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How Safe Is YOUR Car?

Illustration for article titled How Safe Is YOUR Car?

Did you know that a Smart car has better adult occupant protection than a 2007 Chrysler Voyager? Why does the diminutive Smart score 3 stars to the behemoth Voyager's 1 ½? How does a Toyota Prius offer better child protection than a Jeep Grand Cherokee? The European New Car Assessment Program is an independent research body tasked with testing vehicle safety. After purchasing vehicles from dealers, they run them through some of the toughest safety tests around then tell you, the general public, how each car faired in completely unbiased, often harsh, minute detail. It's worth reading for the schadenfreude factor alone, but if a new car purchase looms, Euro NCAP is an invaluable resource. [Euro NCAP]

Photo credit: Seamark

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DISCUSSION

@Hyman Decent: Don't get too excited by differences between European and American versions of cars. A 5-series is a 5-series no matter what accent its satnav has. Just look on in envy when they test a 1007.

I've never had much respect for the IIHS, Euro NCAP are actually independent from industry and government and aren't afraid to call a spade a spade or a steering column that will crush your head a steering column that will crush your head.

As with any safety test, nothing can accurately predict what will happen in all real world accidents. They're only simulating crashes at 40mph for instance. But combine this with some common sense and you can get a good idea of who's making safe cars and who isn't.