These Are the Safest Cars Money Can Buy

Nobody likes crashing but, if you’re going to do it, make sure you’re in one of these…

Safety testing by Euro NCAP has brought about many improvements in crash survivability, with even a low scoring car now being far superior to the best of the 1980s or 90s.

The tests have changed over the years, moving from simple front impact testing to something that encompasses side impacts, pole tests, whiplash measurements, pedestrian safety and even ensuring electronic systems like stability control and autonomous emergency braking work well.

The latest cars are as safe as they’ve ever been and, while you can’t get away from the fact that bigger is often better, you don’t need to spend a fortune to be behind the wheel of one of the safest cars on the road.

To help you on your way, here’s the Top 5 of 2015…

5. Jaguar XF – from £32,300

Adult Occupant: 92% Child Occupant: 84% Pedestrian: 80% Safety Assist: 83%

Jaguar’s newest car jumped close to the top of the list after its launch last year, thanks mainly to near-perfect protection of its adult occupants. While the installed dummies fared well, data also suggested that occupants of different sizes and in different seating positions would be equally well protected. Only the side doors becoming unlatched (but remaining attached and closed) during the side impact test knocked it down.

4. Toyota Avensis – from £18,085

Adult Occupant: 93% Child Occupant: 85% Pedestrian: 78% Safety Assist: 81%

Maximum points scored in the side barrier impact test catapulted the Avensis to fourth, as did good protection in the side pole test. The frontal impact test showed the car performing well, but some high readings on the dummies from deployment of the knee airbag means there’s an increased risk of injury there.

3. Jaguar XE – from £26,990

Adult Occupant: 92% Child Occupant: 82% Pedestrian: 81% Safety Assist: 82%

A second appearance in the top five for Jaguar show’s they’re taking safety seriously, although the fact that the XE shares a lot under the skin with the XF probably helps. The baby Jag scored particularly well in the side impact test, getting maximum points. Autonomous emergency braking at city speeds is fitted as standard, helping to boost the score a little more.

2. Mercedes GLC – from £34,950

Adult Occupant: 95% Child Occupant: 89% Pedestrian: 82% Safety Assist: 71%

If you’re in the passenger seat of the GLC, you can relax – you score a maximum on protection there. In fact you get protected well wherever you sit, with even the driver walking away from the full frontal impact test. Particular praise was heaped on the autonomous braking system that worked very well at low speeds, reducing whiplash injuries by avoiding an accident in the first place.

1. Volvo XC90 – from £46,250

Adult Occupant: 97% Child Occupant: 87% Pedestrian: 72% Safety Assist: 100%

Volvo has always had a reputation for safety, and the XC90 continues in that tradition. Scoring maximum points for active safety, the standard fit autonomous braking brought the two-tonne SUV to a halt before collision at all test speeds. In the event of an impact, front and rear passengers are well protected in all circumstances, no matter your size or seating position. Pedestrians fared a little worse thanks to that bulky front end, although both head and leg protection was good.

Phil Huff

Phil is a motoring writer for print and web, failed racing driver, car hoarder and banger rally competitor. Nominated for the Headline Auto Rising Star award and a MGMW member, Phil freelances for outlets as diverse as Diesel Car magazine, DAD.info and Cambridge Magazine, amongst many others. He also maintains a fleet of unloved motors, but spends most of his time driving an old Corvette.

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