Euro NCAP has announced its ‘Best In Class’ choices for 2012, highlighting the European-market models that have tested best in safety over the past year.
Of the 36 Euro-market models tested in 2012, honours went to the Clio, V40, 3 Series, Kuga, Santa Fe, and Ford Transit, while the Fiat 500L and Ford B-MAX shared the crown in Euro NCAP’s ‘Small MPV’ segment.
All category winners had achieved maximum five star ratings, but ‘Best In Class’ considers each model’s individual score against Euro NCAP’s criteria of adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection, and safety assist systems.
Renault’s new fourth-generation Clio light car (launching locally later this year) was the standout performer in Euro NCAP’s ‘Supermini’ class, with the updated-for-2013 Ford Fiesta coming runner-up.
Volvo’s V40 small car (in Australia this month) achieved the highest combined score of any vehicle ever tested by Euro NCAP, securing its top placing for the ‘Small Family’ class.
The V40 came in ahead of the Opel Mokka small crossover, which could join the local range later this year.
BMW’s F30 3 Series midsizer took out the ‘Large Family’ segment ahead of the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid variant sold overseas.
Ford’s second-generation Kuga medium SUV won the ‘Small Off-Road 4x4’ segment ahead of the 2013 Subaru Forester, ahead of the Kuga’s arrival on Australian soil later this year.
Hyundai’s 2013 Santa Fe large SUV was awarded the gong for ‘Large Off-Road 4x4’, bettering the prestigous 2013 Range Rover which will arrive down under this month.
Ford’s Transit van range topped the ‘Business and Family Vans’ segment - a fitting honour for the first van model to be awarded a five star Euro NCAP score.
This year is the first time the Business and Family Vans class has been included in the honours, and the three star-only Fiat Scudo, Citroen Jumpy and Peugeot Expert cousins were placed equal runner-ups.
Despite the impressive safety levels of this year’s winners, Euro NCAP boss Michiel van Ratingen has pointed out that the organisation’s criteria is constantly shifting to recognise the proactive efforts of some manufacturers, and encourage others to occupant safety.
“Through the expansion of our tests and the assessment of important active safety systems, our aim is to inform and allow all road users to benefit from safe cars with advanced systems in the most affordable way, and to contribute in reducing the number of road accidents,” Ratingen said.
Specifically, Euro NCAP added Autonomous Emergency Braking systems to its scoring criteria in mid 2012, and from this year will consider Intelligent Speed Assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control.
Child occupant safety scoring has also been expanded to include an assessment of a vehicle’s ability to accommodate a range of child restraint types.