The safest cars these days are very different to those even a few years ago - in fact, even the lowest-rated cars that are available today are many times safer than most vehicles from 20 years ago.
The huge step up in car safety is a relief to today's car buyers - but it can be hard to spot the safest cars out there. With a five-star score from Euro NCAP considered an industry standard, it can start to get confusing as to which models will perform the best in an accident.
However if you dig further into the Euro NCAP scores, you'll find that four aspects of the car are scored: Adult protection, Child protection, Pedestrian safety, and Safety assist systems. We've been through every model tested since 2012 (when a new type of test was introduced) to bring you the cars that scored the highest overall.
In order to test how safe the car is for adults and children, Euro NCAP will put the car through a number of frontal and side-on collisions at various speeds, and see what effect the crashes have on dummies seated in the car.
To record how well the car protects pedestrians, the test involves driving the car at a dummy and seeing how well the car’s structure cushions the impact.
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.