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10 safest family vehicles in 2024

Car safety is always a hot topic, and that’s especially true when it comes to family cars. After all, when you’re transporting around the most precious things in your life (and yes, we do mean your kids rather than your prized collection of football programmes) you want a car that will keep all of its occupants well-protected. 

Car safety organisation Euro NCAP is the bible when it comes to figuring out the safest cars on sale. Euro NCAP’s test changes so frequently to adapt to the latest tech, that the organisation claims cars from different years can’t be compared to each other - so we’ve limited this list to cars that scored a full five-star rating since 2021. But the safety score is only one part. Our road test team takes careful notes when reviewing cars, focusing on the things Euro NCAP doesn’t test - visibility, the implementation of various safety equipment, and how distracting the car’s technology is on the move. 

Here are our ten safest (and best!) family cars.

Tesla Model Y
2024
Family Values Award
Highly Commended

1. Tesla Model Y

8/10
Tesla Model Y review
Battery range up to 331 miles
Honda Civic
2024
Comfortable Cruiser Award
Highly Commended

2. Honda Civic

9/10
Honda Civic review
Volkswagen Multivan
2024
Adventurer's Choice Award

3. Volkswagen Multivan

8/10
Volkswagen Multivan review
BMW X1

4. BMW X1

8/10
BMW X1 review
Land Rover Discovery Sport

5. Land Rover Discovery Sport

7/10
Land Rover Discovery Sport review
Skoda Octavia

6. Skoda Octavia

8/10
Skoda Octavia review
Battery range up to 49 miles
Kia Sportage

7. Kia Sportage

8/10
Kia Sportage review
Volkswagen ID.Buzz

8. Volkswagen ID Buzz

9/10
Volkswagen ID.Buzz review
Battery range up to 258 miles
SEAT Arona

9. SEAT Arona

8/10
SEAT Arona review
Ford Tourneo Connect

10. Ford Tourneo Connect

7/10
Ford Tourneo Connect review

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Advice about the safest family cars

Safest family vehicles FAQs

Safety is a difficult thing to quantify, though Euro NCAP and crash test organisations like it around the world do their best. A good rule of thumb is that a car with a four- or a five-star rating is plenty safe enough, though every car that’s offered for sale in Europe has to have a certain minimum level of safety before it can be sold.

In fact, compared to the vehicles of say, 20 years ago, there’s no car on sale today that would be considered ‘unsafe’, such are the advancements in crash safety and accident avoidance equipment.

Safety testing organisations use a number of tests to rate car safety. A variety of crash tests are performed, including tests for front impact, side impact, and a side impact into a static object. Dummies inside the car are fitted with load sensors and simulate what would happen to humans in the same scenario, and whether they’d be subjected to dangerous forces.

The cars are then rated for pedestrian safety - with simulated body parts striking the front end - and the seats are tested for whiplash prevention. Organisations also test how effectively child seats can be fitted, and whether their safety systems - such as lane-keeping assist and autonomous emergency braking - works as it should.

Our road testing team takes things further and evaluates whether a car’s features are likely to impact safety in the real world. Awkward switchgear, distracting safety systems and poor visibility are all negative points, while straightforward interiors and unobtrusive safety tech - that you only notice when you actually need it - mark a car out as one we’re more likely to recommend.

All the cars on this list have a full five-star rating from Euro NCAP, and were tested in 2021, 2022 or 2023. You can check Euro NCAP’s website for more information on all the cars the organisation has tested - and we mention a car’s safety score in its in-depth Carwow review, too.

The recommendation for child safety is that they should be in a rear-facing travel seat for as long as possible. Legally, children must use a child car seat until they’re 12 years old or 135cm tall, whichever comes first - but you may prefer to make your own decision based on their comfort after that.

Whatever child seat you use, it’s vital that it’s fitted correctly - preferably using quick-latching ISOFIX points. Many car manufacturers sell child seats specifically designed to be used with that particular model, which can be useful. Remember to belt your child in carefully and to turn off the front airbag if you’re using a rear-facing seat in the front of the car.