Published: 14 Jul 2017

The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) explained

Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) is an organisation focusing on the safety of cars sold in Europe and rating the safety of the car by their five-star rating.

The ratings are determined by several tests on the vehicle, which is carried out by the organisation. The tests show the importance of safety of a vehicle by representing them in real life accident scenarios that could result in injury or death of the car occupants or other road users.

Euro NCAP’s rating system makes it easier to compare vehicles and assist you finding the safest choice for you. The tests are updated regularly meaning new tests are added and ratings of vehicles can be adjusted. The higher the rating of stars reflects how well the car performed during the tests, but also includes the safety equipment that is offered in the vehicle.

The ratings are broken down into categories, Adult Occupant where the score is based on the frontal impact, side impact and whiplash tests. Child Occupant scoring based on protection offered by the restraint system, ability to cater for child restraints in multiple sizes and designs and the vehicles provisions. Pedestrians rating is calculated by the vehicles front structures and its potential to cause injuries and Safety Assist is assessed by the driver assist technology.

It is to be noted that the rating supplied by Euro NCAPS is beyond the legal requirements, if the car meets the minimum legal safety requirements it will not receive any stars. It does not mean that the vehicle is unsafe but it means it does not have as much safety as its close competitors.

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The all new SEAT Ibiza has claimed a 5 star status with Euro NCAP by providing similar protection to occupants of different sizes and in different seating positions in the Adult Occupant category scoring an overall 95% and also providing whiplash protection in an event of rear-end condition. All child restraint types designed for Ibiza could be installed properly in the car during the Child Occupant testing. The Autonomous Emergency Breaking system (AEB) can detect pedestrians as well as other cars proving to show good performance across the test scenarios along with front and rear seatbelt reminders and a speed limitation system.

Tested in December 2015 and annually reviewed in 2016, the Kia Sportage also topped the rating system with 5 stars by providing protection for critical areas of the body for passenger and driver. The front passenger airbag can be disabled to allow for rearward facing child restraint. All restraint types designed for the Sportage could be installed correctly in the car. The vehicle has electronic stability control and seatbelt reminders giving extra reassurance to the driver.

The Ford Edge joins both the SEAT Ibiza and Kia Sportage with five stars by providing good protection to the knees and thighs of passenger and driver. The Edge also showed that occupants of different sizes and sat in different positions showed a similar level of protection. It is also possible for the front passenger airbag to be disabled for rearward-facing child restraints and the autonomous emergency braking system detects pedestrians. 

Tested back in 2013, the Mazda 3 does not fall short of the maximum stars. The Mazda3 claimed maximum points with the side barrier test giving a good rate of protection across all parts of the body and the front head restraints gave good protection against whiplash in event of a rear end collision. Mazda has electronic stability control as standard and met requirements as well as seatbelt reminders.

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