When you’re buying a new car, the first thing you want is for it to be safe. Thankfully, European safety body NCAP does the hard work for you, putting vehicles through a series of rigorous crash tests. Here, you’ll find a list of the best-performing cars in 2019, all of which were awarded a full five stars.
1) Tesla Model 3
The Tesla Model 3 is a high-tech electric car that you’re able to use every day. Of course, it’s loaded to the gills with autonomous kit. Its central infotainment touchscreen is an impressive fifteen inches in diameter, letting you control everything from its headline-making self-driving capabilities right down to the ability to make fart sounds come out of the seats. Its multitude of gadgets earned the Model 3 a record-setting 94% NCAP score for safety assistance. That’s not all, though: the car got 96% for adult protection in Euro NCAP’s crash tests.
2) Volkswagen T-Cross
This is surprising. A small, very reasonably priced SUV is the second-safest car in the world? Apparently so, as NCAP gave the Volkswagen T-Cross a 97% score for adult safety and an 86% for child safety. That isn’t all: it’s a very easy car to live with, too. The T-Cross has a 385-litre boot, which closely matches what you would get from such alternatives as the SEAT Arona and Skoda Kamiq. The cabin offers generous amounts of room; with the rear seats pushed back, you could get four adults inside. Plus, get a T-Cross in SE guise and you’ll have all the essential conveniences you could ever need in your day-to-day life.
3) Mazda 3
The Mazda 3 is a dream blend: safe and fun. Not only did Euro NCAP give the car a 98% score for adult protection but, out on the open road, you’ll almost certainly have a good time behind the wheel. This is thanks to its nicely weighted steering, well-balanced body and firm grip on the tarmac, which make mincemeat of any bends. It’s adept in town, too, thanks to its precision, small stature and responsive manual gearbox – as well as rear parking sensors. Another major pro is its infotainment system, which is simple, easy to control and has all the features you’d need.
4) Skoda Scala
Scoring 97% and 87% for adult and child protection respectively, the Skoda Scala boasts a level of safety for its occupants that belies its small price tag of just £18,000. It allows you peace of mind while you’re behind the wheel, while also making you feel rather comfortable with its spacious cabin. The Scala can accommodate up to five adults inside, combining with a 467-litre boot to make it great for families, whether they’re just on the school run or getting away for a lengthy holiday.
5) SEAT Tarraco
Having received a 97% score for adult protection, the SEAT Tarraco is definitely a very safe SUV. After all, even the entry-level SE version of the car comes with lane-keeping and -changing assistance, as well as automatic emergency braking. The car is decently practical, too, with a very easy-to-use infotainment touchscreen as well as lots of handy little storage areas throughout the cabin. It can fit up to five adults and two children with no worries, all of whom will feel comfortable as you cruise along on the Tarraco’s smooth, bump-absorbing suspension.
6) Lexus UX
Scoring 96% in NCAP tests for adult protection, the Lexus UX is ideal if you want to mix safety, economy and a posh interior. It’s the first model here to be available solely as a hybrid, mixing a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to get a claimed average of around 50mpg. It performs decently, too, especially in towns, where it feels nippy and – due to its SUV stature – provides some good visibility for navigating your way through traffic. Thanks to its high-end materials, you’ll feel at home sitting in the front, as well.
7) Toyota Corolla
The Toyota Corolla is not just good at keeping the people inside it safe (scoring 95% and 84% for respective adult and child protection); it’s good at keeping pedestrians safe, too. Its systems can detect people that are or are about to walk in front of it and will apply the brakes to prevent a collision. It ticks all the boxes elsewhere, too, standing as one of the best family-friendly hatchbacks money can buy. It’s got a plush interior, is surprisingly fun to drive and will prove extremely reliable.
8) Toyota RAV4
The Toyota RAV4 is well-equipped from the ground up, with even entry-level models of the car getting boat-loads of handy kit. This includes adaptive cruise control with Stop/Start, a reversing camera, rain-sensing wipers and a digital driver’s display. It’s comfortable, too, cruising along open roads smoothly and quietly and absorbing potholes in town. Plus, of course, it’s safe, receiving a 93% NCAP score for adult protection and 87% for child protection.
9) Mercedes B-Class
As a family car, you would certainly hope for the Mercedes B-Class to be very, very safe. And it is, getting a 96% score for adult protection and 90% for child protection. It’s pretty easy to drive, too, as the steering is light to make the car manoeuvrable, while visibility is also commendable. To go with the spacious cabin, the boot is 455 litres – enough for several large suitcases – and easy to lift luggage into.
10) Mercedes GLE
The Mercedes GLE is a large and striking sight to behold. Not a misleading aesthetic, when you consider the strength of its body in a crash. NCAP gave the car a 91% score for adult protection, while child protection got 90%. The interior looks and feels great, and the front five seats are roomy and comfortable for adults (the two rearmost ones are best reserved for children, though). Furthermore, get the GLE with a diesel engine and you’ll have some punchy performance on your hands – as well as reasonable fuel economy.