Five stars for all four cars tested in the latest round of Euro NCAP results
26 August 2010

All four cars tested in the most recent round of Euro NCAP safety tests have been awarded coveted five star ratings.

The cars tested included the Honda CR-Z, Hyundai ix35, Citroen C4 and Suzuki Swift.

Read Autocar's full Honda CR-z road test

Euro NCAP said the results reflected manufacturers rising to the challenges of the new safety rating system and that they were “continuing to make safety a priority”.

Euro NCAP added that from October it would be introducing a Euro NCAP Advanced award that assessed technologies not currently included in crash tests; it will be revealed at the Paris motor show next month which of these systems are to be tested.

Euro NCAP also said it would also be testing electric cars for the first time from early 2011.Read Autocar's first drive of the new Suzuki Swift

See all the latest Honda CR-Z reviews, news and videoSee all the latest Hyundai ix35 reviews, news and videoSee all the latest Citroen C4 reviews, news and videoSee all the latest Suzuki Swift reviews, news and video

Our Verdict

Citroën C4
The Citroën C4 range comprises three diesel and three petrol engines, plus three trim levels

It's an admirable family hatchback, but there is an abundance of superior rivals that makes the C4 feel a little outclassed

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26 August 2010

I understand that NCAP only awards stars based on the class of car, i.e. a five star supermini is a safe supermini for its class, but in no way comparable to a larger luxury saloon for example. (I wait to be corrected by more knowledgeable members).

Until NCAP can give an absolute safety rating then the results will always be somewhat misleading IMHO. After all, if safety is a purchasing priority, how can this be measured in the real world?

26 August 2010

Current crash tests are rather pointless, we don't see any real differentiation between cars. All of them get top rating, if a car gets 4-star rating, you can assume it doesn't come with ESP as standard, which is irrelevant for passive safety. We need a system that would reflect differences between all cars on sale today. Thus, the average score should be 3 stars with 5-star rating reserved for the very best, as it used to be (briefly) at the time when Laguna II was launched.

26 August 2010

[quote Johnny English]Until NCAP can give an absolute safety rating then the results will always be somewhat misleading IMHO.[/quote]

I agree. There must be a lot of people out there who think that their 5 star ncap supermini is as safe as a 5 star large family car.

I'd love to see Fifth Gear do one of their crash tests between say a Clio and a Mondeo to see the difference. It would be best to keep it to different manufacturers to take in to account compatability issues.

26 August 2010

Exactly, as Scotty said "You cannae change the laws of physics!" and he was right...

Take two cars of equal NCAP rating, crash them into each other and the bigger car will always come off best, it's simply down to weight.

However, whether a 3* NCAP large car is better than a 5* NCAP small car is much harder to predict, so in a sense, a 5* supermini is safe, or at least safer than a 4* one!

Personally, I look for stuff that NCAP don't test for, like the distance from the back of the car to the rear seats. Volvo reckon around 1 foot is the minimum for rear crash safety (in the XC90, with a reinforced rear subframe), most/many superminis don't come close to this. The same problem for many MPVs in 7 seat mode too.

26 August 2010

[quote Lee23404]I'd love to see Fifth Gear do one of their crash tests between say a Clio and a Mondeo to see the difference. It would be best to keep it to different manufacturers to take in to account compatability issues.[/quote] How about an Audi Q7 vs a Fiat 500??

26 August 2010

[quote JackB]We need a system that would reflect differences between all cars on sale today. [/quote]

Very true... which is why there need to be more tests.

Although the ratings do provide a good idea about the cars' safety, the current ratings of Euro NCAP and other organizations are only relevant if the car crashes against a car which is exactly the same as it (same wheels, same weight (i.e. same passenger and cargo weight too...), same engine, same height...). In reality, the chances of hitting exactly the same car are quite small.

IMO, Euro NCAP should introduce at least two new tests: IMO the most important one, a frontal impact that occurs at a higher speed. This tests the ability of the car to withstand high forces. You need to remember that the most important factors in a crash, to have a good idea to determine which car comes better off, are: strength of the two vehicles' structures, speed, weight, height and how well the passive systems (mainly seatbelts and airbags) work within the whole system.

The Audi Q7 and Fiat 500 test is ideal to discuss this: although the speed of the vehicles in the test was the same as NCAP tests, and the strength of the structure of the Audi is nothing spectacular, the Audi was much heavier (larger momentum, which means that the Fiat had to stop and move backwards in the direction of the Q7 - huge deceleration for the 500, while the Q7 only slowed down) and was higher (stiffer parts of the Audi hit the softer parts, such as the bonnet, of the 500...putting even more severe stresses on the 500's structure); the result was clearly that the 500 just couldn't cope with the extra forces involved.

A test crashing cars at higher speeds would put the car's structure to the ultimate test, and the car makers which are designing their cars to only perform specifically well in NCAP tests will be caught out. For instance, the Toyota Avensis clearly doesn't have a strong structure even though it got 5 stars; in the NCAP test, the A-pillar bended significantly showing that the car didn't channel its forces properly and pretty much had reached its limit; in a crash with a heavier or higher vehicle, or at higher speeds, it would become pretty much mincemeat no matter how many airbags it has. On the other hand, the Ford Mondeo and especially the Smart Fortwo and Mercedes C-Class have very strong structures (absolutely no bending of A-pillars in NCAP tests and not even the windscreens broke, showing that they have very stiff safety cells and are capable of channelling the forces properly).

Another test would be for rear-end crashes. It's all well and good that they're doing whiplash tests...but what would really happen in reality? Would the structure be able to withstand the impact and protect the occupants, especially like someone said in 7-seat vehicles (which have little to no distance between the rearmost seats and the bootlid)? Would an airbag, like the iQ's, be sufficient?

I would also have suggested a rollover test, but the IIHS has already started testing cars for roof safety...with some interesting results.

I am also curious to see how they will test, and how they will rate, the advanced active safety systems...

27 August 2010

Since the introduction of the Ncap tests cars as a whole have become significantly safer, a bad rating can do a lot of harm to a cars sales, however as most cars are now intrinsically safe and even the smallest cars getting 5 star ratings, the tests themselves need an overhaul, and as stated some manufacturers are building cars specifically designed to pass the tests to the detriment of secondary safety. In the mean time I will continue to drive my S80 mk2 safe in the knowledge that it was designed with input from real crashes involving real people on real roads, and not just for the sake of a test.

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