Volkswagen tops the crash-test ‘Oscars’

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Volkswagen has won a major accolade for safety, taking half of the best-in-class awards made by crash-test specialist Euro NCAP.

The safety body recorded its busiest-ever year in 2017, conducting crash tests on 69 new cars, from which it was able to declare best performers in six categories. After a difficult year still suffering from fallout resulting from the emissions scandal, Volkswagen will be delighted by best-in-class wins for superminis (Polo), small off-roaders (T-Roc) and executive cars (Arteon).

The German giant could not take the overall best performer award, however, which went to the Volvo XC60 in the large off-road class. Other winners were the Vauxhall Crossland X in the small MPV class, and the Subaru XV/Impreza that took the small family car award.

Facelifts miss out on tech

Euro NCAP’s testers praised the fact that despite increasingly tough testing regimes, most new models to the market – the vast majority of those tested – gained top five-star safety ratings. However the tests also showed an increasing gap to older facelift cars – ratings for these suffered due to their lack of modern safety technology such as driver-assistance systems.

Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen described Volkswagen’s three wins as a great achievement underlining the company’s commitment to providing the highest levels of safety to its customers.

“Subaru and Opel (Vauxhall) are also offering class-leading products while Volvo continues to underline its reputation for safety,” Ratingen said.

“More broadly, though, it is encouraging to see so many new cars performing so well in all areas of safety, and being equipped with greater and greater levels of life-saving technology,” he added.

Highlights from the test regime include the advance of pedestrian-detecting autonomous braking systems. First tested by Euro NCAP in 2016, the technology was available on 82% of the cars tested in 2017 and standard equipment on 62% of them. Similarly speed assistance was offered on 92% of the new cars tested, standard on 82%.

Despite the march of technology traditional crash protection is not being ignored. On 96% of the tested cars standard equipment included two or more seating positions compatible with new i-Size child restraints. Rear seat load limiters and belt tensioners were standard on 94% of the test vehicles..

Volvo XC60 The Car Expert
The Volvo XC60 was the top safety crash-test performer of all…

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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.

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