The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) is responsible for coordinating independent safety assessments of new vehicles to provide European consumers with a guide to safety, and manufacturers with clear targets.

Active - Passive Safety Testing

Active safety refers to the vehicle systems that dynamically aim to avoid the impact in the first place. Passive safety refers to how the vehicle protects the occupants during an impact. These are the two core components of vehicle safety, with active safety developing rapidly over the past few years.

Active Safety Tests

Active safety technology aims to reduce the severity or completely avoid the crash happening in the first place. Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) is one part of active safety that can brake the vehicle automatically in an emergency situation. Other technologies include Emergency Lane Keep, Speed Assistance Systems and Electronic Stability Control.

Passive Safety Tests

The Euro NCAP programme requires 4 different crash tests; a 64km/h offset frontal impact, a 50km/h full width frontal impact, a 50km/h side impact and a 32km/h pole impact. These tests represent the most common types of accidents that occur on European roads.

Autonomous Driving

The capabilities of an autonomous vehicle are categorised into different levels, from 0-5. Where level 0 means that the driving is in complete control of the entire vehicle at all times, and level 5 refers to a fully-autonomous system that can operate without the ‘driver’ interacting with the vehicle.


The Euro NCAP five-star safety rating system helps consumers and businesses compare vehicles more easily and help them identify the safest choice for their needs.

The safety rating is determined from a series of vehicle tests that represent, in a simplified way, important real-life accident scenarios.  The number of stars reflect how well the car performs in Euro NCAP tests.  A high number of stars shows not only that the test result was good, but also that safety equipment on the tested model is readily available.

The five-star safety rating system continuously evolves as older technology matures and new innovations become available. The tests are updated regularly, new tests added to the system and star levels adjusted. For this reason, the year of test is vital for a correct interpretation of the car result.

To find more information about the latest Euro NCAP safety ratings, please go to Media Centre or

How to buy the safest car possible

Check the Euro NCAP rating

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Thatcham Research has been a Euro NCAP accredited test facility since 2012. Capable of performing a range of highly complex crash test scenarios, including offset frontal impacts, mobile-barrier side impacts and pole side impacts. Thatcham is also fully equipped to carry out the latest Euro NCAP Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) tests, including AEB for pedestrians and cyclists. As well as conducting assessments to the latest NCAP protocols, Thatcham has had a long-standing contribution to the future protocol development.

Euro NCAP not only has some of the highest safety requirements of any safety organisation, it also requires an extremely high level of professionalism and strict adhesion to the protocols. The Euro NCAP accreditation demonstrates that Thatcham is committed to achieving these high standards through all of the testing conducted, whether it is passive of active safety testing.

"Thatcham Research is recognised as a global expert in ADAS technology and testing and is driving Euro NCAP’s testing protocols of the future as we move towards increased assisted and automated driving."

Michiel van Ratingen

Secretary General, Euro NCAP