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Family car manufacturers lead the way in prioritising safety, says Euro NCAP

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New cars that will appeal to family-oriented buyers are leading the way in prioritising the highest levels of safety as standard, according to test results issued today by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP).

The new Renault Scenic, available in the UK later this year, achieves a five-star Euro NCAP rating, with its advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) key in gaining the top score.

The Scenic has a full suite of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) technology as standard across every model and trim in the range.

This means that City AEB is operating in lower speed conditions to prevent crashes and Inter-Urban AEB is working at higher speeds to give additional protection.

The vehicle is also equipped with pedestrian protection AEB, which improves the safety of vulnerable road users by detecting their presence and braking automatically if a collision is likely because a driver has not seen them.

Andrew Miller, chief technical officer at Thatcham Research and current Euro NCAP president and chairman of the board, said: “Pedestrian AEB testing was introduced into the Euro NCAP tests in 2016 as part of a drive to lower the number people killed or seriously injured in the UK as a result of collision with a vehicle.

“The fact that the new Scenic is equipped with the technology as part of its AEB functionality is an indication that car makers are responding to the growing pressure on them to consider all road users, not just vehicle occupants.”

More than 5,000 people are killed or seriously injured every year on UK roads and a reduction in this number would be a very significant benefit of all new cars having AEB fitted as standard.

Peter Shaw, chief executive of Thatcham Research, said: “AEB is a proven life-saver that significantly reduces the likelihood of a crash.

“Having AEB technology on every model of every new car should now be standard practice for car makers. Renault is to be applauded for recognising this as the responsible course of action.”

Buyers looking at cars that traditionally appeal to family oriented drivers now have an improved choice of vehicles with a top Euro NCAP score and high level of safety as standard.

The  Scenic is a clear leader in the small MPV market on standard fitment of AEB, ahead of other vehicles such as Volkswagen Touran that have the same safety rating but offer AEB on some trim levels only as an option.

Euro NCAP’s small off-road 4x4 (SUV) category includes two recently-launched five-star vehicles that perform strongly on active safety feature fitment, the Volkswagen Tiguan and the Seat Ateca.

Kia’s new Niro crossover gained a five-star Euro NCAP rating when fitted with the optional safety pack, but only the top-of-the-range First Edition model has AEB.

AEB is available on 63% of new cars launched this year, compared to the average of 48% availability across all new cars on sale in the UK.

Latest Euro NCAP test results

The Renault Scenic and the Subaru Levorg, both equipped as standard with AEB, achieved maximum five-star ratings. 

Kia and Toyota opted for dual ratings for their cars, with AEB as part of an optional safety pack:  the Kia Niro gets four stars with standard equipment and five with the option pack; and Toyota’s new Hilux gets a three-star rating with standard equipment and five with the pack.

The Hilux and Niro were tested under Euro NCAP’s new ‘Dual Rating’ system, which means that the default rating is based on standard safety equipment available throughout the range.

Additional tests are done to determine what the result would be when an optional safety pack is fitted.

Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, said, “It is always good to see safety equipment being fitted as standard, and Renault and Subaru deservedly get top safety ratings for their cars.

"The fact that Toyota are making advanced safety technologies available on pickups, even if only an option at this stage, shows that the Dual Rating scheme is a great way to encourage broader fitment of these systems across all types of vehicles.”

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