The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) has bestowed three cars with the ‘Best in Class’ award for performing best in their respective categories. In 2016, the Toyota Prius won the honour in the ‘Large Family Car’ category; the Hyundai Ioniq in the ‘Small Family Car’ category; and the VW Tiguan in the ‘Small Off-Roader’ category.

This year, the safety testing was further expanded to include autonomous emergency braking (AEB) technology for pedestrians. The safety assessment programme also introduced a ‘dual rating’ system, where in addition to a star rating (one to five) indicating the safety of a car with only standard safety equipment, a second rating highlights the benefits of optional safety equipment.

The scheme was used for competitive segments (superminis, small family cars and pick-ups) where affordability meant some trim levels would miss out on advanced driver assistance technologies. The second rating therefore is method to “encourage broader fitment of these systems across all types of vehicles,” according to Euro NCAP.

However, the ‘Best in Class’ award is based only on cars with standard safety equipment, calculating the weighted sum of the scores in each of the four areas of assessment: adult occupant, child occupant, pedestrian and safety assist. On a side note, the W213 Mercedes-Benz E-Class performed well but because it was the only car tested in the ‘Executive Car’ category, it cannot be awarded ‘Best in Class’.

Focusing on the winners, the fourth-generation Prius was the first car to undergo the updated testing regime, where its Toyota Safety Sense suite performed admirably, managing to recognise and avoid or mitigate potential crashes with pedestrians. In numbers, the Prius managed to score 92% in the adult occupant test, 82% in the child occupant test, 77% in the pedestrian test and 85% in safety assist.

Meanwhile, the Ioniq scored 91% in the adult occupant test, 80% in the child occupant test, 70% in the pedestrian test and 82% in safety assist. Launched recently in Malaysia as a hybrid, the Ioniq in its range-topping HEV Plus guise gets a comprehensive safety suite, including AEB, Lane Keep Assist, Blind Spot Monitor as well as Smart Cruise Control.

Finally, the Volkswagen Tiguan tested in June this year, won the award in the ‘Small Off-Roader’ category by scoring 96% in the adult occupant test, 84% in the child occupant test, 72% in the pedestrian test and 68% in safety assist. Standard safety equipment on the European-spec Tiguan include AEB (city and inter-urban), seven airbags, as well as a lane assist system.

The second-generation SUV was spotted in Malaysia recently, and could be a locally assembled model from Pekan, Pahang. Riding on the VW Group’s MQB platform, the Tiguan may be significantly larger than its predecessor but it is also up to 50 kg lighter as well.

Toyota Prius

Hyundai Ioniq
Volkswagen Tiguan