Volvo, Volkswagen, Subaru and Opel were the brands lauded by Euro NCAP for achieving Best in Class rankings for safety in 2017. The Volvo XC60 was recognised as the year’s best performer overall, while Volkswagen claimed honours in no fewer than three categories.
Each year, Euro NCAP publishes a list of those cars that have performed best in their respective categories. Star ratings cannot be compared directly between different categories of vehicles, so a ‘Best in Class’ is published showing which vehicles have performed better than their competitors. As the requirements for each star rating become tougher each year, the ‘Best in Class’ comparison is made only within each calendar year so that all vehicles are assessed against the same standards.
For 2017, the following cars achieved Best in Class rankings:-
Executive: VW Arteon
Large Off-Road: Volvo XC60
Small Off-Road: VW T-Roc
Supermini: VW Polo
Small MPV: Opel Crossland X
Small Family Car: Subaru XV and Subaru Impreza
To define the Best in Class, a calculation is made of the weighted sum of the scores in each of the four areas of assessment: Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Pedestrian and Safety Assist. This sum is used as the basis for comparison of the vehicles. Cars qualify for ‘Best in Class’ based only on their rating with standard safety equipment. Additional ratings based on optional equipment are excluded.
Most of the models tested in 2017 were new to the market and most of these achieved the maximum five-star rating which, set against Euro NCAP’s increasingly tough assessment regime, reflects the ever-improving safety of modern vehicles. Older, facelifted models fared less well, their ratings, generally poorer than those of newer cars, reflecting a lack of advanced restraint systems and driver-assistance technologies.
Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP, “Congratulations to Volkswagen! To win best-in-class in three different categories is a great achievement and underlines the company’s commitment to providing the highest levels of safety to its customers. Subaru and Opel are also offering class-leading products while Volvo continues to underline its reputation for safety. More broadly, though, it is encouraging to see so many new cars performing so well in all areas of safety, and being equipped with greater and greater levels of life-saving technology.”
Pedestrian-detecting autobrake systems, first tested by Euro NCAP in 2016, was already available on 82 percent of the cars tested in 2017 and standard equipment on 62 percent of them. Speed assistance was offered on 92 percent of the new cars tested, and was standard equipment on 82 percent. Yet these advancements in driver-assistance technology took nothing away from improvements in crash-protection: 96 percent offered standard two or more seating positions in the car compatible with new i-Size child restraints and 94 percent of new cars now offer rear seat load limiters and belt tensioners as standard.