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Updated: 18 Feb 2020

New Ford car is a Which? Don't Buy due to poor safety

Ford Ka+ Active joins the regular Ford Ka+ as a Don't Buy due to its lack of modern safety systems

Since the Ford Ka+ Active is based on the regular Ka+, it shares its Euro NCAP assessment - this means it scores a poor three stars out of five in safety tests. All cars based on the Ka+ have safety technology that falls behind competitors, as they lack city emergency braking, lane assist tech or a driver's knee airbag.

In one crash assessment, where the Ka+ hits a rigid full-width front barrier, safety concerns were raised for rear passengers. Compression of the chest of the rear adult passenger dummy in Euro NCAP's test was so bad that chest protection was rated as 'poor', and even head protection was rated as 'weak'.

Fortunately, if you're looking for a city-friendly crossover like the Ford Ka+ Active, there are plenty of safer cars to choose from.

We've recently reviewed its stablemate, the Ford Fiesta Active, as well as high-riding models of a whole range of sizes. This includes the Hyundai Tucson and larger family SUVs the Honda CR-V and seven-seat Seat Taracco. One is so good we've made it a Which? Best Buy.

Find out which is the ideal car for you through the links below.

Best cars - go direct to the very best cars that have excelled at our comprehensive lab tests.

Ford Ka+ Active (2018-), £13,450

The Ford Ka+ Active aims to add trendy SUV-looks appeal to the Ford Ka+ city car (both pictured above). The Ka+ Active is sold as a five-door hatchback only, and is a trim option in the Ford Ka+ range.

Compared to the regular Ka+, the Active's ride height has been raised 2.3cm, plus it gets 15-inch alloy wheels and new off-road look body cladding.

Other features Ford includes are rear privacy glass, roof rails, all-weather mats and a unique interior trim pattern and exterior body colour.

There's a choice of two petrol engines and one diesel, with a five-speed manual transmission the only gearbox option.

However, the Ford Ka+, and therefore the Ka+ Active, received a poor three stars out of five for safety in Euro NCAP's crash tests. We take safety seriously so any car that scores three stars or less in Euro NCAP tests gets an automatic Don't Buy from us.

See our comprehensive Ford Ka+ Active (2018-) review.

Ford Fiesta Active (2018-), £17,790

In a complete reverse of fortunes compared to the Ka+ Active, the slightly larger Ford Fiesta Active small five-door hatchback receives a full five stars out of five for safety.

The Fiesta Active's rating in Euro NCAP's crash tests is shared with the regular Ford Fiesta. Could this be a great alternative to the Ford Ka+?

The Ford Active is one of the myriad of trim levels offered in the Ford Fiesta range, aiming to capitalise on the current SUV trend.

The offroad makeover includes widening the wheel track by 1cm and different suspension settings give it a minor rough-road ability, plus a Slippery Drive mode for poor weather conditions.

There are three levels of equipment:

  • Base models come with a 6.5-inch touchscreen.
  • 'B&O Play' spec adds new styling, heated door mirrors, an eight-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, B&O sound system, cruise control and automatic wipers.
  • The top-spec 'X' also has climate control, leather trim, keyless start and a rear-view camera.

There's a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines, plus manual and automatic transmission options.

Is this the ideal, safe small car? Our rigorous lab tests put it through its paces - see our expert Ford Fiesta Active (2018-) review.

Hyundai Tucson (2015-), £20,966

If you're looking for a more practical SUV model, the Hyundai Tucson could be the answer for you. It's a mid-size crossover competing against popular rivals like the Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage.

There's even a choice of all-wheel drive, for those of you who want significant off-road capability.

The Tucson was facelifted last year, adding new styling, updated engines and more safety equipment.

Autonomous emergency braking and lane keep assist tech are now standard across the range, and even more on higher trim levels, including a Driver Attention Alert system on SE Nav trim and upwards.

There's no doubt it's a safe car, with a full five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP.

The 2018 update also added a mild hybrid version, which recuperates energy normally wasted while braking and uses it to aid acceleration, as well as an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission.

In March 2019, Hyundai added a new N Line version with a sportier design, plus suspension and steering upgrades.

But is this a fuel efficient, practical and reliable car that's great to drive? Our experts give the definitive verdict in our extensive Hyundai Tucson (2015-) review.

Honda CR-V (2018-), £25,489

A long-time family favourite, the Honda CR-V large SUV unsurprisingly achieves the full five stars for safety from Euro NCAP.

2018 saw the new Honda CR-V offer a seven-seat option for the first time. In a continued bid to boost space to be even more practical, it's even larger - both wider and longer than the previous version.

With diesel engines falling out of favour with buyers, only petrol power was offered at launch in 2018. Later in February 2019, Honda added a hybrid model (reviewed separately - see our Honda CR-V Hybrid review). This combined a 2.0-litre petrol engine with two electric motors and CVT transmission.

The standard petrol 1.5-litre engine offers either 173hp or 193hp, and both petrol and hybrid can be bought as two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

Our expert tests reveal whether it's economical to run and if there's anything to watch out for - see our exclusive Honda CR-V (2018-) review.

Seat Taracco (2019-), £26,140

If you're looking for a giant large SUV, the seven-seat Seat Taracco is more than 4.7 metres long and offers a huge amount of space. It too has been awarded the full five stars for safety from Euro NCAP.

It sits above the smaller Seat AtecaandArona in Seat's SUV range.

There's a choice of both front-wheel drive and '4Drive' all-wheel-drive configurations. You also get to choose between manual and DSG semi-automatic transmissions.

The entry level petrol engine is a 1.5-litre with 150hp , and there's a more powerful 2.0-litre with 190hp, as well as two diesel options(150hp and 190hp).

A plug-in hybrid version is also promised for 2020.

Lots of equipment comes as standard, including three-zone climate control and parking sensors.

Pique your fancy? See whether this car can edge out the rest in our thorough Seat Taracco (2019-) review.

Mazda 3 (2019-), £20,595

Launching this year, the Mazda 3 medium hatchback has introduced bold styling - with a difference.

Now in its fourth generation, the Mazda 3 aims to be a compelling alternative to the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf, with its low nose, long wheelbase and bulky haunches.

Euro NCAP awarded the Mazda 3 a full five stars in its crash tests.

At launch, it's available with a 122hp 2.0-litre petrol or 116hp 1.8-litre diesel engine, and a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.

All Mazda 3s come tech-packed with a seven-inch colour TFT digital instrument display, plus an 8.8-inch central information screen.

Also standard are automatic wipers, auto LED headlights, rear parking sensors, heated mirrors, traffic sign recognition, automatic cruise control, sat nav and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.

There's even more tech on offer through four more trim levels.

A 179hp SkyActiv-X engine launches in October 2019, promising 30% more power but 20% better fuel consumption. Mazda claims this is due to innovative technology that combusts its fuel without a spark. October 2019 will also see a four-door saloon body style join the existing five-door hatchback.

Does this look like the perfect car for you? Our experts give their detailed initial impressions in our first look Mazda 3 (2019-) review.