What Car? Safety Award 2020

"As our work with Euro NCAP shows, today's new cars provide more protection than ever in the event of a collision. It's also reassuring to see an increasing number of carmakers integrating new active safety technology that is helping to avoid collisions in the first instance. Partnering with the What Car? Safety Award – for the fifth consecutive year – allows us to salute the safest new cars on our roads and help guide the customer towards making safer choices."

Matthew Avery
Director of Research, Thatcham Research
What Car? Safety Award 2020


Which of these cars will be the eventual winner? Read more below, with insights from our director of research Matthew Avery on what makes these cars the safest you can buy


3 Series

“It’s overall 97% rating in the Adult Occupant Protection category is one of the highest of the year. Scored 100% in the pole crash, the most invasive test we have. Strong sales, especially as a fashionable fleet choice mean this car, with its suite of standard-fit crash avoidance technologies, will be a common sight on UK roads. Popular with reviewers, the BMW 3 Series shows that safe cars can be fun to drive too.”



“A really good performer in so many areas. Class-leading safety protection in impacts and some great active safety features, including innovative Driver Monitoring technology which isn’t included in the current Euro NCAP rating, but will be in the future.”



“It’s 99% rating in the Adult Occupant Protection category – maxing out in the Full Frontal, Side impact, Pole crash and AEB City tests – was the highest ever seen in Euro NCAP testing. Class leading active and passive safety, offered in a fashionable crossover package.”



“The first of two Mercedes-Benz cars to feature in the top 10. Typical of the brand’s attention to safety detail, reinforcing its reputation of offering safety as standard across its model range. A great choice for small families.”



“Its 90% average score across all Euro NCAP categories is the best of 2019. A close relative to last year’s What Car? Safety Award winner the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the CLA continues the family tradition of class-leading safety. From a pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians and cyclists in the event of a collision, to one of the best intelligent Speed Assistance Systems tested, this car is a very safe bet.”



“Another Volkswagen group SUV, this time in the large segment. Offers safety at a reasonable price point. Good performance for its driver assistance technologies, with strong AEB and Lane Support System scores. If you’re in the market for a big SUV, this car is one of the safest you can buy.”



“Maximum safety, on a minimal budget. The Škoda Scala shows strong performance across the board – rating highly on passive and active safety protection. One of the safest small cars available in 2019.”


Model 3

“Achieved the highest overall score in Euro NCAP’s Safety Assist category – and by some distance. It scored maximum points in our Lane Support System tests too, showing that a well-designed system can protect motorists without hindering the driving experience.”


Golf 8

“The top selling Volkswagen Golf 8 comes with an admirable number of standard-fit safety technologies, including AEB and a Lane Support System and also some great driving assistant systems including Electronic Lane Keeping.”



“The usual high-performance expected of new Volkswagen cars in impact testing, but also great active safety technology fitted as standard, including a Lane Support System which not only helps to prevent drivers from inadvertently drifting out of lane, but will also intervene in more critical situations.”

"All the cars in this year's shortlist gained four or five stars in What Car? road tests and it's great to see that they're also the top performers in terms of safety. The majority of this year's contenders are also affordable to buy, and that means whichever you choose you can be reassured you're getting one of the safest new cars without breaking the bank."

Claire Evans
Consumer Editor of What Car? Magazine