Euro NCAP Safety Test Updates: What Are They?

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The Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) introduces tougher crash tests for vehicles every two years. This year the focus is on how cars perform post-crash, particularly after a side impact.

So what do the updates look like? And what will they mean for the renowned star safety ratings we rely on when judging how safe each car is?

Discover everything you need to know about the new car safety tests in this article.

Key changes to the Euro NCAP test

NCAP crash test
Image courtesy of Euro NCAP.

According to a press release by Euro NCAP, the new tests are being introduced “to address some longstanding needs in occupant protection and promote the latest advanced driver assistance technology.”

In other words, the old tests which mainly used static barriers (mostly for frontal crashes) will be updated. Instead, more moving barriers will be used to replicate head-on collisions – the type of accidents responsible for the most deaths and serious injuries.

Here’s a look at how the test is changing.

Moving barrier added for frontal crash test

Known as the ‘Mobile Progressive Deformable Barrier’, this will imitate the impact of an oncoming car.

It moves at 31mph (the same speed as the car) and weighs 1400kg (about the same weight as a Volkswagen Golf).

According to data from Euro NCAP, most head-on collisions happen whereby both cars are offset. For this reason, 50% of the test car’s front width will collide with 50% of the barrier’s front width.

The aim is to test passenger protection in these areas:

  • Front crumple zone – this must collapse in a “controlled way” so that the passenger area is as undeformed as possible.
  • Absorbing forces safely – for better compatibility, cars must be able to direct crash forces to parts of the car where energy can be absorbed safely.
  • Limited pedal and steering wheel movement – to avoid serious injury when the frontal collision happens.

Advanced dummies

“THOR-50M” (Test device for Human Occupant Restraint) is the name given to what is apparently the world’s most advanced crash test dummy.

Euro NCAP will introduce the ‘mid-size male’ to the new tests, where it will predominantly be in the driver’s seat. Unlike older dummies, THOR is highly sophisticated and sensitive so that risks of head, neck, chest and abdominal injuries are more accurate.

Higher speed and more mass for side impact test

Side impacts are the second most likely type of crash to cause death or serious injury, according to Euro NCAP.

To ensure manufacturers are doing all they can to help mitigate the fatality of these collisions, the new near-side barrier test will be made ‘more severe’. In this instance, the mass and speed of the barrier will be increased – by what amount the organisation hasn’t disclosed yet.

However, what we do know is that manufacturers will need to take side protection of new vehicles seriously if they hope to score high.

First time rating far-side impact protection

euro ncap star ratings
Image courtesy of Euro NCAP.

As well as near-side protection, far-side protection for drivers and front passengers will be assessed in the new Euro NCAP tests. More specifically how this causes potential interaction between the two sat in the front.

The recent development of safety features such as centre airbags will likely have a positive impact on new ratings.

AEB and driver monitoring

Most modern cars now come with some form of crash prevention such as AEB (autonomous emergency braking) or advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Current NCAP safety tests rate these vehicles out of five in terms of their ability to protect ‘vulnerable road users’.

However, under the new tests a range of different scenarios will be used to further score new vehicles. These include:

  • Turning at a crossing – i.e. how quickly the car registers people walking across a road which it has just turned onto.
  • Driver monitoring – testing systems such as seatbelt reminders and driver fatigue alert.

Want to find out just how safe cars of the future are? Then check out our other article about the safety of self-driving cars.

Post crash safety

Euro NCAP has partnered with the International Association of Fire and Rescue Services to develop new rating rules surrounding post-crash safety.

Manufacturers are being told that they will be rewarded in this department for:

  • Accurate and accessible rescue information.
  • Ease of extrication (i.e. how easy it is to get out of the car when entangled).
  • Use of electric door handles.
  • Any advanced eCall functions.

When will the changes come into play?

The current circumstances because of the coronavirus has meant that Euro NCAP temporarily suspended all car safety testing. However, results of the new safety tests are expected shortly after summer time.

Be sure to stay tuned to the latest safety ratings for results and remember to compare safety ratings for all versions of a car before you decide to buy it. You may find that older models have better safety!

Looking for a new car with a five-star rating? All our lease deals display information on safety for each vehicle, so you can make the right choice. Start your search now and compare prices for the best offer.

Want to carry on reading our latest car news, reviews and entertainment? Then head over to the Moneyshake blog.