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Euro NCAP announces star performers

Top pick: Honda's Jazz light hatch was the safest supermini tested by Euro NCAP last year, beating out a number of rivals including the Mazda2.

European safety watchdog announces top safety ratings for 2015


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19 Jan 2016

THE European New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) has released its list of the safest vehicles tested in 2015, with European and Japanese car-makers dominating the annual best-in-class list.

Euro NCAP defines the best in class by calculating the weighted sum of the scores in the categories of adult occupant, child occupant and pedestrian safety, as well as safety assist, which is then used as the basis for vehicle comparison.

In the large off-road category, Volvo's new-generation XC90 took top honours, scoring 97 per cent for adult occupancy, 87 per cent for child occupant, 72 per cent for pedestrian and 100 per cent for safety assist – thanks to its long list of active safety features.

The big Volvo – a five-star-rated car in Australia – scored higher than rival Audi's latest Q7 and the new Lexus RX.

The RX has just been awarded a five-star rating by ANCAP, receiving high scores for adult and child occupant protection and its list of standard safety features.

In the small off-road category, Mercedes-Benz hit a high note with its GLC, beating out strong competition from BMW's second-generation X1, the Kia Sportage and mechanically related Hyundai Tucson, and Renault's Kadjar, recording 95 per cent for adult occupant, 89 per cent for child occupant, 82 per cent for pedestrian protection and 71 per cent for safety assist.

Jaguar's well-received XE sedan was the safest car in the large family car category, with the highest marks for pedestrian protection and safety assist against its competitors that included the Audi A4, Skoda Superb, Renault Talisman, Kia Optima and Toyota Avensis.

The Avensis – which is the wagon version of the Toyota Corolla hatch – just topped the XE for adult occupant protection, while the A4 was safer in terms of child occupant protection.

Infiniti's crucial new Q30 hatch – to be launched in Australia in the third quarter – achieved the highest score in the small family car category, largely due to a strong score for pedestrian protection.

The Japanese luxury brand had some stiff competition from Renault's new-gen Megane that had the best adult and child occupant protection, as well as Opel's latest Astra and the Honda HR-V crossover.

In the supermini segment, only two vehicles tested by Euro NCAP last year achieved a five-star rating – the Honda Jazz and the Suzuki Vitara – with the the Jazz named the safest city car.

The Jazz was easily the safest for adult and child occupant protection, but lost points in pedestrian protection and safety assist features. It has a five-star rating in Australia.

The Mazda2 and CX-3, Hyundai i20, Opel Karl and Mini Clubman received a four-star rating in 2015, while the Fiat Panda Cross was a three-star car and Lancia's facelifted Ypsilon could only manage two stars.

Ford's Galaxy was the top-rated large MPV, alongside its smaller S-Max sibling, achieving 87 per cent adult and child occupant protection, and edging out Renault's new Espace.

The Volkswagen Touran was the only five-star-rated small MPV, scoring the highest marks in all four categories to topple its Caddy stablemate and Fiat's 500X crossover.

Not one sportscar could achieve a five-star rating in Europe last year, but Mazda's four-star MX-5 was deemed the safest car in the roadster sport category, scoring high marks for adult occupant and pedestrian protection but losing marks for safety assist technology.

Audi's TT was runner up with four stars, while the BMZ Z4 could manage only three stars, with low scores in all but pedestrian safety.

The Mercedes-Benz GLC, Jaguar XE, Infiniti Q30 and Mazda MX-5 are yet to be tested in Australia, while the Touran and Galaxy are not sold here.

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