What is EURO NCAP? Car Safety Rating Explained

06th Oct 2023

By Veronica Chiarelli

EURO NCAP Rating Explained

It’s common to stumble across an Euro NCAP review when searching for the reliability of a car’s safety features. Even though, at this point, most people know that the reviews performed by this company are a big deal, and they are a credible source, their origin and what the scores mean are still a mystery to some.

This article explores why Euro NCAP’s reviews and scores should be taken seriously and explain the meaning behind the testing, so you know exactly what they’re for next time you’re searching for a new car.


What is Euro NCAP?

Euro NCAP dummy driver

European New Car Assessment Programme, best known as Euro NCAP, was funded in 1997 aiming to perform independent security tests on new cars which would be translated into a score, so the public could understand how safe the car is.

The company was first established for the UK’s Department for Transport, but was later backed by most European countries. Now, the company provides the most reliable reviews and ratings regarding new vehicles’ safety, and their tests over the years have resulted in improved standards.

With the advance of the internet, it became simpler to watch their tests. They have a YouTube channel where they upload video evidence of every car they test and provide the rating for each of the categories they test.

What is each rating category and what do they mean?

Euro NCAP crash test

Euro NCAP originally started assessing how a vehicle would perform in a crash, taking into account adult occupants, children and pedestrians, by using dummies.

Although having a vehicle tested by NCAP isn't a legal requirement, their reviews have become notorious for their reliability over the years and therefore having a high score from Euro NCAP has been proven to increase sales.

It’s important to keep in mind that the rates vary from zero to five stars, where zero means poor quality and five stars means excellent performance:

Adult Occupant

They assess the safety level by measuring the impact at the front, sides, and rear end of the car. They also evaluate the ease of rescue and extraction.

Child Occupant

The assessment for a child occupant is a bit different. They evaluate the capabilities of the child restrain system and how well the vehicle supports child seats.

Vulnerable Road Users

The main goal of this test is to assess the severity of the injuries that a vulnerable road user, like a pedestrian or cyclist, may suffer from if they were hit by the vehicle, such as to the head, pelvis, and legs.

Safety Assist

This is where they test and rate the technology available in the vehicle to prevent accidents. Features such as emergency braking, speed assistance and occupant monitoring are all evaluated in this category.

Best Rated Cars

People have become more aware of the dangers car accidents can cause. Euro NCAP does an excellent job testing and rating the safety features that vehicles provide for passengers and drivers, and they are very thorough with the evaluation.

Over the past 26 years, they have accumulated a long list of tests so even though they tend to test the most recent vehicles that become available on the market, you can find an extensive list of vehicles that have been tested and rated for over a quarter of a century.

At Evans Halshaw you can find the best rated new and used vehicles. We’ve also put together a list of cars with the best Euro NCAP scores for your reference, and if you’d like more driving advice we have a blog with valuable information that will help you navigate through the car world.