Euro NCAP, sister organisation to the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), has named the cars that impressed most in crash safety tests carried out through 2015.
Listed by market segment, most of the models awarded are either available in Australia or on their way, those being the Volvo XC90, Mercedes-Benz GLC, Jaguar XE, Mazda MX-5 and Infiniti Q30.
The European-market Volkswagen Touran and Ford Galaxy people-movers were also recognised as star performers in safety testing.
Euro NCAP notes that the awards are based on a weighted sum of the scores in the organisation’s four areas of assessment, ranking the results against other vehicles in the same class - but specifically those tested in the same year.
Leading the way in the somewhat awkwardly named ‘Large Off-Road’ class was the Volvo XC90, achieving a score of 97 per cent for adult occupant safety, 87 per cent for child occupant protection, 72 per cent in pedestrian safety and a perfect 100 per cent in onboard safety assist technologies.
In the ‘Small Off-Road’ segment, the new Mercedes-Benz GLC - a mid-sized SUV in the Australian market - scored highly in crash testing with 95 per cent for adult protection, 89 per cent for children and 82 per cent for pedestrian safety. Safety assist systems scored a relatively low 71 per cent, however.
The top performer in the ‘Large Family Car’ segment was the Jaguar XE - likewise a mid-sizer in Australia - with 92 per cent for adult protection, 82 per cent for children and 81 per cent for pedestrians. Safety assist systems scored 82 per cent.
The ‘Small Family Car’ Infiniti Q30, due in Australia later this year, scored 84 per cent in adult protection - which would seem a relatively poor result for the best-scoring car in the segment - along with 86 per cent in child protection and 91 per cent for pedestrians. Safety assist systems scored 81 per cent.
The new Honda Jazz, on sale in Australia since July 2014, was nonetheless the highest-achieving car in tests for the ‘Supermini’ class (‘light’ class in Australia). The Jazz scored a strong 93 per cent in adult protection, 85 per cent for children, a relatively low 73 per cent for pedestrians and 71 per cent for safety assist systems.
Jazz rivals tested by Euro NCAP in 2015 included the Mini Clubman, Mazda CX-3, Hyundai i20, Mazda 2 and Suzuki Vitara. Models tested but not offered in Australia include the Lancia Ypsilon (which caught fire), Fiat Panda Cross and Opel Karl (a version of our new Holden Spark).
The Mazda MX-5, positioned in the ‘Roadster Sport’ class in Europe, achieved 84 per cent in adult protection and 80 per cent for children, along with a very high 93 per cent for pedestrians but a relatively poor showing of 64 per cent for safety assist technologies.
Interestingly, none tested in the ‘Roadster Sport’ segment could achieve five stars overall. The MX-5 and Audi TT, both brand-new cars, scored four stars overall, while the ageing Z4 could achieve only a three-star rating.
Euro NCAP’s testing criteria will challenge car makers further in 2016, with the addition of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) as a key factor in tests.