From hotels and restaurants to kitchen appliances and garden tools, pretty much every product these days comes with a rating, with most of us asking ourselves “has it got five stars?” before parting ways with our hard-earned cash.
And the car industry is no exception - with how a car looks and performs on the road scrutinised as much as it’s resale value and long term affordability.
By far one of the most important ratings score is safety, and rightly so. According to the RAC Foundation, the number of licensed vehicles on our roads has increased in all but one year (1992) since the end of the Second World War, with the number currently standing at almost 39 million.
With increased traffic comes the increased risk of an accident, something that car manufacturers are eager to mitigate against with an ever-expanding range of safety technologies.
These days you’re just as likely to see headlines about the newest sensor-controlled safety feature than you are about how much power a car has. But how do you judge just how safe today's modern cars are?
Who looks after the stars?
In a world where the likes of Amazon, Google and TripAdvisor rule the ratings roost in their own industry, it's the European New Car Assessment Programme - or Euro NCAP for short - that lets drivers know which cars perform well, and which ones don't, in a series of safety tests.
Established in 1997, independent organisation Euro NCAP helped introduce a standardised way of putting cars through their paces for crash-safety.
Since the first Euro NCAP crash tests took place, just over two decades ago, a five-star result has become almost mandatory when a new car is launched in Europe.
How the rating system works
For most drivers, safety is one of the key factors when shopping around for a new car. Certainly the days of manufacturers being able to say “take our word for it” are gone from a safety perspective.
The Euro NCAP purchases cars anonymously and crash-tests them, using the same comprehensive procedures each time, and awards each one a rating out of five stars.
The influence of technology on ratings
Nowadays, it’s common place to see a vehicle fitted with advanced safety equipment. Automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, parking assistance and lane keeping assist are just a few of the ways in which cars are becoming safer.
Manufacturers are constantly developing vehicle safety technology to not only mitigate the impact of a collision but to stop them altogether. It’s something the Euro NCAP rewards, not only in its ratings but in its Advanced Rewards – which are designed to add an extra rubber stamp to show consumers that a car has been able to show a scientifically proven safety benefit.
The safest cars on the market
Based on a five star rating in recent Euro NCAP safety testing. Models with standard safety equipment. Non-standard safety pack models excluded. Go to the Euro NCAP website for the full list of tested cars and their ratings.
BMW 1 Series
BMW 3 Series
Range Rover Evoque
Tesla Model 3
Not every car can be tested by Euro NCAP, so if you don’t see it, it may be the case that it hasn’t been tested yet.
But, for the safety conscious motorist, it could be the first thing they look for. So, when you’re next on the market for a car – or even if you want to see how safe your current set of wheels are – have a glance at the Euro NCAP ratings website - www.euroncap.com
You can read more features like this, and other content, on the Lookers Blog