THE Volvo XC60 is the safest car money can buy, according to latest crash tests.
The large family SUV scored a full five stars on the Euro NCAP ratings – and nearly hit 100 per cent in two categories.
The £35,000 car was praised for its protection of passengers in a head-on shunt and a classic T-junction smash.
Front and side airbags meant dummies suffered very little impact with the bulky structure of the SUV absorbing the impact.
Passengers were unlikely to suffer whiplash, too, thanks to clever seatbelt tech that stops the neck from snapping forward.
The 98 per cent adult occupant rating topped any other car tested in 2017 and the 87 per cent for child protection was one of the highest on record, too.
The 2017 model is also loaded with safety tech like lane assist and auto emergency braking as standard – and that helps it score 95 per cent in safety assist.
The crash report said: “In both the side barrier test and the more severe side pole impact, protection of critical body areas was good and the XC60 scored maximum points.
“The standard-fit autonomous emergency braking system scored maximum points in tests of its functionality at the low-speeds typical of city driving, with collisions avoided at all test speeds.”
Euro NCAP also revealed the safest cars for each class of car tested in 2017.
Volkswagen claimed three categories with the Arteon (executive), T-Roc (small off-road) and Polo (supermini) topping the charts.
The Vauxhall Crossland X was rated best small MPV while the Subaru XV and Impreza were jointly awarded best small family car.
2017 was the busiest year ever for Euro NCAP as manufacturers rushed to get cars tested under new regulations that require safety tech as standard to get five stars.
Overall average safety scores increased but not all cars tested performed as well as these award winners.
We previously revealed that the Fiat Punto became the first ever car to score zero on its crash test.
The Italian supermini – popular with families and first-time drivers – was slammed for its “unprecedented” poor scores.
Several key airbags were missing, testers struggled to fit modern child seats and there was no safety tech on-board.
Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, said: “Volvo continues to underline its reputation for safety.
“More broadly, though, it is encouraging to see so many new cars performing so well in all areas of safety, and being equipped with greater and greater levels of life-saving technology.”
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB): These systems operate at city and motorway speeds and can detect pedestrians.
Lane Keep Assist: The top ten safest cars of the year all have standard-fit Lane Keep Assist systems.
These systems actively steer away from road edges and lane markings to prevent dangerous ‘run-off road’ and head-on accidents.
“With six per cent of A-Road crashes involving head-on collisions, this should be the next life-saving technology fitted by carmakers who want to signal their intent to prioritise driver safety.
Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC): As with AEB, ACC can use cameras, radar or lidar to determine the gap to the vehicle in front.
Unlike normal cruise control, adaptive systems use the radar (or sometimes camera) to maintain a safe following distance, regardless of the speed set.
Drivers that use ACC have been shown to have fewer collisions since it helps to condition the driver to maintain a safe distance to the car in front.
Blind Spot Indication System (BLIS): Stops drivers moving into the path of an overtaking vehicle that is hidden in the blind spot.
It commonly uses radar, to sense the presence of another vehicle including motorcycles and will give a visual or audible warning – usually a light in the wing mirror or door pillar – to alert the driver.
Some intervene by braking or steering back into lane. While only three per cent of motorway accidents involve one car pulling in front of another, at the high speeds of those roads the consequences can be disastrous.
Cyclist AEB: Vulnerable road users, including cyclists and pedestrians, account for 30 per cent of all fatalities or serious injuries across the EU each year.
The smaller size and more erratic movement of cyclists compared with cars makes them harder for standard AEB systems to track.
As with pedestrian AEB, cyclist detection systems use better sensors and algorithms to detect the presence of cyclists and respond to their movements.
The performance of AEB systems in detecting cyclists is coming into Euro NCAP test protocols from 2018.
Driver Monitoring: Some systems can monitor and in turn warn the driver if they are distracted or have been inattentive for a prolonged period – and some which will pull the car over to the side of the road if the driver has not responded.
Rear Cross Traffic Alert: Monitors an approaching vehicle from the side and warns the driver or applies the brakes to prevent them from reversing from a parking space into the path of another vehicle.
92 injuries occurred in 2016 as a direct result of reversing cars.