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Euro NCAP Ratings Explained

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Euro NCAP Ratings Explained

As we approach the winter months, road conditions will be getting worse and you may find yourself wondering about car safety. To make it easier for you to get your head around all the information, Pentagon has put together some information on Euro NCAP ratings.

  • The Euro NCAP rating is the safety rating that most drivers will be familiar with. Introduced in 1997, the Euro New Car Assessment Programme compares how cars will react to the same rigorous testing procedures and award them a star rating out of five. The NCAP rating is not a review rating for a car’s comfort or build quality and so such factors are not considered in the testing, the sole focus is on safety and how the car will fare in a collision.
    Not every car will be tested by Euro NCAP. Those that are tested are bought anonymously by the organisation and are run through the tests independent of any input from the manufacturer. The most commonly bought cars tend to be the ones chosen for testing, as there will be the most benefit to drivers from this information; however, governments and other organisations can nominate vehicles they feel warrant testing.

  • In the actual tests, the cars are put through a number of scenarios that mimic real-world crashes and accidents. These tests are;


    What's involved

    Frontal Impact

    A straight-on crash at 40mph

    Car-to-Car Side Impact

    Simulates being side-swiped by another car

    Pole Side Impact

    Simulates hitting a lamp post/tree in a sideways skid

    Pedestrian Protection

    How well pedestrians are protected when hit

    Child Protection Systems

    How well a car accommodates child safety seats


    How well interior features mitigate whiplash risk

    Speed Assistance and Seatbelt Reminders

    Tests the safety reminder systems effectiveness

    Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)

    Tests AEB systems on urban/country roads and motorways

    AEB Vulnerable Road Users

    An extension of the above test that looks at how accurately the car can detect fast-moving cyclists

    Electronic Stability Control

    How well the anti-skid technology works


    The detailed results of these tests are posted on the Euro NCAP website but for easier digestion, the organisation gives each car their overall star rating out of five.

  • The Euro NCAP ratings take the class of the car into account so the ratings for different sized cars may not be directly comparable. The rating for a large SUV may be the same as the rating for a small city car, but the cars would not perform equally in a collision as the heavier car will naturally do more damage to the smaller one. Similarly, as technology progresses cars are getting safer constantly. This means a 5-star rated car from 2005 would not perform the same as a 5-star rated car in 2018; as the technology has improved and the testing criteria has got more stringent, an older car could be rated much lower by modern standards. To help combat this, the Euro NCAP ratings expire after six years. In 2016, a dual rating system was also introduced that allows for a car to be rated for the base model and get a separate rating for specifications that include extra safety features.

    If you have any questions regarding the safety of a car, or would like to start looking for a new safer car, head over to your local Pentagon dealership or call us on 0333 222 0424.

Article by
Jordan Armitage
Jordan Armitage
Digital Marketing Manager at Pentagon Group
2 years ago
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