Car buyers need to check a potential car’s safety details to be sure they are buying the safest cars, says an independent car research centre.
Thatcham Research is the voice of Euro NCAP in the UK and is calling for carmakers to install life-saving safety technology to their cars as standard rather than having them as an optional extra.
The organisation says technology including autonomous emergency braking (AEB) is of huge help to a driver and the car's occupants.
The call to improve car safety has been reinforced by the latest testing results from Euro NCAP which revealed that consumers really do need to choose and specify their cars very carefully indeed.
Which are the safest cars
There have been some very good results in 2016 under Euro NCAP testing to establish which are the safest cars but there have also been some disappointing results too.
Thatcham is pointing to the SsangYong Tivoli and the Suzuki Ignis which only received a three star rating but when tested with the optional safety pack, the safety ratings increased to 5 stars for the Ignis and four stars for the Tivoli.
One problem is that the take-up of optional safety packs is very low, it's around 3% for British buyers.
This means that most of the Tivoli and Ignis cars on our roads will be rated at three stars for their safety and not have safety features including AEB which can help reduce a rear end crash by 38%.
Buyers should do their research
Thatcham's director of research, Matthew Avery, said: “Do not be misled and buyers should do their research since choosing the optional safety pack will bring the levels of safety expected.
“We are seeing increasingly carmakers opting for the Euro NCAP 'Dual Rating' which gives a score for a standard car and a second rating for the car’s optional safety pack.
“Car buyers must ensure they understand the rating and speak with the dealership to specify their car carefully.”
Be aware of the optional safety pack
For those interested in buying the Suzuki Ignis, they need to be aware of the optional safety pack called 'dual camera brake support' and in the Tivoli it's the 'Autobrake with forward collision warning'.
Thatcham is also pointing to the Ford Edge which while scoring well for its active safety features that help prevent a crash from occurring, potential car buyers need to appreciate that it has scored below the standard expected in rear passenger protection.
In addition, the Hyundai Ioniq also had issues with protection, particularly for children and for chest protection for those using a booster rear seat. Elderly people are also susceptible to neck injuries should they be involved in a crash in the Ioniq.