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Top safety scores for Lexus, Renault and Volkswagen

Five-star scores for six out of seven cars tested in latest round of Euro NCAP ratings, but four stars for BMW

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Safety body Euro NCAP has announced its first results of 2022, with six of the seven models tested gaining top five-star ratings.

Volkswagen earned three top scores, for the facelifted Polo superini, the all-new Taigo small SUV and the electric ID.5. The new Lexus NX medium SUV also scored five stars, as did the electric Renault Megane E-Tech. Finally, the Ford Tourneo Connect small van-based people carrier picked up a five-star rating.

Euro NCAP pointed out that the results came in the wake of new safety legislation introduced for 2022, focusing on the fitment of active safety technology such as autonomous emergency braking and speed assistance.

Testers praised the recent facelift of the Volkswagen Polo that added new centre airbags and more effective crash-avoidance systems. The Polo had previously been rated five stars back in 2017 and the upgraded facelift model maintains that score under tougher new Euro NCAP tests.

The Volkswagen ID.5 electric crossover, which arrives in the UK shortly, inherits the score of the almost-identical ID.4 tested last year. In a similar vein, the Ford Tourneo Connect inherits its five-star rating from the Volkswagen Caddy upon which it’s based.

The new electric Renault Megane E-Tech, which will arrive in the UK to replace the conventional Megane hatchback later this year, also earned praise for its improved body construction, restraint systems and driver assistance systems. It’s a welcome improvement for Renault, which was sharply criticised by Euro NCAP and other safety bodies in recent months for a run of poor scores for Renault and Dacia models, most notably a woeful zero-star score for the popular Renault Zoe.

Matthew Avery, chief research strategy officer for the UK’s Thatcham Research, a Euro NCAP member organisation, said: “It’s also good to see a return to five-star form for Renault. The Megane E-Tech has high levels of all-round safety and an especially good child occupant score of 88% – making it a great EV choice for families.”

Although it also earned a five-star rating, the Lexus NX also received an unusual ticking-off from Euro NCAP for a lack of technical information its engineers shared with Euro NCAP. The safety body commented that this lack of co-operation left “a careless impression that is atypical for a Toyota brand.”

The NX shares much of its structure and mechanical componentry with the Toyota RAV4, which suggests that its Euro NCAP certification could have been much simpler if Lexus had provided the necessary information.

The BMW 2 Series Coupé was the only car in this round of testing that failed to secure a maximum five-star score. It was awarded four stars, marked down for its autonomous emergency braking. Testers concluded that it performed adequately in safety scenarios involving other cars and pedestrians, but was limited in more challenging situations such as cyclists crossing or turning across the path of the car.

Testers added, however, that the BMW offers good crash protection to occupants and satisfactory protection to vulnerable road users, describing its four-star rating as “creditable.”

Euro NCAP Secretary General, Michiel van Ratingen, commented that while it was good to start the year with some high-performing cars, the next ten years will bring huge challenges, with assisted and automated driving very much at the forefront of the changes ahead.

“Our focus on ADAS – advanced driver assistance systems – over the last ten years or so makes us well-placed to rate these new aspects of vehicle technology and to continue to provide key information to car buyers in the future,” van Ratingen added.  

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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.