Thanks to huge advances in car safety technology, all cars are ultra-safe these days - at least, compared to what cars were like for most of the 20th century. So whichever model you go for, you can be sure it has plenty to keep you from harm in an accident.
Experts at Euro NCAP examine nearly all new cars for safety, and award each model with a star rating out of five after a series of tests. But with a five-star score from Euro NCAP considered an industry standard, and with many new cars getting the top score, it's interesting to find out which is actually the safest among them.
To find out, you have to dig a bit further into the Euro NCAP categories: Adult protection, Child protection, Pedestrian safety, and Safety assist systems. The test is always being revised, so it's tough to rely on these scores fully, but we've gone through all the results to find the models that scored highest in all of these categories.
The actual crash tests involve some frontal and side-on collisions at various speeds, in order see what effect the crashes have on dummies seated in the car. The dummies have sensors all over them so the experts can measure the impact a crash would have on real adults and children.
Similarly to test pedestrian safety a dummy is hit by the car and measurements are taken to see how kind the car is to real people.
To work out a score in the Safety assist category, the experts look at technology that works to prevent a crash from occurring, rather than protecting those involved during the crash. This includes systems like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) – which prevents a car skidding out of control – and seatbelt reminders, which ensure all occupants are strapped in.
Euro NCAP tests vehicles in a number of categories, including SUVs, city cars, small family cars, small MPVs, Large MPVs, large family cars and even vans. The safest car in the UK, regardless of class, is the Volvo V40 - the only car to average over 90 per cent overall.
1. Safest small family car: Volvo V40
2. Safest small SUV: Vauxhall Mokka
3. Safest executive car: BMW 5 Series
4. Safest large family car: BMW 3 Series
5. Safest small MPV: Citroen C4 Picasso
6. Safest Large SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe
7. Safest Supermini: Renault Clio
8. Safest van: Ford Transit Custom
The only two cars tested in the Large MPVs were the Volkswagen Sharan and SEAT Alhambra, which recieved the same rating for safety. Similarly, the safest car in the City Cars category was the Toyota iQ, but the Volkswagen up!, SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo were marginally behind, and actually scored higher for child safety.