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Jamie Gibbs

The 5 safest small family cars you can buy


Safety is one of the most important factors when choosing the right family car. Thankfully, today’s cars offer great protection and plenty of car safety technology.

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Each year, experts at Euro NCAP, Europe’s official car safety test organisation, reveal the safest cars on the market.

Most cars sold in Europe go through stringent test and are given a star rating of one to five.

With this in mind, check out our list of the safest small family cars you can own

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi A3 Sportback e-tron

Audi is recognised for its well-built cars, and the nimble A3 Sportback is yet more proof of that. The car performed incredibly well across all safety tests and was given a five-star rating by Euro NCAP. Crash tests showed that passengers of all sizes are well protected, even those in different seating positions.

The risk of whiplash was also low for both passengers at the front and at the rear. The hybrid Audi A3 comes with plenty of safety features, including electronic stability system, airbags at the front and at the rear, and also on each side of the vehicle.

As an option, you can get an autonomous emergency braking functionality that further reduces the risk of collision.

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

BMW 2 Series Active Tourer

The German-made small family car was last tested in 2014 and received a five-star rating. The car scored maximum points during the child protection tests. Frontal and side collision tests showed incredible levels of safety. Pedestrian safety is also top notch.

The BMW equips an active bonnet which lifts upon collision, providing extra space under the bonnet reducing the risk of further injuries. This way a pedestrian can avoid further injuries caused by the hard elements in the engine compartment.

The BMW 2 Series sports many features that come as a standard – electronic stability control, seatbelt reminder, ISOFIX fittings, and autonomous emergency braking system.

Other features include BMW’s “Drive Assist Plus”, which includes pedestrian and lane departure-warning system, cruise control and traffic-jam assist.

Nissan Pulsar

Nissan Pulsar

Euro NCAP gave the Pulsar a well-deserved five-star rating. When it first joined Nissan’s family, the small Pulsar had to live up to the reputation of the Qashqai. Unsurprisingly, crash tests came back with exceptionally high scores, making it one of the safest family hatchbacks currently on the market.

The Nissan Pulsar performed very well in every test, even during severe side and rear-end collisions. The frugal Nissan appeals to many because of its feature-rich profile.

The car has 360-degree camera view which helps when manoeuvring, the camera also detects moving objects.

It has parking sensors, a blind-spot warning system, lane departure-warning system, ISOFIX child-seat fittings, and emergency braking feature which warns the driver when other cars get too close.

Citroën C4 Cactus

Citroën C4 Cactus

Apart from its unique and stylish look, the French C4 is also a safe hatchback. The experts at Euro NCAP gave it four stars. The car is only lacking sufficient driver assist technology to tip it over the edge and receive five stars.

The Citroën showed high levels of protection in all collision tests, with the cabin remaining stable even in harsh front collision assessments.

If someone rear-ends you, the risk of whiplash injury is low for both passenger at the front and at the back. Pedestrian safety is also decent. Standard features include electronic stability control, seatbelts reminder and speed limiter.

The stylish Cactus also features a park-assist system, rear-view camera, hill-start assist and static cornering lights which give the driver better visibility.

Renault Megane Hatch

Renault Megane Hatch

If you’re looking for a small family car that has decent safety features, is comfortable to drive and is easy on the pocket when it comes to fuel efficiency, then the Megane might be the one for you. The French family motor is a well-balanced car that won’t let you down. It was last tested in 2014 and Euro NCAP game it a four-star rating.

The Renault is simply jam-packed with safety features, with many coming as a standard – cruise control, electronic stability control, six airbags, ISOFIX fittings for child seats, and ABS (anti-lock braking system).

If you want extra safety features, you can opt for Renaults “Visio System” – a high-res camera fitted at the front of the car which warns the driver if they go off course.

The system also controls the car’s headlights, switching to dipped-beam when another vehicle approaches you. In addition, you can get a rear-view camera as well.


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