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The 7 safest cars

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We look at the safest vehicles available on the market at the moment.

Safest cars on the market

The safety of the vehicle you drive is always going to be vital. And for many motorists, particularly those with children, it's a major factor when buying a car.

If you want to know about the safest cars presently available, then take a look at our list to see the best out there.

How we’ve chosen

We’ve chosen the following cars because they’re highly rated by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP). The independent body grants star ratings based on the accomplishments of cars in crash tests.

The top complete score is five stars.The crash tests aim at four essential areas: adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection, and safety assistance systems.

The first three categories assess the car's structure and safety systems, like the airbags. The fourth, safety assist, looks at the usefulness of the kit that’s designed to help evade a collision.

This incorporates electronic stability control, lane departure warning systems, and technology that can activate your brakes automatically.

Safest large SUV: Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90 

Volvo is renowned for the safety of its vehicles, and the ultramodern features it produces to keep people out of harm's way. All that resourcefulness has been put to superb use in the production of the new XC90, which was the safest car in 2015.

It scored 97% in the adult occupant category, 87% in the child occupant category and 100% for its safety assist systems.

Other cars have defeated its 72% result for pedestrian safety, but the large sport utility vehicle (SUV) body style is one of the most difficult for designers.

It's harder to make the shape harmless for pedestrians involved in collisions, compared with smaller motors.

Search for a used Volvo XC90

Safest large family car: Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

Subaru’s Outback is known for being a dependable, robust and relaxed estate car. Its 85% mark for adult protection and 87% result for child safety is extremely respectable.

The Outback delivers good safety in a front-end collision, but it behaves even better in a side-on crash.

Its child protection tally highlights even more how good it is for transporting kids. This is thanks to a passenger airbag that automatically deploys only when a passenger of the right size is in the seat.

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Safest medium family car: Volvo V40

Volvo V40

Sticking with Volvo again, the V40 is one of the safest cars you can presently buy. Because of all its features, the mid-sized family hatchback trounces other similar sized motors examined by Euro NCAP.

Indeed, long before strong government safety regulations started, the Swedish car maker had been at the forefront of safety engineering.

The V40 is confirmation that Volvo continues to be the leader of the safety pack today. It got a 98% rating for adult occupant protection, 75% for children, and achieved 100% in the safety assist category.

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Safest small family car: Nissan Qashqai

Nissan Qashqai

Few cars offer such all-inclusive defence as the Nissan Qashqai. The present model scored full marks for driver protection. Adult passengers are safeguarded nearly as well, securing it a highly regarded 88% result in this category.

The Qashqai also achieved full marks for its protection of an 18-month-old toddler, helping it to an 83% total score for child safety.

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Safest small off-roader: Land Rover Discovery Sport

Land Rover Discovery

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a step up from the Freelander model it superseded, managing to beat its forerunner in numerous areas, including safety.

The Discovery Sport’s best result was 93% for adult occupant protection, but child occupant protection was only slightly behind.

Plus an 82% mark for safety assist was obtained because of the car’s valuable autonomous braking system, which slashes the likelihood and impact of a shunt.

Search for a used Land Rover Discovery Sport

Safest compact crossover: Mercedes-Benz GLA

Mercedes Benz GLA

In spite of being similar to the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the GLA achieved a better score from Euro NCAP, regardless of newer, more rigorous test conditions.

It attained full marks in assessments designed to mimic a side impact. It also scored high marks in all other areas of the adult occupant protection analysis, obtaining a 96% score as a result.

The GLA also achieved 88% for child occupant protection. In this classification, it benefited from two rear ISOFIX child-seat mounting points, and automatic deactivation of the front passenger airbag when a child seat is secured to a further ISOFIX mount.

Search for a used Mercedes-Benz GLA

Safest supermini: Suzuki Vitara

Suzuki Vitara

The 2015 Suzuki Vitara is outstanding – and far more polished than its predecessor. The car is a small SUV, but Euro NCAP has classed the fresh Suzuki Vitara as a supermini, and awarded it five stars for safety.

It rated very well for drive assist technology, but its top rating was because of an exceptional 89% showing in the adult occupant protection category.

It also achieved a fantastic 85% in the child occupant protection tests, and 76% for pedestrian safety.

Search for a used Suzuki Vitara

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