Any - NCAP - argybargy

Perhaps I haven't been paying attention, but when folks ask for recommendations, I don't often see any reference to the safety of the cars suggested by our experts; in particular the NCAP ratings.

OK-- not, perhaps so relevant for older cars, but should safety not form part of any buyer's decision making? Do we not bother because the majority of cars are safe nowadays, and there's little to be gained by making comparisons?

Or is it the forum's opinion that, as suggested elsewhere, "you can lead a car-buying horse to water, but if its already decided to drink from a muddy puddle there's little point in going into too much detail about the cleanliness of the stream."

Edited by argybargy on 30/09/2017 at 12:03

Any - NCAP - RT

I'd suggest that the difference between 4* and 5* is a "nice-to-have" for most car buyers, with many other factors ranking higher.

As I understand it, NCAP only test with standard specification - so anyone buying a higher trim model with more safety equipment or adding safety options will improve their effective NCAP rating unofficially.

The 1st generation VW Touareg was NCAP tested in 2004, based on its standards of the time - the 2nd generation hasn't been tested - I ordered mine with an additional airbag pack, covering front driver/passenger knees and rear passengers' side impact - all the other airbags being standard.

Over the decades, NCAP has driven up car occupant safety to a very high level and is now ramping up pedestrian protection standards

Any - NCAP - RobJP

However, it's almost now starting to become a problem - especially with the pedestrian safety.

As an example : lots of new cars now come with 'pop-up' bonnets, which, in the event of an impact on the front bumper, assume it's going to be a pedestrian, so pyrotechnic charges fire, and 'pop-up' the bonnet with airbags so that any impact with the bonnet (for example, a head striking it) is less likely to deform the bonnet enough to cause serious head injuries by impacting onto the engine underneath.

The airbag inflators, however, are horrendously expensive, and often only available from main dealers. Leading to more cars being written off as too expensive to repair.

I posted on just such a case a few weeks ago.

Add this to the 'city safe' cases where the systems have 'detected' an imminent impact where nothing is there, and jammed on the brakes, causing the car behind to run into the back of a car (yes, technically we all know there should be a big enough gap, but people aren't perfect in reaction speed), and you're a long way from perfect, in spite of all the aspirations.

Any - NCAP - SLO76
Most modern cars have pretty high levels of crash safety but since these tests are based on new cars the one thing not mentioned in NCAP ratings is the safety factor that reliability brings. With a budget of say £3,000 you could buy a BMW 525d which would be a very safe place to be in an impact but the likelihood of it suddenly losing all power on the outside lane of the motorway or stranding you halfway round a corner on a twisty B road is vastly higher than the much more reliable petrol engines Honda Civic or Mazda 3 the same money would also buy you.

Standards are upgraded every year too so a car that may have scored four stars in 2010 if tested now may only gain two stars. So again you can see it's pretty much useless as a measure of a used cars safety unless you're looking at cars which were tested in the same year. A better way to grade cars would be to have an unlimited number of stars so that as car safety improves they score higher and higher then you could compare a car from 2010 with one from 2017. Currently both may be rated 4 star but would be massively different in a crash. The newer safer car should be 5 or 6 star.

Edited by SLO76 on 30/09/2017 at 14:46

Any - NCAP - John Boy

In this connection it can be quite instructive to type the following into Google - "crashed make model photos".

Any - NCAP - argybargy
Most modern cars have pretty high levels of crash safety but since these tests are based on new cars the one thing not mentioned in NCAP ratings is the safety factor that reliability brings. With a budget of say £3,000 you could buy a BMW 525d which would be a very safe place to be in an impact but the likelihood of it suddenly losing all power on the outside lane of the motorway or stranding you halfway round a corner on a twisty B road is vastly higher than the much more reliable petrol engines Honda Civic or Mazda 3 the same money would also buy you. Standards are upgraded every year too so a car that may have scored four stars in 2010 if tested now may only gain two stars. So again you can see it's pretty much useless as a measure of a used cars safety unless you're looking at cars which were tested in the same year. A better way to grade cars would be to have an unlimited number of stars so that as car safety improves they score higher and higher then you could compare a car from 2010 with one from 2017. Currently both may be rated 4 star but would be massively different in a crash. The newer safer car should be 5 or 6 star.

Another thought provoking response, SLO, stuffed full of things that I, for one, didn't know. Thanks for that.

Any - NCAP - badbusdriver

That's a very interesting, and relevant point SLO, and something I'd never really thought of. My own particular thoughts on the subject of car safety is regarding how little consideration or assessment is given over to a car's ability to avoid an accident in the first place, i.e, being light and nimble with a low centre of gravity.

It's definitely the case that cars are much safer than they used to be, but it still pays to have a look on the euro ncap website to compare any cars you may be interested in. For example, the dacia duster is a very popular and cheap SUV, but it's results are some way short of something like a renault captur. Same goes for the ssangyong tivoli. I guess that is one reason why they are relatively cheap.

When I told my youngest son that our next car was to be the honda jazz he said that they had been watching a video clip at school comparing the crash test of the jazz to the rover 100. So he know that it is an extremely safe little car, but also suggested I see if I can find and watch the clip myself. I found it easily enough and the results for the rover were absolutely terrifying!. It is well worth a look if you are interested, and shows, in no uncertain terms, just how far car safety has come on in the last couple of decades.

 

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