A new round of testing by Euro NCAP has seen 5-Star ratings awarded to the new BMW X3, the Chevrolet Aveo, the Citroen DS5, Hyundai's i40, the Opel Ampera, and Volkswagen's new Golf Cabrio and Jetta models.
With all of the tested cars either Australia-bound or already on sale, the results offer an important preview of the likely ANCAP safety ratings that Australian buyers can expect for each model.
Motorists should be mindful however that with specifications varying between Europe and Australia, local scores may vary.
The Chevrolet Aveo - scheduled for an Australian debut as the new Holden Barina - topped the testing with a score of 329 - 20 points more than its nearest rival, Citroen's sleek new high-riding DS5.
The Aveo's score, if carried over to the equivalent ANCAP system in Australia when the new Barina arrives, will mark a step up from the current model's 4-Star rating.
Citroen's DS5 took top points for its driver safety assist technology, and the Hyundai i40 and Volkswagen Jetta both impressed with their pedestrian safety designs.
Volkswagen's Golf Cabriolet continued the 5-Star rating of its hardtop sibling, achieving top results for adult passenger safety.
Opel's Ampera, the European version of the Chevrolet Volt that will come to Australia next year with a Holden badge, also landed a 5-Star safety rating.
BMW's new X3, already on sale in Australia, achieved top marks in the Euro NCAP tests, earning an "Outstanding" rating for its active safety features, including its Dynamic Stability Control system.
Just outside the top-scoring group was the new Kia Rio, which hits Australian showrooms next month. Lacking an ESC system in its basic specification - the spec tested by Euro NCAP - the European-market Rio achieved a 4-Star score only.
“Proven safety benefits of ESC resulted in new legislation requiring the technology to be fitted as standard on all new models in Europe as of next year," Euro NCAP Secretary General Michiel van Ratingen said.
“In 2011, consumers should expect this critical safety equipment to be part of any offering regardless of car size or price.”
In Australia, as in the UK, the new Rio will be offered with electronic stability control standard across the range; mandatory to achieve a 5-Star ANCAP rating.