Crash tests reveal poor performer

  • Ten new cars score top marks for safety
  • But one model receives just three stars
  • Stricter safety tests from 2010

The latest group of new cars have been put through the Euro NCAP crash test - and nearly all of them got the maximum five stars.

Ten of the twelve cars tested, including the BMW X1, new Vauxhall Astra and Infiniti FX, got the maximum mark of five stars for safety.

However, the Toyota Urban Cruiser has been awarded just three stars after getting 58 per cent for adult protection. This poor performance of the Urban Cruiser comes as a surprise after good results for the Prius, IQ and Avensis all receiving five stars.

Toyota is investigating the results claiming that they come down to a difference of opinion between themselves and Euro NCAP concerning the 'Pole Side Impact' test, particularly when it comes to the impact of the driver's head on the curtain airbag.

The manufacturer claims that their own safety tests indicated that the protection provided by the curtain airbag would be in line with the Euro NCAP standards to receive five stars. 

In the same tests the Chevrolet Spark - set to go on sale next year - was the other model not to get maximum marks. The Spark got four stars as ESC (Electronic Stability Control), which helps to control the car in slippery conditions, won't be fitted as standard.

The other cars to get the full five stars include the Volkswagen Scirocco, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Chevrolet Cruze and Mazda3. The Peugeot 5008 and Citroen DS3 - which go on sale in 2010 - also got top marks.

These ratings are the latest in the new system now used by Euro NCAP which includes whiplash testing and is marked from an overall score of adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and safety assist.

However, the testing is set to get even stricter from February 2010. New cars will now have to achieve at least 40 per cent in pedestrian protection to be awarded five stars.

On this rating system the Peugeot 5008, Citroen DS3 and Chevrolet Cruze would have only received four stars.

New cars will also have to get better scores on adult and child protection too in order to gain top marks. Currently, a car needs to score 75 per cent on adult protection and 70 per on child protection for five stars, but in 2010 this will go up to 80 per cent and 75 per cent respectively.