Previously, cars getting top marks in the tests received a four-star rating. But to encourage car manufacturers to improve safety, Euro NCAP introduced a fifth star. And Max Mosley, chairman of the European New Car Assessment Programme, is confident that more manufacturers will rise to meet the five-star car challenge. “It's clear there is now a wider choice of models offering stronger levels of protection than ever before,” he says.
But UK transport minister David Jamieson is calling on manufacturers to pay more attention to pedestrian safety. “Manufacturers are to be congratulated on their results for occupant protection. However I would like to see manufacturers doing more on pedestrian protection,” he says.
In the latest round of crash tests - which include front and side impact performance as well as the head protection, or 'pole test' - off-roaders were also put through their paces. In these, Euro NCAP awarded four stars to the Honda CR-V and the Range Rover while three stars went to the Jeep Cherokee and Vauxhall Frontera.
Two-seater sports cars were also tested with the Mazda MX-5, Mercedes-Benz SLK and Honda S-2000 all achieving four stars. Other models hitting the four-star mark include the Audi A2, BMW Mini, Vauxhall Corsa, and Volkswagen Polo. Fleet favourites such as the Ford Mondeo, Jaguar X-type, Vauxhall Vectra, and Peugeot 607 also get four stars. Bottom of the class with a three-star rating was the Proton Impian.