Advances in car safety technology, as well as legislation on all new cars, means that any car you buy new today will be many times safer than one you might have bought 20 years ago.
Many of the most significant models on the market are tested by Euro NCAP for safety, and thanks to the handy star ratings the body awards it's easy to see how safe your choice of car is. However, a five-star score from Euro NCAP is now considered an industry standard - and with so many cars getting the top score, how can you know which ones are the safest?
We've dug further into the ratings to bring you this list, which is based on four safety categories tested by Euro NCAP: Adult protection, Child protection, Pedestrian safety, and Safety assist systems. New types of test are being introduced all the time thanks to safety improvements, so we've stuck with the most recent tests that use these four metrics.
The Euro NCAP tests include a number of frontal and side-on collisions at various speeds, in order see what effect the crashes have on dummies seated in the car. These dummies represent both adults and children in different seats and help the experts determine how a real person would fare in a crash.
It's a similar story when finding out the pedestrian safety rating: the testers simply hit a dummy with the car and see 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.