What Is Euro NCAP?

Rebecca Ives

By: Rebecca Ives

Euro NCAP is an independent safety rating system used to help consumers compare vehicles and identify which is the safest choice for them.

In order to rate each vehicle, Euro NCAP carry out a range of simulated ‘real life’ tests to see what results would occur to the vehicles occupants and other road users should an accident occur.

The score given is out of 5 stars and the higher the star rating the better. Not only do the stars indicate how well the car has performed in the Euro NCAP test but it is also influenced by the safety equipment the manufacturer has to offer. The Euro NCAP rating looks beyond the legal requirements and not all new cars need to undergo the tests. If a car just meets the minimum legal standards then it would not be eligible for a star rating. If a car has a lower star rating then this does not mean that it is unsafe but rather there are other cars available that have been rated better.

As safety technologies change the tests and ratings are updated to ensure that they are relevant and up to date.

Since 2016 there are some cars that have two ratings. One rating is regarding the minimum safety level you should expect from a car sold within the European Union. The second rating is regarding any additional ‘add on’ safety options that are available that will increase the cars safety.

The following information is taken from the official Euro NCAP web site and gives you an explanation of what each of the star ratings means:

Whilst it is not possible for Euro NCAP to test every new car or variant released each year, it selects a wide range of popular cars to test. Once a car is nominated for testing it asks the manufacturer to provide information about it including the fitment of safety equipment in Europe.

Euro NCAP need up to 4 cars for assessment. If the car is already available on the market then they do buy them anonymously from a car dealer. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of each car is relayed back to the manufacturers to confirm the details are correct. If the car is not currently available to buy then Euro NCAP visit a manufacturing plant and choose a car at random, alternatively they may pick from a list of VINs provided by the manufacturer.

There are four areas of assessment in the Euro NCAP ratings:

Adult Occupant Protection - determined by frontal impact, side impact and whiplash tests.

Child Occupant Protection – protection offered by child restraint systems in the frontal and side impact test, the cars ability to accommodate child restraints of various sizes and designs and the availability of provisions for safe transport of children in the car.

Pedestrian Protection – tests to the vehicles front end structures to determine the risk of injuries to the pedestrian. Additional points are rewarded if the car features an Autonomous Emergency Braking system (AEB) that recognises pedestrians.

Safety Assist Protection – the testing of driver assist technologies that support safe driving including Electronic Stability Control, Seatbelt Reminders, Speed Assistance, AEB Interurban and Lane Support.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Euro NCAP safety ratings or want to look how you car scores click here.

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