Understanding the ANCAP Safety Rating, and Which Cars Perform Best

The ANCAP Safety rating is a rating provided by the Australian New-Car Association Program [ANCAP] where it rates cars on a five-star rating basis from 1 to 5 in terms of safety. Cars are tested in purpose-built facilities in order to see how cars perform in scenarios that are designed to simulate what happens in real life. The ratings investigate outcomes for both pedestrians and drivers and passengers, as well as how well a car is able to avoid situations during potential accidents.

The first test results were published in 1993, and in 1997 the Euro NCAP was established, with ANCAP Sometimes using Euro NCAP results to feed into its ratings. The tests can cost a lot of money, and measure the forces involved during crashes, to ascertain the level of injuries that everyone involved in an accident would experience.

Tests in New Zealand and Australia for light commercial vehicles and consumer vehicles are carried out in a centre in Huntingdon, New South Wales. In order to ensure that the cars in the tests have not been altered in any way to change results, ANCAP goes out and finds vehicles themselves to ensure a level playing ground.

The first vehicle to receive a five-star rating was the FG Ford Falcon in 2008. The Toyota Camry, a very popular vehicle, did not receive a five-star rating until 2011.

So, what are the safest cars on the market in New Zealand?

Small Family Cars

The Mercedes-Benz A-class was the Best in Class for small family car safety ratings, based on Euro NCAP in 2018. The car also achieved the highest score overall, signalling that the standard features on the Mercedes-Benz A-class leave it as a very safe car.

Large Family Cars

The Lexus ES was top spot in this class, and it was also noted as the best car in the hybrid and electric niche, being the best car tested in that section.

In the large off-road category, the Hyundai Nexo took top honours, with it being a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle, this was a significant win.

There were new tests introduced in 2018, with a special focus on the protection of vulnerable road users. As safety standards improve with technology, the tests must get tougher and tougher.

Over the coming years, there’s going to be an increased focus on assisted driving systems and automated driving technology. This will change the game and make the safety question as much about the ability to predict and analyse situations as the actual safety outcomes themselves.

Safety is a particular issue in the winter months when the roads get icy and driving conditions are more difficult. A lot of outcomes are down to the way that drivers respond during challenging driving conditions, and human error is the primary factor in the majority of road traffic accidents. Take a look at this article to find out more about how to drive safely even during difficult weather conditions.

With road safety a key issue for both buyers and society, it’s vital that manufacturers are held to account, and that the technology is mobilised in order to make our roads safer, and reduce the harmful effects and injuries during accidental collisions.

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