Euro NCAP introduced the overall safety rating in 2009, based on assessment in four important areas: Adult protection (for the driver and passenger); Child protection; Pedestrian protection and Safety Assist technologies. The overall star rating was introduced to add more flexibility to the ratings’ scheme, which had been used since 1997.
How To Read The Stars
Euro NCAP has created the five-star safety rating system to help consumers, their families and businesses compare vehicles more easily and to help them identify the safest choice for their needs.
The safety rating is determined from a series of vehicle tests, designed and carried out by Euro NCAP. These tests represent, in a simplified way, important real life accident scenarios that could result in injured or killed car occupants or other road users.
While a safety rating can never fully capture the complexity of the real world, the vehicle improvements and the technology brought the past years about by the application of high safety standards have been shown to deliver a true benefit to consumers in Europe and to society as a whole.
The number of stars reflects how well the car performs in Euro NCAP tests, but it is also influenced by what safety equipment the vehicle manufacturer is offering in each market. So a high number of stars shows not only that the test result was good, but also that safety equipment on the tested model is readily available to all consumers in Europe.
The star rating goes beyond the legal requirements and not all new vehicles need to undergo Euro NCAP tests. A car that just meets the minimum legal demands would not be eligible for any stars. This also means that a car which is rated poorly is not necessarily unsafe, but it is not as safe as its competitors that were rated better.
The five-star safety rating system continuously evolves as older technology matures and new innovations become available. This means that tests are updated regularly, new tests are added to the system and star levels adjusted. For this reason the year of test is vital for a correct interpretation of the car result.
The latest star rating is always the most relevant and comparing results over different years is only valid if the updates to the rating scheme were small. Recently, the inclusion of emerging crash avoidance technology has significantly altered the meaning of the stars.
Cars with Dual Ratings?
From 2016, some cars have two star ratings. One rating is based on a car fitted only with safety equipment which is standard on every variant in the model range throughout EU28. This rating reflects the minimum level of safety you can normally expect from any car sold anywhere in the European Union. All cars assessed by Euro NCAP have this basic safety rating.
The second rating is based on a car with an additional ‘safety pack’, that may be offered as an add-on option to consumers. The additional safety equipment included in a safety pack will boost the car’s safety rating and, therefore, the second star rating demonstrates the safety level that the car can achieve if this additional equipment is included. Not every car has this second star rating, but when available, it helps consumers to easily understand the benefit of additional equipment expressed in extra stars.
The following provides some general guidance as to what safety performance the stars refer to in today’s system:
To check your cars rating or for further information you can visit the Euro N Cap site here.