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by Tim Beissmann

British security consultant Thatcham has announced the winners of its annual British Insurance Vehicle Security Awards 2011.

The awards – now in their eighth year – recognise the most secure cars across 14 different categories.

The winners: (first, second, third)

City car: Audi A1, Volkswagen Polo, Seat Ibiza Sport

Small family car: Volvo C30, Audi A3, Volkswagen Jetta

Family car: Citroen C5, Volkswagen Passat/CC, Vauxhall Insignia

Compact executive car: Audi A4, Audi A5 Sportback, Infiniti G Series

Compact MPV: Citroen C4 Picasso, Volkswagen Golf Plus, Volkswagen Touran

Large MPV: Volkswagen Sharan, Seat Alhambra, Volkswagen Caravelle

Open-top car: Audi A5 Cabriolet, Audi R8 Spyder, Audi TT Roadster

Performance car: Audi A8 W12 Quattro, Mercedes-Benz CL Coupe, Audi A5 Coupe

Crossover: Volkswagen Tiguan, MINI Countryman, Volvo XC60

Compact 4×4: Audi Q5, BMW X3, Infiniti EX

Large 4×4: Toyota LandCruiser, Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne

Executive car: Citroen C6, Audi A6/A7, Infiniti M Series

Luxury car: Volkswagen Phaeton, Audi A8, Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Green car: Toyota Prius, Lexus CT 200h, Alfa Romeo MiTo

To be eligible, each vehicle must meet a long criteria list, which includes being fitted with an original equipment alarm/immobiliser combination and featuring double locking on all openings fitted with an interior release.

Vehicles are then rated on a ‘theft of’ and ‘theft from’ basis, which are based solely on the design of the vehicles and not on their perceived attractiveness to car thieves.

Points were awarded for: ignition/steering column lock, peripheral locks and mechanisms, electronic security systems, ICE and in-car electronics, vehicle identification, secondary mechanical immobilisation system, glazing, key/component management, key code information and additional security features.

Thatcham says most modern vehicles are now “all but impossible to steal”, and much of the responsibility lies with owners to ensure their cars are properly secured.

Despite this, insurance companies in the UK paid out around £332 million ($509 million) in car crime claims last year.

What do you make of the list? Are there any surprises, or any glaring omissions? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.