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Focus tops NCAP

The new Ford Focus has been awarded the highest ever score for occupant safety in the latest round of crash tests under the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP).

The Focus achieved five stars for occupant protection and became the first and only car to receive 100% ratings for both offset frontal and side impact test modes and to achieve 100% for child dynamic injury protection for 18-month and three-year-old size crash test dummies. It gained four stars for the recently introduced child protection test, which evaluates manufacturer child seat designs, and two stars for pedestrian protection.

Its rival from Citroen, the C4, also achieved five stars for occupant protection, with four stars for child protection, but beat the Focus for pedestrian protection with three stars out of a possible four.

The results for the SEAT Altea mirrored the C4, with identical star ratings in each of the tests. Other five-star cars included the Citroen C5, which gained the highest ever points total, the Audi A6, BMW 1-series and Volkswagen Touareg.

Results for the Renault Modus, the first small car to achieve five stars, were announced in September.

Cars achieving four stars for occupant protection in the tests included the Skoda Octavia, BMW 5-series, Hyundai Getz and Mazda2, while the Kia Picanto and Fiat Panda each gained three stars, illustrating the difficulty in making smaller cars as safe as larger ones.

While the number of cars achieving five stars was welcomed, Euro NCAP members still urged manufacturers to do more for pedestrian safety.

Transport Minister David Jamieson said: ‘It is encouraging to have two cars achieving three stars for pedestrian protection, although the majority are still only achieving one star. I urge manufacturers to implement improvements in pedestrian protection ahead of the European standards which will take effect in 2005.’

The European Commission has been told that 1,700 fatalities and 42,000 serious injuries to ‘vulnerable road users’ (pedestrians and cyclists) could be prevented each year if manufacturers produced cars compliant with the latest requirements.

Legislation enforcing the changes is being phased in gradually and will not be fully in force until 2010 or beyond.

And discussions are taking place to make the new laws less onerous on carmakers.

  • For a full list of NCAP star ratings, log on to:

    Star chart

    How the cars fared in the NCAP test

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