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Thatcham Research ranks the UK’s safest cars

By Kani Talabani
19 January 2022
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The UK-based organisation Thatcham Research has unveiled a list of five of the UK’s safest cars, categorised by their crash-avoidance systems and occupant protection features.

Thatcham Research is a non-profit organisation that collects data, research and tests car safety and vehicle security systems.The supply of data is then given to insurers to define a car’s insurance grouping.

Chief Research Strategy Officer Matthew Avery, What Car? Consumer Editor Claire Evans, Euro NCAP Secretary General Michiel van Ratingen, and Loughborough University’s Pete Thomas formed the panel of expert judges who selected 2021’s safest cars. 

The five cars listed below were ranked by affordability and the biggest benefits they deliver to road safety:

  • Mercedes-EQ
  • Nissan Qashqai
  • Škoda Enyaq
  • Polestar 2
  • Toyota Yaris Cross

Now considered the UK’s safest cars of 2021, these cars were also favoured for their electric and hybrid models which demonstrated ‘impressive’ safety advancements ahead of the government’s ban on the sale of all combustion engined cars by 2035. 

Matthew Avery stated that all the vehicles were tested by Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) and achieved a four to five star rating overall. Avery added: “As well as the development of active safety technology to help avoid crashes and protect vulnerable road users, we also welcome the continued introduction of passive safety innovations such as centre-airbags, which prevent occupants from colliding into one another during side impacts.”

The What Car? Safety Award, sponsored by Thatcham Research, is in the process of forming a shortlist for their 2022 winner and runners up, who will be announced tomorrow. 

Consumer Editor of What? Car, Claire Evans, comments on the selected nominees: “The Qashqai and Yaris are affordable, popular models that will sell in large numbers and so enhancing road safety for their buyers and other road users. It’s also reassuring to see that specifically designed pure electric models, such as the Enyaq and Polestar 2 have impressive all-round safety credentials.”

A full profile of the UK’s safest cars has been displayed on the Thatcham Research website in their Safety Award page. The most important features listed for each vehicle are the following: adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, vulnerable road user protection and safety assist.


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