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Crash tests: how safe are the latest electric, petrol and diesel cars?

Euro NCAP tests the latest SUVs from Kia and Alfa Romeo, the new van-based MPV from Mercedes, and the BMW i4 and Cupra Born electric cars. Discover which are the safest to drive.
Euro NCAP crash test on Cupra Born

The latest Euro NCAP test results are out, with all six cars achieving a solid four stars or more out of five.

The cars on test this month include electric and internal combustion models, spanning a variety of sizes and prices. 

When carrying out its tests, Euro NCAP takes into account factors such as how the car protects its occupants in a crash and the safety-avoidance systems it has.

Autonomous emergency braking (which automatically applies the brakes when it detects a collision is imminent) is particularly important, since avoiding a heavy impact in the first place can be one of the biggest life savers.

Read on to find out how the latest cars from Alfa Romeo, BMW, Cupra, Kia, Mercedes and Toyota performed.

Our rigorous, independent lab and road tests go further than anyone else. Discover the best cars for 2022.

Five stars: Alfa Romeo Tonale (2022-), around £36,000

It’s taken Alfa Romeo a while to enter the popular crossover market, but the Tonale stands out with striking looks and a promise of a 'dynamic' driving experience.

You certainly get the safety credentials you’d expect, with Euro NCAP awarding the car an exceptional five stars out of five. It scores 83% and 85% respectively for protecting adults and children in the car and 67% for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. Its standout result is 85% for its safety assistance systems.

The car's UK launch is due in September 2022. The price has yet to be announced, but its position in the market would suggest around £36,000.

We don't yet have a full review of the Tonale, but you can read the first impressions of car experts in our Alfa Romeo Tonale first drive review.

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Five stars: Cupra Born (2022-), £ 34,715

Cupra Born crash test

Although not quite a household name, Cupra's pointed-triangle badge is slowly becoming a more common sight on UK roads. It’s a premium, performance-focused brand that split off from Seat in 2018.

Some of the brand's cars - such as the Cupra Ateca SUV and Cupra Seat Leon - are premium variants of Seat cars. However, in 2020 Cupra started making its own cars with the Cupra Formentor.

The Cupra Born is an all-electric five-door hatchback, with a claimed driving range of 259 miles (we'll put this claim to the test when the car arrives in our labs).

Despite its modest size, the Cupra Born has excelled in Euro NCAP’s tests, achieving the highest score this month (93%) for protecting adults in the car.

All other scores are also high, with 89% and 73% for protecting children and vulnerable road users respectively, and 80% for its safety assistance systems.

Our professional lab is yet to assess the Cupra Born. In the meantime, check out our Cupra Formentor review.

Looking to go electric? Discover the best electric cars for 2022

Five stars: Kia Sportage (2022-), £27,250

The Kia Sportage continues to be a popular mid-sized SUV for UK buyers, being the fifth bestselling car of the year so far according to industry body the SMMT.

And it’s certainly a great choice as far as safety is concerned – like its predecessor, this latest-generation model gets a perfect five stars out of five from Euro NCAP, with solid scores in all areas.

As a car popular with families, buyers will be particularly pleased to hear that Euro NCAP shows the Sportage is just as strong at protecting children in the car as it is adults.

The latest Kia Sportage is still being put through its paces in our labs, but see if you can grab a great saving with its also-safe predecessor in our Kia Sportage (2016-2021) review.

Five stars: Mercedes-Benz T-Class, around £25,000

The all-new T-Class is aimed at those who prioritise practicality, with huge space for luggage, kids, dogs and whatever else you need to transport. The UK price is yet to be announced, but the European list price of €29,314 equates to just over £25,000.

As well as being practical, it's also one of the safest cars on the road. It not only achieved five-stars in Euro NCAP’s test, but also got the highest overall scores in this month’s testing.

The car scores particularly highly for its safety-assistance systems (90%), while its ability to protect adults and children (91% and 93% respectively) is also outstanding. Its boxy design does slightly impair protecting pedestrians and cyclists, but it still scores a good 69% for protecting these vulnerable road users.

Euro NCAP has also given Mercedes’ Citan Tourer (a larger van) the same five-star rating as part of this assessment, as the cars’ underpinnings are so similar.

While we haven’t reviewed the Mercedes-Benz T-Class yet, we have reviewed its larger sibling – see if Mercedes-Benz makes a hit out of supersize cars in our Mercedes-Benz EQV review.

Four stars: BMW i4 (2022-), £53,480

BMW bills the all-new i4 as its first-ever fully-electric Gran Coupé, combining the stylish looks of a sweeping-back roofline with convenience of a car with four doors.

The i4 performed well in Euro NCAP’s tests, although didn't quite reach top marks with a score of four stars out of five. It matches the Kia Sportage in crash tests for both adults and children in the car, and even scores slightly higher than the Sportage for protecting vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists.

Where it slightly underperforms is with its safety-assistance systems. All these systems work correctly and with no serious issues, but Euro NCAP rated the car’s emergency lane-keeping assistance as ‘marginal’ – this technology gently corrects the vehicle’s path if it is drifting out of lane on a motorway.

The car’s autonomous emergency braking system could also have been better compared to other vehicles, but Euro NCAP still said it performed ‘adequately’ and avoided or mitigated impacts in many scenarios it tested.

Our experts haven’t got their hands on the BMW i4 yet, but they have reviewed BMW’s full-size electric SUV – see how this car performed in our BMW iX review.

Four stars: Toyota Aygo X, £15,405

Despite being small, the four-door Toyota Aygo X has the high driving position that's more commonly found on crossover SUVs.

The tiny size of city cars means they have a particular challenge to perform well in crash tests, so the Aygo X achieving a four-star is no mean feat.

Overall, it scores just a little lower than the Alfa Romeo Tonale, with the Aygo X getting 78% both for protecting adults and children in the car, and 81% for its safety assistance systems.

As you’d hope for a city car, it also comes top in this month’s Euro NCAP results for protecting the vulnerable road users (such as pedestrians and cyclists) that’ll surround it on inner city streets.

The Toyota Aygo X is too new to have gone through our rigorous tests just yet – but you can get our verdict on the standard previous-generation model in our Toyota Aygo (2014-2022) review.

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