Euro NCAP, the road safety organisation who test how safe your car is, has announced the safest cars that they tested in 2011 - and theyve included electric vehicles for the first time.
In all they assessed 53 new cars last year and rated them in a number of areas including pedestrian safety and adult and child occupant protection. Of those that they assessed 41 received the maximum five stars, with eleven being awarded four stars. The Dacia Duster, with just three stars, achieved NCAPs poorest result.
The Safest City Car
The safest supermini that NCAP tested in 2011 was the Chevrolet Aveo, a car that the experts rate as economical and a reasonable buy, especially for families given its safety record. Its a might be a bit dull, but for those on a budget its hard to beat.
The Safest Small Car
If you need a bit more space then the Ford Focus is worth considering as it is considered to be the safest car in the Small Family category. The Focus is a brilliant all-rounder that is also an exceptional good car to drive. Euro NCAP also mentioned the significant safety benefits of Fords optional Active City Stop, Driver Alert Forward Alert and Lane Keeping Aid, none of which are currently included in a cars safety rating.
The Safest MPV
If youre looking for a safe MPV then the Mercedes B Class should be on your short-list, being the safest in its class according to NCAP. Reviewers might criticise its handling and point out that its expensive too but there is no safer place to keep your family.
The Safest Large Family Car
In the Large Family category the Volvo V60 came top, as you might expect. It its no one-trick pony though; the experts rate it as a solid, comfortable, and well-equipped family car, although it can be a bit dull to drive.
The Safest 4x4
If you need an element of off-road performance then the Audi Q3 is safe and good to drive according to the experts. It doesnt have a huge amount of space though, a problem that it shares with the runner-up in this category, the BMW X1.
The Safest Electric Car
The Nissan LEAF gained a five-star rating, the first EV to do so. Electric cars are tested in the same way as normal cars but also have the integrity of their battery following a collision.
The Safest Pick-Up
The Ford Ranger is also worth a mention, being the safest pick-up that NCAP has tested. It scored very well in all areas, especially in its ability to protect pedestrians in the event of a collision, an area that NCAP is keen for car manufacturers to improve in
The Mercedes B Class and Volvo V60 were also rewarded for Collision Prevention Assist and City Safety respectively, both of them being Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems (AEB) that intervene if an accident seems likely.