Advances in safety standards have made the latest generation of cars the best yet, but there are still big differences between the best and worst. Fingers crossed you won’t put your next car to the ultimate safety test, but if you are involved in a serious accident your choice of vehicle could have serious consequences.
Luckily the experts at Euro NCAP put the most important new cars to the test and it has just identified the safest cars tested in 2012 across a variety of market segments. It rated 36 new cars during this period and while slow motion footage of vehicles ploughing into stationary objects usually gets all of the attention when a car performs especially well or badly, there’s more to modern crash safety than simply withstanding an impact.
Euro NCAP also looks at the safety systems fitted to cars that are designed to prevent accidents from happening in the first place, such as electronic stability control (ESP). It also takes into account those that are supposed to mitigate the effects if the worst does happen, like seatbelt reminders. It rates the latest cars for adult, child and pedestrian safety, and adds a Safety Assist score to help buyers make an informed decision on the car they buy.
You can’t put a price on safety, but as this list shows, you don’t have to break the bank to get a safety-conscious car on your driveway. Here we rank Euro NCAP’s 2012 class-leaders by adding up their percentage scores in each of the four disciplines and calculating their overall score. Few car buyers are able to put safety first, though, so keep looking down the list until you find a car that fits the bill in terms of size and cost and you’ll have the safest new car of 2012, for you.