The 10 nominees were selected by an expert panel made up of Thatcham Research’s Matthew Avery, the Secretary General of the European car safety group Euro NCAP Michiel van Ratingen and Claire Evans, Consumer Editor at What Car? Magazine.
The judging criteria for this award takes a variety of factors into account, including:
- Five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and high overall Euro NCAP testing scores;
- Potential sales and affordability (to promote cars that bringing safety to the masses);
- Standard-fit crash avoidance technology (including new technology like Autonomous Emergency Braking systems and Electronic Lane Keeping systems); and
- Driving Assistant Systems (such as Adaptive Cruise Control).
Matthew Avery, Director of Research at Thatcham Research said, “Carmakers have really raised their game this year; drivers have never been safer behind the wheel. Should the worst happen, motorists are incredibly well protected. But crucially, these cars have an abundance of standard-fit safety systems designed to prevent crashes. These innovative technologies are watching the road when you aren’t and the continued progression in their performance is genuinely exciting for road safety.”
The What Car? Safety Award 2020 Nominations
Of the 10 nominees selected by the expert panel 7 are currently available to lease through the Motability Scheme. The nominated vehicles, listed in no particular order (with comments from Thatcham Research’s Matthew Avery) are:
The Mazda 3
“A really good performer in so many areas. Class-leading safety protection in impacts and some great active safety features, including innovative Driver Monitoring technology which isn’t included in the current Euro NCAP rating, but will be in the future.”
The Mazda CX-30 SUV
“It’s 99% rating in the Adult Occupant Protection category – maxing out in the Full Frontal, Side impact, Pole crash and AEB City tests – was the highest ever seen in Euro NCAP testing. Class leading active and passive safety, offered in a fashionable crossover package.”
The Mercedes Benz B Class
“The first of two Mercedes-Benz cars to feature in the top 10. Typical of the brand’s attention to safety detail, reinforcing its reputation of offering safety as standard across its model range. A great choice for small families.”
The Mercedes Benz CLA
“Its 90% average score across all Euro NCAP categories is the best of 2019. A close relative to last year’s What Car? Safety Award winner the Mercedes-Benz A-Class, the CLA continues the family tradition of class-leading safety. From a pop-up bonnet to protect pedestrians and cyclists in the event of a collision, to one of the best intelligent Speed Assistance Systems tested, this car is a very safe bet.”
The SEAT Tarraco
“Another Volkswagen group SUV, this time in the large segment. Offers safety at a reasonable price point. Good performance for its driver assistance technologies, with strong AEB and Lane Support System scores. If you’re in the market for a big SUV, this car is one of the safest you can buy.”
The Skoda Scala
“Maximum safety, on a minimal budget. The Škoda Scala shows strong performance across the board – rating highly on passive and active safety protection. One of the safest small cars available in 2019.”
The Volkswagen T-Cross
“The small crossover segment is one of the most popular and is growing fast. The usual high-performance expected of new Volkswagen cars in impact testing, but also great active safety technology fitted as standard, including a Lane Support System which not only helps to prevent drivers from inadvertently drifting out of lane, but will also intervene in more critical situations.”
Winner Announced At The What Car? Car Of The Year Awards On January 14 2020
The other vehicles that are nominated for the award (but are not currently available to lease through the Motability Scheme) are the new BMW 3 Series, the Tesla Model 3 and the new 8th generation Volkswagen Golf hatchback.
Speaking about the cars selected Claire Evans, Consumer Editor at What Car? Magazine said: “All the cars in this year's shortlist gain four or five stars in What Car?'s road tests and it's great to see that they're also the top performers in terms of safety. The majority of this year's contenders are also affordable to buy, and that means whichever you choose you can be reassured you're getting one of the safest new cars without breaking the bank.”
The eventual winner and two runners up will be selected from the top 10 list by the judges and revealed at the What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2020 on January 14.
Winner Revealed (Updated 15 January 2020)
This award went to the BMW 3 Series.
What Car? said: 'In the event of a crash, the 3 Series is one of the safest cars you and your family could be in. It got 98.5% in the frontal offset crash test and 100% in both side crash tests, including the pole test – Euro NCAP’s most invasive. And every 3 Series is fitted with a deployable bonnet that pops up if the car hits a pedestrian or cyclist, providing the clearance between them and the components in the engine bay that’s vital for causing them the least harm'.
The Mercedes-Benz CLA finished second, with the Tesla Model 3 in third place.