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The 10 best safe small cars

Today there are more and more reasons to buy a smaller car. They are often cheaper to run and maintain than larger, more expensive vehicles and easier to use in cities.

Crash testing by organisations such as Euro NCAP force manufacturers to improve the safety of their vehicles. Every year tests get harder and 2015 saw large changes to the testing regime. The resulting spike in difficulty means cars tested this year received lower than expected ratings. So achieving even a four-star rating in 2015 is an impressive feat.

We’ve put together a list of the 10 best safe small cars you can buy. Remember, you can put any of these cars into our car configurator and carwow will help you find some great deals.

Hyundai i20 – 2015 Euro NCAP four stars

The first car to feature on our list is the Hyundai i20 which scored a very impressive four stars in the much stricter 2015 Euro NCAP test.

As well as protecting the head and chest, airbags designed to cushion the pelvis of the driver and passenger in an impact from the side are fitted as standard. The Hyundai received a lateral impact rating of ‘adequate to good’. Pedestrian impact was also rated highly with the i20 scoring a very admirable 79 per cent.

Put the Hyundai i20 into our car configurator and discover how much carwow can help you save.

Mazda 2 – 2015 Euro NCAP four stars

The Mazda 2 is the second car on our list to score four stars in 2015 crash tests and includes some standard features you might not expect to find in a supermini-sized car.

In addition to stability control, traction control and ABS, a lane departure warning system is fitted as standard to this £11,995 runabout which contributes to a good score of 64 per cent in the ‘safety assist’ category.

If this supermini is the small safe car for you, use our car configurator to get a Mazda 2 at a great price.

Audi A3 Sportback – 2014 Euro NCAP five stars

If you’re after more luxury than the pocket-sized Mazda can offer then the 2014 five-star rated Audi A3 could be the car for you. The A3 lacks pelvis protecting airbags but does feature a knee-airbag for the driver which prevents injuries resulting from hitting the steering column in a head-on collision.

The Audi scores the same as the Mazda for child occupant protection (78 per cent) but the safety assists score was higher at 68 per cent. This can be attributed to the fitment of both collision prevention and collision mitigation systems.

Choose your perfect Audi A3 using our car configurator and let the best deals come to you.

Skoda Fabia – 2014 Euro NCAP five stars

The Skoda Fabia received an impressive five-star overall NCAP rating in 2014 and is the first car on our list to achieve above 80 per cent for both adult and child occupant protection.

The Skoda is fitted with a similar system to the Audi A3 in the form of ‘Skoda Multi Collision Brake’ which helps the Fabia to score the highest so far in the safety assist category with an impressive 69 per cent.

If this sounds like the car you’ve been looking for, choose your ideal Skoda Fabia using our car configurator and let the best deals come to you.

Nissan Pulsar – 2014 Euro NCAP five stars

The Nissan Pulsar scored highly for adult and child occupant protection with 84 and 81 per cent respectively. Isofix rear seating and a front-airbag cutoff switch allowing baby carriers to be place in the front passenger seat helped contribute to its five star overall rating.

The Nissan comes with electronic stability control and speed assistance systems as standard, helping it to score a healthy 68 per cent in the safety assist category.

With the carwow car configurator, a new Nissan Pulsar could be waiting for you at a great price.

Hyundai i10 – 2014 Euro NCAP four stars

For a supermini, the Hyundai i10 features a comprehensive collection of airbags. Front, side and head airbags aid driver and passenger protection. A rear Isofix system is also fitted and improves the safety of children using child or booster seats. The i10 scored a very high child occupant safety score of 80 per cent.

The Hyundai scored fewer marks in the ‘Safety Assist’ category – although fitted with stability control, the lack of more advanced systems resulted in a less impressive score of 56 per cent.

We can help you to find a great deal on a new Hyundai i10 using our car configurator.

Toyota Auris – 2013 Euro NCAP five stars

The first car on our list to score more than 90-percent in any category is the Toyota Auris – although, by less stringent 2013 standards. It gets very impressive occupant protection scores of 92 per cent for adults and 84 per cent for children make this practical family hauler a safe bet. Seven airbags including side, chest and knee protection come as standard, as does stability control.

The safety assist score of 68 per cent is very respectable but Toyota offers an additional ‘Safety Sense’ package which includes automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning systems. This £450 extra is certainly something to opt for if safety is your main priority.

If your search for a safe small car is over, put the Toyota Auris into our car configurator and carwow will help you find the best deal.

Peugeot 308 – 2013 Euro NCAP five stars

The Peugeot 308 offers the familiar combination of front, head and chest airbags with Isofix rear seats but, unlike some small family cars, it includes speed monitoring as standard. As a result, the Peugeot scored a very impressive 81 per cent in the safety assist category.

It’s worth considering, however, that these scores were achieved in the less strict 2013 test and may not provide direct comparison with cars tested in more recent years.

If the Peugeot 308 sounds like the car for you, our car configurator will help you find a great deal.

Renault Zoe – 2013 Euro NCAP five stars

The first electric car to feature in our top ten safe small cars is the Renault Zoe. As you might expect from a high-tech electric vehicle, the Renault scored well in the safety assist category (85 per cent) thanks to a combination of stability control and speed assistance systems.

Silent running has proved to be an issue for some electric vehicles, especially in cities, but the Zoe has been designed to emit a noise to warn pedestrians of its approach.  Its 66 per cent pedestrian impact score might not reflect the inclusion of this feature but it does show the depth of consideration given to this futuristic supermini’s safety.

The battery which powers this purely electric vehicle is safely stored in a sealed unit meaning even in the event of a serious collision it is unlikely to present any danger to the driver or passengers.

If a safe, small electric car is what you’re looking for, put the Renault Zoe into our car configurator to get a great deal.

Mazda 3 – 2013 Euro NCAP five stars

The Mazda 3 rounds out our top ten as yet another car to score the full five-star overall safety rating in 2013. Automatic emergency braking allows the Mazda to stop itself at slower speeds combined with traction and stability controls as standard help this practical and well-equipped car to earn an 81 per cent safety assist score.

Its body is strong and Euro NCAP noted that the driver’s knees and legs were well defended in the event of a crash. Standard side impact tests were also well resisted with only the extreme side pole impact test causing any intrusions into the cabin.

If the Mazda 3 is the car for you, our car configurator will help you to get the best deal.

What next?

If any of these cars fit your need for a safe, small vehicle then make sure you check out our car configurator to get the best possible price. If you’re still not sure, then our car chooser or deals page could help you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Hyundai i10

A practical, comfortable city car
£9,795 - £14,325
Read review Compare offers

Renault Zoe

One of the best electric hatchbacks on sale
£22,920 - £31,520
Read review Compare offers

Nissan Pulsar

Small family car is spacious and comfortable
£16,280 - £21,040
Read review Compare offers
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