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Safety body Euro NCAP has praised the safety technology being applied to new electrified cars after giving out top five-star ratings across its latest round of crash tests.

Five new models were tested and only one of them, the Subaru Outback, did not include some form of electrification in its powertrain.

The vehicles ratings published this week covered the new Audi Q4 e-tron, Subaru Outback and Toyota Mirai, all of which are now available in the UK.

Also tested were two new models from China, which will be going on sale in Europe as soon as next year and are expected to make their way to the UK at some point. The Lynk & Co 01 is available as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, while the Nio ES8 is a battery-powered electric vehicle.

High praise for Audi Q4 e-tron, Subaru Outback and Toyota Mirai

Unsurprisingly, the Audi Q4 e-tron EV replicated the top five-star ratings of its Volkswagen Group siblings, the Volkswagen ID.4 and Skoda Enyaq, and achieved similar scores across the board. Meanwhile, the Subaru Outback returned a 95% score in the Safety Assist category, dubbed “outstanding” by testers who highlighted its driver fatigue warning feature (one it shares with the Nio).

Attracting great interest was the Toyota Mirai, one of the first cars that has its electric motor powered by a hydrogen fuel cell rather than a battery pack. There have been some misgivings about the safety of fuel cell vehicles in an accident, as hydrogen is a highly explosive substance – even far more more than petrol.

“With a high-pressure tank storing the hydrogen, safety is of paramount importance and the latest generation Mirai ensures this with a top five-star rating,” Euro NCAP said.

The safety body paid extra attention to the crash and post-crash safety of the Mirai but found that its hydrogen powertrain had no effect on its inherent safety.

Toyota Mirai Euro NCAP front impact
The hydrogen fuel-cell drivetrain of the Toyota Mirai has no effect on its strong safety performance.

Impressive results from latest Chinese models

Lynk & Co is owned by Geely, which also owns Volvo, and the 01 shares its chassis with the Volvo XC40. Crash-testers described the car’s results as “impressive” and added “its 96% score for adult occupant protection, including a maximum score for side impact, stands out.”

The car’s full specification of standard-fit active safety features were also praised.

The Nio ES8 also earned accolades for its active safety, with testers highlighting the “excellent results” for its autonomous emergency braking system. This helped it to earn a 92% score for Safety Assist.

NIO ES8 Euro NCAP side pole
The Nio ES8, seen here in the side-pole test, was also praised for its active safety.

Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said that while some of the wave of new Chinese-built cars heading for Europe were less than transparent in their safety, “Lynk & Co and Nio show that ‘Made in China’ is not any longer a pejorative term when it comes to car safety.

“It’s clear that all manufacturers know that Euro NCAP will hold them to high standards if they want to sell cars in Europe and gratifying that they are prepared to make the investment to get the best safety ratings,” van Ratingen added.

While the drivetrains of these cars are driven by environmental concerns, Von Ratingen said, they also have some of the very latest active safety technology; “This, too, is part of a trend that has been going on for some time and will continue to do so, to save lives on Europe’s roads.

“The manufacturers of these cars don’t ask you to choose between saving the planet or saving your family, and nor should you be asked to,” he added.

The latest from The Car Expert

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.