Volvo is still safest car to own says NCAP, but Ford is not far behind

For the nth time, Volvo has grabbed the safest car tag from the European NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) based in Brussles, giving it the maximum five-star safety rating this July.
The Volvo XC40 has achieved one of the highest safety ratings NCAP awards to automobiles on the Adult Occupant Protection (AOP) with a score of 97%, the highest in the last three years.
Matthew Avery, Thatcam’s Director of Research said the result is another benchmark car from Volvo. Avery believes the XC40 is built on Volvo’s new small vehicle platform, but there are no signs of compromise on safety, despite the challenges this segment presents to delivering optimal crash protection.
“Not only has the Volvo XC40 registered one of the highest Adult Occupant Protection (AOP) scores of the past three years, but it has done so in Euro NCAP’s toughest tests to date and all in a small package,” Avery explains.
But on the heels of the Volvo XC40 is the Ford Focus. Scoring 85% on the AOP, NCAP says the Focus offers solid performance in the event of a crash. The Focus also achieved an impressive Safety Assist score, getting a high rating for a standard-fit crash avoidance technology.
“The Ford Fiesta was the only car of five launched in 2017 by Ford that achieved more than a three-star Euro NCAP rating. It’s refreshing that Ford has upped its safety game for a likely top 10 seller like the Focus,” Avery reveals.
The Ford Focus, however lost points in the survey when it was found that the vehicle had little protection against whiplash, considering that this is the most common injury sustained during impacts. The average Adult Occupant Protection score across the five cars released by Ford in 2017 was 76%.
The biggest cheer for Ford and Volvo is their developed emphasis on preventing life-threatening collisions with pedestrians and cyclists, via the addition of sophisticated standard-fit Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems.
 “Reducing the number of accidents involving pedestrians and cyclists is a key focus for Euro NCAP. Volvo and Ford should be congratulated for signaling a clear intent to support this aim, by fitting pioneering AEB technology which can handle the unique demands of detecting our most vulnerable road users,” Avery adds.
A new set of criteria were introduced by NACP this 2018. In addition to existing ‘full overlap’ impact scenarios, ‘offset’ collisions were introduced into the Euro NCAP AEB regime for 2018, broadening the scope of testing to encompass more real-world crash situations.
Full overlap refers to all of the front of a car impacting with all of the rear-end of another, while offset scenarios test AEB performance where only a portion of a car’s rear-end becomes a collision threat.
“This year, we have introduced an offset target into AEB testing. We can now assess a wider range of front to rear-end impact scenarios, for example those that occur while navigating a roundabout. In this situation, an early AEB system might assume that a car which is out of alignment will continue to move out of the way and is therefore not a collision threat. It’s a challenging scenario for any AEB system, but both the Ford Focus and Volvo XC40 showed strong performance in the new tests,” the research head explained.