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Euro NCAP ratings explained

  • Euro NCAP ratings explained

When you’re purchasing a new or used vehicle, particularly if it’s going to be a trusted family car, safety is a vital factor in the decision-making process. Of course, there is an obligation for strict safety regulations to be followed by all manufacturers. However, having the assurance that these provide adequate tried-and-tested protection if the worst happens can supply you with that all-important peace of mind; and that’s where Euro NCAP comes in. 

What is Euro NCAP? 

Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) is an independent star-based safety rating system created to assist consumers in comparing vehicles and finding one that fits their safety needs. The rating a car is given out of five is based on a series of stringent crash tests that take into account the vehicle’s safety both with and without any clever safety technologies. 

When you’re considering a particular make and model, the Euro NCAP website makes it easy to search for and view that car’s rating. The higher the rating, the safer the car! 

How does Euro NCAP assess a car’s safety? 

The tests carried out by Euro NCAP cover the safety of adults, children and vulnerable road users, as well as the performance of electronic safety technology, such as crash avoidance. They replicate real-world collisions as closely as possible, using crash test dummies fitted with sensors to assess what the impact would be on a real-life adult or child. 

Adult occupant protection

This assesses front, side and rear impacts, including with other vehicles, poles and pedestrians.

Child occupant protection

Child restraint systems are tested, and the provisions in place for child seats of various sizes are evaluated.

Vulnerable road users

The impact of a vehicle on pedestrians and cyclists is assessed in various scenarios, and automatic emergency braking systems are put to the test around cyclists.

Safety assistance technology

Features that support safe driving and help prevent accidents, such as speed assistance and occupant monitoring, are also put through their paces.

How important is the Euro NCAP rating?  

Manufacturers adhere to safety regulations independent of Euro NCAP, so a lower rating doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unsafe, just generally a little less safe than a car that’s rated higher. Even cars with a zero or 1 star Euro NCAP rating can still be legally sold, but if safety is a concern, you’ll want to be looking at vehicles that score a 4 or a 5.