The latest round of the European New Car Assessment Programme safety tests are in, and if you’re after a small family car there’s some great news.
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It's been a busy month at Euro NCAP, with ten new passenger cars put through rigorous safety tests and collisions.
If you missed out on Euro NCAP to date, it's worth an explanation. New cars are rated against other similar vehicles in the same class for how they survive common collisions (passive safety) and how they help the driver avoid them in the first place (active safety). The tests include battering the cars from 40mph against a offset barrier mimicking a vehicle of the same size, a 30mph side-on crash from the same vehicle, an 18mph sideways attack from a fixed pole representing a street sign and a 25mph collision with a pedestrian.
The tests are scored and weighted, with 50% of the adult safety score, 20% of the child safety and pedestrian safety scores and 10% of the safety assist score making up a car's overall rating.
Nissan Note (supermini) – 4 stars/78%
The Note performed well for adult and child safety, though adult occupants were at marginal risk of upper-leg injury. It didn't do so well in pedestrian safety, with the bonnet leading edge and windscreen corners rating at "poor". A reasonable score in the safety assist category helped it to a solid 4 stars.
BMW i3 (small family) – 4 stars/76%
Like the Note, the new BMW i3 kept its occupants pretty safe but was quite injurious to pedestrians – if you're about to be run over by one, do your best to go through the middle of the windscreen. A surprisingly meagre amount of electronic aids and reminders kept the electric car's score down.
Ford EcoSport (small family) – 4 stars/79%
The EcoSport performed brilliantly in keeping adult occupants safe, but the child safety was more marginal – scoring perfectly in the 1 year old category but less well for older children. It didn't do so well in the pedestrian impact test either and the small list of safety assists prevented it from getting the fifth star.
Peugeot 308 (small family) – 5 stars/83%
No such problem for the 308 which whistled through the adult and child safety tests and racked up 81% in the safety assist category. Pedestrian safety is the only blip in the performance, with the outside edges of the car body and screen performing poorly.
Mazda 3 (small family) – 5 stars/85%
The Mazda 3 managed the best ratings here in the small family category in every test – the 93% in the adult safety result being one of the best ratings in any car tested this year. Like the other small cars, the pedestrian safety was the poorest of its four scores, with the bonnet's leading edge being the biggest culprit.
Also tested and gaining four stars were the Mercedes CITAN and Volkswagen T5 family vans, while there were five star ratings for the Infiniti Q50, Ford Torneo Connect, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV and Maserati Ghibli.