Which? uses cookies to improve our sites and by continuing you agree to our cookies policy

New BMW 3 Series and Mazda CX-5 ace crash tests

Hyundai and Peugeot also fare well in Euro NCAP

Euro NCAP has just released crash-test results for four popular new cars – and all have claimed its top five-star safety rating. 

In particular, the new BMW 3 Series, Hyundai i30, Mazda CX-5 and Peugeot 208 have all passed the new, more stringent, 2012 standards Euro NCAP has set for pedestrian protection – rules that contributed to the Jeep Compass scoring just two stars in February.

All four cars are fitted with electronic stability control (ESC) as standard, but the video below of the BMW 3 Series shows just what a difference ESC can make in an emergency situation.


Please enable JavaScript to access this content.

New BMW 3 Series

The newly launched 3 Series achieved a commendable 78% in pedestrian protection – a good result for a large car with no ‘active’ bonnet (a bonnet that can deploy upwards to reduce the risk of a pedestrian’s head striking the engine block). And it scored an impressive 95% for adult occupant protection, too. 

The Euro NCAP test showed good protection of the knees and upper legs of both driver and passenger dummies in the front crash. And it scored maximum points in the side barrier test. 

In the more severe side pole impact – designed to mimic crashing into a tree or telegraph pole – the driver’s head and pelvis were well protected, while chest and abdomen protection was adequate.

The 3 Series protects junior occupants quite well (84% for child safety), but one negative point is that the switch to disable the front passenger airbag – allowing a rear-facing child seat to be fitted in the front seat – isn’t standard equipment. You have to pay for it as an option when you order the car new.

Autonomous emergency braking - can help prevent accidents

CX-5 shows the way by offering AEB as standard

The Mazda CX-5 shows the way ahead

The Mazda CX-5 and the BMW 3 Series both offer Autonomous Emergency Braking systems (AEBs). Such systems act independently of the driver to stop the car or to reduce its speed if a collision is imminent. 

If all cars were fitted with such systems, many collisions could be avoided altogether.

On the Mazda, the AEB is standard across the range, whereas it’s an optional extra on the BMW, so wasn’t considered in the 3 Series’ overall score.

Dr Michiel van Ratingen, Secretary General of Euro NCAP said ‘The Mazda CX-5 is a good example for other manufacturers to follow as Euro NCAP intends to assess AEB in future testing procedures.’

Euro NCAP: 15 years of raising safety standards

Since its inception, Euro NCAP has successfully provided a commercial incentive for manufacturers to improve safety. This is demonstrated by all four cars in this batch achieving five stars, despite NCAP’s more stringent 2012 requirements.  

As Euro NCAP approaches its 15th birthday on 13th June, it plans to unveil the next phase of changes, with the aim of raising safety standards even higher. 

Increased focus will be placed on primary safety systems – which help mitigate or even prevent accidents – encouraging manufacturers to develop more innovations like those already proven to work, such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC) and now autonomous emergency braking systems (AEB). 

Watch out for more news on this next month.

More on this…

  • View the full results and videos of the second batch of Euro NCAP tests for 2012
  • Is your child sitting safely? Check out our independent reviews of the best child car seats
  • Read our guide to the best car safety features to look for
Back to top