The Safest Cars of 2021
The developments we’ve seen in modern vehicles over recent years have been remarkable. Enhanced speed, power, range, tech - but perhaps the most critical component of any car is going to be safety.
Cars are one of the most popular modes of transport here in the UK. They’re convenient for most and a necessity for many. But they can come with risks. Safety is one of the most important factors for many when deciding what vehicle to lease or purchase. And luckily, recent history has seen a vast number of cars becoming safer than ever, between more rigorous testing and driving assist or safety tech features becoming standard for many manufacturers.
In this article, we’ll explore the safest cars new to the road in 2021.
How do we know which cars are safe?
Before cars hit the market, a lot of work will go into ensuring that they’re safe to be on the road. This includes crash testing, which in the UK is performed by a number of facilities and organisations. While many of these operate independently, the leading organisation dedicated to car safety in Europe is the Euro NCAP. Over the course of this article, we’ll use Euro NCAP ratings to determine the safest cars out there.
Euro NCAP - the European New Car Assessment Programme - is not compulsory for all new vehicles, nor is it actually capable of assessing every car manufactured. Instead, it selects the most popular or anticipated new models and its subsequent variants, to give consumers insight into its safety.
Working via a five-star rating system, cars are easily comparable. The rating itself is determined by the aforementioned crash tests, which represent various potential accident scenarios. The more stars a car holds, the better, and having a higher number doesn’t only represent the results from the crash tests, but the safety equipment in the car and how readily available this is from its manufacturer across each market.
The rating system measures adult occupant protection (driver and passenger), child occupant protection, vulnerable road user protection, and safety assist (referring to driver-assist and safety tech). The fifth star is for overall safety.
The safest cars to drive in 2021
So far, Euro NCAP ratings in 2021 have produced a selection of six 5-star vehicles. And while no testing simulation can translate 100% accurately into the real world, it’s a solid basis to go by - especially since Euro NCAP updated their crash tests last year to become even more rigorous.
The Polestar 2 has received the highest overall rating on the Euro NAP so far this year, scoring 93% on adult occupant, 89% on child occupant, 80% on vulnerable road user protection, and 86% for safety assist.
Polestar being fairly new to the game, it’s an impressive result with high ratings across every single category - but then, the Polestar 2 is an impressive vehicle, already reportedly one of the best electric cars on the market.
The Genesis G80 also scored consistently well across each category; adult and child occupant ratings are at 91% and 87%, respectively, while achieving 77% in vulnerable road user protection. Particularly impressive are its safety features, which have placed it at the higher end of the safety assist rating with 91%.
Already making waves as one of the best all-electric SUVs on the market, the Volkswagen ID.4 rates high on the Euro NCAP. Scoring 93% for adult occupant, the ID.4 once again hails itself as ideal for families, with a child occupant rating of 89%. Meanwhile, vulnerable road user protection is at a very reasonable 76%, and its array of safety features allow it to reach 85%.
Skoda ENYAQ iV
The Skoda ENYAQ iV comes on top in terms of adult occupant protection with a hefty score of 94% - slightly beating its main competitor on this list, the Volkswagen ID.4, as another electric SUV. Its child occupant rating matches with 89%, which will no doubt relieve any parents tempted by the vehicle. Overall, it’s one of the safest electric SUVs on the market, though it falls a bit behind the ID.4 in terms of vulnerable road user protection (71%), and safety assist (82%).
Another model from Genesis, the GV80, is the third SUV to achieve a 5-star rating. It scores 91% and 87% on adult and child occupant protection, respectively, and its safety assist features are clearly up to standard with an 88% score there. However, it does fall a bit short in terms of vulnerable road user protection, only fairing 66%.
Finally, we’ve got the Cupra Formentor. As above, vulnerable road user protection falls slightly below some of its competitors at 68%. However, in terms of adult and child occupant protection, it scores well: 93% and 88%, similar to some of the higher-rated on the list. Safety assist is very reasonable, too, with a rating of 80%.
What are the top safest cars?
Aside from this year’s ratings, other fairly recent models have stuck out over the years with ultra-impressive scores. The Mazda 3 comes to mind, with an incredible adult occupant rating of 98% - matching only a shortlist of other vehicles with similar scores, like the Volvo V40, Alfa Romeo Giulia, and Volvo XC60. Child occupant protection is also at an excellent 87%, with 81% and 73% for vulnerable road users and safety assist.
The Seat Tarraco and Volkswagen T-Cross also come to mind with 97% scores for adult occupants. The T-Cross also scores well across the board, never dipping below 80 with 86% for child occupant rating, 81% for vulnerable road users, and 80% safety.
Safety is absolutely one of the most important factors to consider when thinking about purchasing, or leasing, a new vehicle. Luckily, there are plenty of options to consider no matter what kind of driver you are to ensure that you feel safe on the road. Meanwhile, organisations like Euro NCAP ensure it’s never been easier to feel confident in the cars you choose. And if you’re currently on the hunt for your next vehicle, be sure to take a look at our range of leasing deals.
What is your dream car?
Leave a comment for your chance to win £20 of High Street Vouchers. Each month we pick our favourite comment from the previous month - get involved for your chance to win...
The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.