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The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) is a European car safety performance assessment programme founded in 1997 by the Transport Research Laboratorymarker for the UK Department for Transportmarker and now the standard throughout Europe.

History and activities

NCAP is a vehicle safety rating system which originated in the UK but is now backed by the European Commissionmarker, the governments of France, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands and Spain, as well as motoring and consumer organisations in every EU country.

Euro NCAP publishes safety reports on new cars, and awards 'star ratings' based on the performance of the vehicles in a variety of crash tests, including front, side and pole impacts, and impacts with pedestrians. The top overall rating is five stars.

The frontal tests are performed at into an offset deformable barrier of similar mass and structure as the car itself.The side impact tests are performed at , but the side impact pole test is performed at . The pedestrian safety tests are performed at .
Euro NCAP frontal test
Euro NCAP side impact
Euro NCAP pedestrian test
Euro NCAP side impact, pole test

Euro NCAP adopted the rear-impact (whiplash) test as part of its new crash-test regime from January 1 2009. This new rating system also focused more of the overall score on pedestrian protection; Euro NCAP were concerned that car manufacturers were too fixed on occupation safety rather than the safety of those outside the vehicle. Results of the first cars to be tested under the new scheme were released in February 2009.

Over the years, European automakers' cars have become much safer, partly thanks to the Euro NCAP standards. Test results are commonly presented by motor press, and in turn greatly influence consumer demand for a vehicle. One notable example of this is the Rover 100, which after receiving a one-star Adult Occupant Rating in the tests in 1998, suffered from poor sales and was withdrawn from production soon afterwards. BMW's 2007 MINI, for example, had its bonnet (hood) and headlamp fixture changed to meet the latest pedestrian safety requirements.

The Euro NCAP testing is voluntary to the manufacturers but all European cars must meet the requirements as expressed in "Directive[s] of the European Parliamentmarker and Council", and one of these which involves frontal impact is termed Directive 2003/102/EC. It is this directive and its predecessors (dating back to Directive 70/156/EEC, of 1970) and successors which require cars to be designed to meet the safety requirements.

Comparing test results

The Euro NCAP frontal impact tests simulates crashing a car into a another of similar mass and structure. This means that the ratings can only be meaningfully compared between cars of the same type and size. The following structural categories are used:

  • Passenger car
  • MPV
  • Off-roader
  • Roadster
  • Pickup

In each category, cars which are within 150kg of one another are considered comparable.

See also


Safety oganizations


External links

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