What Car? has named the vehicles shortlisted for its Car of the Year Safety Award 2021. The finalists are the: Honda Jazz, SEAT Leon, Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen ID.3, and the Mazda MX-30. The shortlist is based on the tests, recommendations, and expertise of:
- Euro NCAP (independent body that crash tests vehicles)
- Thatcham Research (not-for-profit automotive research centre).
Euro NCAP tested the cars to see how well they protect adult occupants, children, and pedestrians, etc. The tests revealed how effectively these cars minimise injury if there is a crash and – just as critical – any driver aids that make a collision less likely. Each shortlisted car got a maximum 5 star rating (overall).
The 5 star safety ratings were particularly impressive. Why? Because the tests got harder in 2020. Euro NCAP tested Automatic Emergency Braking Systems, for example. Such a system warns you a collision is likely via a tone. If you fail to react, it then brakes on your behalf to avoid the impact or mitigate its severity.
Thatcham Research Director of Research, Matthew Avery, confirmed: ‘The cars that have come through our judging and made it to the shortlist have had to earn their stripes this year. The new protocols that we helped develop are designed to expose any weaknesses in a car’s capability or testing performance’, he added.
Thatcham Research further summarised why each vehicle has been shortlisted for the Car of the Year Safety Award 2021. For example:
- Honda Jazz: ‘solid performer across all test categories’
- SEAT Leon: ‘best’ adult occupant protection score of 2020
- Toyota Yaris: ‘good at preventing accidents’
- Volkswagen ID.3: top score for ‘child occupant protection’
- Mazda MX-30: ‘second highest adult occupant protection score’.
Car of the Year Technology Award
The What Car? Car of the Year Technology Award 2021 is also contested by five finalists. Consider the Kia Blind Spot View Monitor, for example. As you indicate, a camera shows you vehicles in your blind spot via a screen on the dashboard. Clearly, its purpose is to minimise the risk of collision. The other finalists are:
- Tesla Over-The-Air Updates (sends new software to your vehicle that improves its functionality, performance, and safety)
- Ford Lane Keeping System with Blind Spot Assist (if you are likely to change lane and chop-up the car behind, expect a slight nudge on your steering to keep you in the correct lane)
- Volvo Advanced Interior Air Cleaner (purifies the air)
- Android Automotive OS (safety focussed infotainment system that can be controlled by voice, so there is less need to take your hands off the steering wheel and/or look at the screen).