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Family car is a Don’t Buy following crash test concerns

The Hyundai i10 city car performed disappointingly in safety organisation Euro NCAP’s latest crash tests, making it a Which? Don’t Buy

Family car is a Don’t Buy following crash test concerns

The Hyundai i10 received only three stars out of five for safety in official crash tests. We don’t recommend you buy any car that gets such a disappointing score or worse. Below, we round up the top results from safety body Euro NCAP’s latest crash tests, including many family cars – find out which performed the best.

The third-generation Hyundai i10 city car launched this year and competes against rivals including the Volkswagen Up (which is also a Which? Don’t Buy, due to its three-star safety rating).

You might be surprised to see a brand new car scoring only three stars out of five, which highlights how the Hyundai i10 fails to match the safety standards of many modern cars in the latest crash tests (although it’s still legally safe to drive).

Find out below how well other new family cars did in the crash tests, including the all-new Honda e electric car and new Land Rover Defender.


Best cars – our car recommendations take into account safety, reliability and a whole host of other factors from our independent lab tests, so you can be sure you get a car you can count on.


Why the Hyundai i10 is a Don’t Buy car

The Hyundai i10 is a real mixed bag for safety, according to Euro NCAP’s crash tests.

When the car had a frontal collision into an off-centre deforming barrier, the dummy driver’s chest compressed so much it received a shocking ‘weak’ rating.

Also worrying, Euro NCAP even criticised the design of the car’s dashboard, saying it posed serious risks of further injury in the event of a crash.

And it gets worse. As the car collided head-on into a rigid wall, the driver dummy’s pelvis slid completely under the seatbelt – an issue known as ‘submarining’. Euro NCAP had no choice but to lambast protection of the vital abdomen area with the lowest rating of ‘poor’.

It didn’t end there, either. When the Hyundai i10 suffered an impact on the far side to the driver, the dummy driver moved so far across the vehicle that the test result could only be denounced as ‘poor’. The Hyundai i10 lacks central airbags that could otherwise protect the driver from colliding with a front-seat passenger.

To add even further insult to injury,  Euro NCAP noted the Hyundai i10 has a more limited autonomous emergency braking system (this crucial safety system automatically applies the brakes in an emergency) than other small cars, so is less able to reduce the force of collisions.

While the Hyundai i10 performed better in other areas of Euro NCAP’s crash tests, overall the range of issues starkly lays bare a wide range of very serious safety concerns with the car. Euro NCAP’s results show it’s not one you’d want to rely on to give a good chance of protection, whatever crash you might have.

So that’s why we’ve given it a Don’t Buy.

We have just under fifty cars that are rated as Don’t Buys. Discover them all at Which? Don’t Buy cars.

Honda e, £30,160

The all-new Honda e may be the easiest car on the planet to spell, but its simple name represents the entire design philosophy of the car.

It’s a small pure electric vehicle with almost toy car-like looks and Honda’s promise of easy operation – despite featuring all the tech of a modern car. Which is a breath of fresh air among the crowded jungle of SUVS out there.

It’s safe too, although Euro NCAP’s good rating of four stars out of five for the Honda e proves other cars are safer.

The Honda e lacks some more advanced safety tech included in the Honda Jazz, with protection of the driver dummy in one of Euro NCAP’s many crash tests not quite matching great performance in other tests, and excess movement of the dummy across the car from a far-side impact keeping it shy from top marks.

But otherwise it fares remarkably well for what is such a tiny car. There’s no doubt you should feel the car’s on your side in the event of a crash.

Want to learn more about this car? Find out whether our experts think this is the future of green driving in our comprehensive Honda e first look review.

Audi A3 Sportback, £27,215

Easily the German premium brand’s biggest seller, the Audi A3 is a five-door medium hatchback, with a coupé-like tapering roofline towards the back that gives it its ‘Sportback’ tagline.

It’s an excellent five stars out of five for the Audi A3 in Euro NCAP’s crash tests. The new Audi A3 Sportback bears much of the same underpinnings as the Volkswagen Golf, but now features a centre airbag. This gives the driver even more protection (with the Golf already being a five-star car) in the event of a far-side impact to the Audi A3.

Choose this car and you’ll be getting one of the safest on the road.

See all of our expert Audi car reviews.

Kia Sorento, £38,845

Kia’s flagship car, the Sorento, is a huge seven-seater SUV. It may seem expensive for a Kia, but you certainly get a lot for your money, with it offering bags of space and so much equipment it feels like Christmas has come early.

The latest fourth-generation model has been awarded the full five out of five stars from Euro NCAP. A raft of further safety updates from previous models includes Kia’s first centre airbag, to protect the driver and passenger moving too far across the car in side collisions.

We reveal the best large SUVs and 4x4s you can buy.

Land Rover Defender, £42,920

The long-running brand is back after a four-year hiatus, with the new Land Rover Defender pitched more upmarket than its predecessor’s more rugged and utilitarian reputation.

It’s certainly lived up to the name in terms of safety, sailing through Euro NCAP’s crash tests with a five-stars-out-of-five record.

It’s larger and heavier than models of old, and sports the latest safety tech, with the new Defender offering driver-assistance systems to help avoid and reduce the intensity of collisions.

All you need to know about Land Rovers – see should I buy a Land Rover?

Seat Leon, £19,855

Buyers of the new Seat Leon medium hatchback can drive with the pleasure of knowing their car is actually even a touch safer than its sister models, the Audi A3 Sportback (featured above) and the Volkswagen Golf – despite being the cheapest of these three Volkswagen Group cars.

It performs well above what would be necessary to achieve the top five stars out of five score in Euro NCAP’s tests, getting a remarkable 92% rating for how well it protects adults in the car. This is the highest score in Euro NCAP’s latest round of results.

Like the Audi A3 Sportback, the new addition of a centre airbag adds extra protection to prevent those in the front of the car from moving too far across from their seats during a collision.

The Leon’s secret sauce to narrowly beating the also-exceptional A3 Sportback is its even more safety-conscious front-end design for even greater protection for adults in the car.

The results are clear: this is undoubtedly a supremely safe car.

Seat cars may be the sportiest in the VW portfolio, but are they reliable? Find out – we reveal the most reliable cars.

(This story was updated on 8 January 2021 to remove a comparison to the Toyota Aygo, as it was tested under an older, less stringent, Euro NCAP test programme.)

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