Fasten your seatbelt for this Euro NCAP bite-size guide.
Fasten your seatbelt for this Euro NCAP bite-size guide. The European New Car Assessment Programme makes it easy for motorists to compare the relative safety performance of modern vehicles. Established in 1997, this independent body is composed of seven European Governments as well as motoring and consumer organisations in every European country.Euro NCAP assess vehicle safety in four key areas. These are adult occupant protection, child occupant, pedestrian safety, and safety assist features such as traction control. The vehicle is awarded a percentage score in each area, which equates to an overall star rating. The safest vehicles, such as the Citroen C4, receive the maximum five stars. However, prior to 2009 vehicles were awarded stars – rather than percentages – for every area except safety assist. Safety ratings are only awarded after a series of crash tests. These include substantial frontal, side, and pole impacts. Euro NCAP also simulate pedestrian strikes - then asses the lower leg, upper leg, and head injuries sustained by the long-suffering crash test dummies. Ratings also take account of how easily and securely child seats can be fitted to the vehicle. So, the assessment process is reassuringly comprehensive. This helps motorists buy with confidence. Manufactures are legally obliged to ensure their vehicles provide motorists and pedestrians with a minimum amount of protection. However, Euro NCAP's highly publicised and influential ratings encourage them to push beyond the legislation. Having the best safety rating in class is clearly a valuable marketing tool. Long live Euro NCAP.