How car safety rating works

The Euro New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) scores new vehicles in four key areas: adult protection, child protection, pedestrian protection and safety assist (driver assistance and active safety technologies). The system has naturally evolved over the years with the introduction of new tech, first awarding additional points for cars incorporating them into the design, then making the new safety measures a standard part of the NCAP rating.

Adult occupant and pedestrian protection formed the original rating system when Euro NCAP was founded back in 1997, the child occupant safety rating was introduced in 2003, while safety assist only came along in 2009 with the rise of electronic safety systems. These days, new cars are tested for whiplash protection and NCAP also rewards vehicles that are installed with speed-limitation devices and electronic stability control (ESC).

Euro NCAP calculates the final rating for each vehicle by weighing up the results of these four tests, ensuring each area meets its stringent standards and then scoring out of five stars.