If you are starting to think about choosing a first car, then it can be hard to know where to start. You want a car that you can afford, that is not too expensive to insure as a new or young driver, that is going to be practical for your general needs in terms of passenger and luggage space, and which is going to be easy to drive and maintain. Another factor you may be concerned with is how safe your car is going to be.
For several years now, new cars have been independently tested and awarded what is known as a Euro NCAP safety rating. If you are buying a new or reasonably new car, you should find that it has been rated in this way, and you can use this information to make sure you choose a car that has been shown to perform well in all areas of road safety, including keeping you, your passengers, other road users and pedestrians as safe as possible.
What is Euro NCAP?
Euro NCAP was originally started by the Department of Transport in the UK, but since its inception more and more European governments have joined the scheme. New cars are put forward by their manufacturers to undergo full testing by Euro NCAP, and are awarded safety ratings by the body that consumers can have access to. This kind of testing serves a lot of purposes – on the one hand, it helps people choose safer cars for their families, and on the other, it encourages manufacturers to consider safety prominently in the design of their new vehicles. A good Euro NCAP safety rating is a strong selling point for a new car, especially cars in certain categories such as family cars and people carriers (as people who buy these are usually transporting their children a lot and are very concerned with safety), so a manufacturer who can design their cars to do well in these tests and offer the best in safety is likely to be more successful than one who doesn’t make safety a major priority.
Why is it Different from Safety Legislation?
There is legislation in Europe about the minimum safety standards all new cars must meet before they can be put on the market, and all cars are tested to ensure that they meet these. However, these really are the minimums and so knowing a car has met with them doesn’t tell you if it is any more or less safe than one of its competitors. Euro NCAP testing is much more rigorous and provides metrics about the cars in all different fields of safety which eventually come together to make up the car’s overall rating. These are available to the public, and make for a way people can compare different car options based on the absolute best practices in safety, rather than the basics.
Looking at the Euro NCAP safety ratings of different cars you may be considering buying can help you choose one that performs well in terms of safety, and can also help you narrow down what may well be a rather large shortlist of potential car models!