional safety assist equipment, although there is no autonomous braking system fitted to the car.

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See the full Euro NCAP Best in Class 2015 results here.