Earlier in 2013, the Qoros 3 became the first Chinese car to achieve a top 5-Star safety rating under the Euro NCAP testing system. (Chinese manufacturer Qoros is jointly owned by Israel Corporation and China's Chery.)
According to the Euro NCAP test report, the 3 sedan offered good overall protection, boasting an "extremely robust" safety passenger cell.
A number of other new models were declared top picks in their respective segments, including the Lexus IS 300h ('large family' - medium in Australian classifications), and the Jeep Cherokee (small SUV/4WD), bound for Australia later this year.
Kia's Rondo and the Ford Transit Connect shared equal honours in the 'small MPV' category, and the new Maserati Ghibli took the prize in the 'Executive' category - classed in Australia as the 'large car' segment.
The electric Renault Zoe, a popular sub-light or 'city car' in the European market, was also declared the safest in its class during the 2013 testing programme.
An Australian debut for the Zoe is understood to be under consideration for 2015 - nearly three years after its European debut - but the carmaker has yet to confirm intentions.