Euro NCAP, the official body that assesses the safety of new cars, has revealed its class-leading cars of 2013.
A total of 33 cars, from seven categories, were destructively tested in 2013. Each car was examined and ranked for its adult, child and pedestrian protection, and its safety-assistance systems.
The new Qoros 3 saloon, the first model from the Chinese manufacturer, was the best performer in crash testing in 2013. It was also the first car from a Chinese manufacturer to attain the highest five-star rating.
Euro NCAP's crash-testing procedures have received numerous revisions and additions during the course of 2013, including the ability to reward manufacturers who design their cars to allow for the easy installation of the most popular child seats.
The organisation has also begun to test systems, such as radar-guided cruise control as part of the overall scoring process.
Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary general, said: "Euro NCAP is continuously evolving in response to industry innovation and consumer expectation. It is very positive that the number of four and five stars is still significant, despite the ever-increasing requirements."
The cars, all of which attained a full five-star rating, secured the top positions by returning the highest overall scores.
The safest cars of 2013:
Supermini: Renault Zoe
Small family car: Qoros 3 saloon
Large family car: Lexus IS300h
Small off-road 4x4: Jeep Cherokee
Executive: Maserati Ghibli