What Car? and Thatcham Research will unveil the safest car launched this year at its annual Car of the Year Awards ceremony in January 2016.
In its second year, the Safety Award will be open only to vehicles achieving five Euro NCAP stars, fitted with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), and available for consumers to buy in the UK from 13 January 2016.
The organisers say the initial long-listed contenders will be assessed against stringent safety factors from the Euro NCAP breakdown, including Adult Occupant Protection, Safety Assist and Child Occupant Protection. Judges will further consider additional safety innovations such as new collision avoidance technologies and pedestrian protection.
The top three cars will be selected by Thatcham Research and an independent panel of safety experts, and announced at the What Car? Car of the Year Awards in London on Wednesday, 13 January 2016.
Matthew Avery, Director of Research at Thatcham Research, said, “Improved protection for drivers and passengers has helped lower the UK’s road death toll significantly over the past 20 years. This year’s long list of contenders shows that active safety systems like AEB, which are proven to reduce accident claims by 38 per cent, are increasingly being fitted as standard. Which is good news for consumers. And means it makes judging more difficult this year.
“From January 2016, Euro NCAP testing will assess the performance of AEB systems in recognising and braking to avoid pedestrians. In 2018 a similar test will be introduced around cyclists. Vehicles that are not effective in these scenarios will find the sought-after 5 star rating increasingly difficult to attain.
“The What Car? Safety Award is a unique way for consumers to select safer cars and identify the best of the best; understanding how they are protected inside the car in the event of a crash; and how accidents can actually be avoided in the first place.”
What Car?’s editorial director, Jim Holder, said: “Safety is one of the key concerns for new car buyers, particularly if the vehicle in question is to be used as the main mode of family transport.
“What Car? believes it important that such a key consideration is reflected in our Car of the Year Awards.
“Not only does the Safety Award highlight the incredible, yet often unsung, work manufacturers do, it also allows us to both commend and encourage it.”
The long list of contenders is: