During 2012, no fewer than thirty-six new cars were subjected to the Euro NCAP crash tests.
The cars were crashed head-on into deformable barriers, side-swiped by metal poles and driven into dummy pedestrians in order to establish how effective they are at protecting their occupants from the substantial forces produced in a car accident.
You might be thinking that modern cars are so safe that they make the NCAP tests somewhat redundant. But while it is true that most new cars achieve the full five-star rating, many do not. The Jeep Compass, for example, scored just two stars in the tests last year, while the Toyota Aygo/Citroen C1/Peugeot 107 managed just three stars apiece.
So to award the cars which flew through the tests with flying colours, Euro NCAP has released a list of the safest new cars in each class which were tested during 2012.
Winner: Renault Clio
Runner-up: Ford Fiesta
Winner: Volvo V40
Runner-up: Vauxhall Mokka
Winner: BMW 3 Series
Runner-up: Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid
Winner: Ford Kuga
Runner-up: Subaru Forester