Euro NCAP’s top scorers with five star results are the Audi Q5, Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20, Kia Soul and Peugeot 3008. Of these, all but the Q5 are superminis or small cars. Another small car, the Suzuki Alto scored three stars, its rating limited by its performance in adult occupant protection, child protection and safety assistance technologies. In response to Euro NCAP’s new rating scheme Suzuki have now made ESC at least optional on all Alto variants. In contrast the Audi Q5, the Kia Soul and the Peugeot 3008 have ESC as standard equipment throughout the model range.
The Honda Jazz (to be launched in India on the 9th of June) and the Hyundai i20 (made in India) showed impressive pedestrian scores that not only meet current requirements, but also meet Euro NCAP’s future requirements. Seats from the Kia Soul achieved a good result in the programme’s whiplash testing, again revealing that it is not only larger or expensive cars that achieve impressive results in safety.
From 2009, Euro NCAP’s new overall rating covers Adult Occupant Protection, Child Occupant Protection, Pedestrian Protection and a new area of assessment: Safety Assist. Under the new testing regime, vehicles are awarded a single overall score from one to five stars. The assessment incorporates all previous aspects and includes the recently introduced Rear Impact (Whiplash) tests. In addition, the availability of ESC and speed limitation devices is considered. The overall rating is based on the car’s performance in each of the four main areas and the scores are weighted with respect to each other. Over the next three years, stricter requirements will be introduced increasing the emphasis on all-round safety performance and demanding higher levels of achievement in each area.