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Euro NCAP testing: why safe cars are getting even safer
Euro NCAP testing: why safe cars are getting even safer

Later this year, Euro NCAP is introducing even more rigorous safety tests for new vehicles to give consumers enhanced guidance about the collision safety of their cars. We explore the forthcoming changes and how they will further support Subaru’s already exceptional safety record…

Euro NCAP (the European New Car Assessment Programme) isan independent initiative that helps consumers understand and compare the safety performance of new vehicles. By simulating real-world driving scenarios and assessing different accident impacts, testing centres can evaluate the safety performance of different cars.

In each test, a vehicle’s performance is assessed and given a star rating from 1 (poor crash protection) to 5 (good crash protection, plus robust crash avoidance technology). Since 2009, tests have covered four key areas:

  • Adult Occupant Protection (assessing the protection offered to the driver and adult passengers)
  • Child Occupant Protection (assessing the protection offered to babies and children in the car)
  • Pedestrian and Vulnerable Road User Protection (assessing potential injuries to pedestrians and cyclists)
  • Safety Assist (assessing the performance of driver assist technologies)

Constantly evolving safety assessments

The 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating system continuously evolves as new technical innovations become available, so test standards are regularly updated and adjusted each year. This means the year of the NCAP test is significant when interpreting the results – put simply, the most recent test is likely to be the most demanding.

In 2019, Euro NCAP tested 55 cars from 26 different manufacturers, including Subaru, with varying results. Later this year, several new tests spanning crash safety, crash avoidance and post-crash survival will be introduced.

What will the new Euro NCAP tests for 2020 cover?

In Adult Occupant Protection, a new frontal offset test will assess how well a car interacts with the crash test barrier, in addition to how well it protects its occupants. The side barrier impact test will become more severe, with a greater trolley mass hitting the car, and at a higher speed. This test will also assess far-side occupant protection and the interaction between vehicle occupants in such impacts.

For the first time, points will be awarded for post-crash safety, with cars given higher scores for features that allow for the safe and rapid rescue of occupants. The new offset frontal and side barrier impact tests will also influence the dynamic performance of the child dummies and the assessment of Child Occupant Protection.

Impact tests for the assessment of Vulnerable Road User protection remain unchanged. However, additional test scenarios will be run for Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems, including their use during reversing and turning across the path of a pedestrian.

In the Safety Assist test, cars will score points for seatbelt reminders and monitoring systems that detect if a driver is tired or otherwise impaired. The performance of AEB systems with respect to other vehicles will be tested at both low and high speeds.

Subaru: safely leading the way

At Subaru, safety is our priority. We began performing collision tests back in the early 1960s, long before industry-wide crash testing was required. Today all Subaru SUVs, plus Levorg and Impreza, have the maximum 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Our exceptional safety credentials have been recognised with several notable awards. All-new Forester e-BOXER was named ‘Best in Class 2019 in the Small Off-Road/MPV Class’ in the Euro NCAP 2019 safety performance test, achieving outstanding scores in all four assessment areas. It also registered the highest score ever (91%) in its class for Child Occupant Protection.

Subaru’s brand-new Subaru Driver Monitoring System, fitted as standard on Forester e-BOXER, won the Technology Award at the 2020 What Car? Awards, and was described as 'the most advanced of its kind'. In testing, it proved to be more accurate than other manufacturer systems at identifying when concentration was lost.

Forester has also won 4x4 Magazine’s award for ‘Best Small SUV of the Year 2020’. Beating off strong competition, it impressed the judging panel across the board thanks to its comprehensive range of safety technologies, on-road driveability and outstanding off-road capabilities.

In addition, Subaru was voted ‘Best Manufacturer for Safety Features’ in the 2019 Auto Express Driver Power Survey, the UK’s no.1 car ownership poll.

When it comes to leading the way in safety, we’ll always strive to be better where it matters.

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