The Ten Safest Cars for 2019

THE WINNER: Mercedes-Benz A-Class

“Top level safety, with the second-lowest price tag in the list. The only car in the top ten to reach 90% in terms of its overall Euro NCAP score. Mercedes has shown that volume sales and market leading safety technology need not be mutually exclusive. It too has a high performing driver assistance system to take some of the burden on long drives, adding to its safety credentials while marking an early step towards automation.”


“The second highest overall Euro NCAP score (87%) in 2018, very good performance in crash testing and the highest score overall (85%) for crash avoidance technology. One of the year’s stand-out performers.”


“The XC40, Volvo’s offering in the burgeoning small SUV market, offers the highest Adult Occupant Protection score (97%) of any car tested last year. It’s Motorway Support System, combining Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Centering to reduce driver fatigue on long journeys, is also very good.”


“Audi has two models in the list, which is testament to the brand’s excellent track record in producing five-star Euro NCAP cars. The Audi A6 has many safety features, including a pop-up bonnet, to protect pedestrians and cyclists in the event of a collision.”


“The Ford Focus has always been a top seller, so the latest version with its standard-fit crash avoidance technology is making UK roads safer in volume. In testing, it’s AEB system performed just as well as some of the more expensive buys in the longlist too. It is also fitted with a class-leading Driver Assistance System, to support steering and braking.


“One of two Electric Vehicles amongst our ten safest cars of the year, successfully allaying concerns around the safety performance of Electric Vehicles. Very high Adult Occupant Protection (94%) and crash avoidance technology (81%) scores too.”


“A Best in Class Euro NCAP winner in the large family car segment, the Lexus ES is another top safety performer from a carmaker with a consistent approach to safety.”


"The Nissan LEAF was the first car to go through Euro NCAP’s updated testing regime and has a cyclist detection and avoidance system to protect vulnerable road users. Another Electric Vehicle in the top ten, offering further reassurance to anyone with concerns about electric battery compromise in crashes.”

LONGLISTED: Peugeot 508

“The second highest Adult Occupant Protection score (96%) of the year, and strong performance across all other judging categories. A very good Speed Assistance System too, along with optimal protection for child passengers in the rear.”


“Every car Volvo has produced has achieved the maximum Euro NCAP rating, and every car has featured at the top end of the Safety Award longlist since it began in 2015. The Volvo V60 / S60 is of course no different, with an Adult Occupant Protection score of 96%.”

Why it had to be the Mercedes-Benz A-Class

Matthew Avery, Director of Research, Thatcham Research:

“The Mercedes-Benz A-Class has the highest overall Euro NCAP score of the year. It aced the AEB Cyclist test, scoring 100%, and achieved an impressive 97% for the system’s ability to detect pedestrians. This high-performance safety technology is available – at no extra cost – on a car with UK sales of more than 43,000. That means it’s delivering real-world safety.”

“It’s Driving Assistant Plus package is also intuitive and easy to use, working quietly in the background to support the driver, without taking too much ownership away. Its ability to identify roundabouts and junctions and slow the car accordingly is also impressive, along with its Active Lane Changing function. Crucially, the system doesn’t disengage should the driver need to take over the steering, continuing to aid in the driving task.”

“It’s a worthy winner of the What Car? Safety Award 2019 – congratulations Mercedes-Benz!”


Steve Huntingford, Editor, What Car?:

“The annual What Car? Car of the Year Awards cover every type of car, but safety is the one category that’s relevant to everyone. It’s therefore particularly exciting to see this award won by a model that millions of British motorists can afford.”