Last updated
European New Car Assessment Programme
TypeVoluntary Non-Profit
IndustryAutomotive Safety
FoundedDecember 1996
HeadquartersLeuven, Belgium
Number of locations
8 Facilities
Area served
ServicesConsumer Information

The European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) is a European voluntary car safety performance assessment programme (i.e. a New Car Assessment Program) based in Leuven (Belgium) formed in 1996, with the first results released in February 1997. [1] It was originally started by the Transport Research Laboratory for the UK Department for Transport, but later backed by several European governments, as well as by the European Union. [2] Their slogan is "For Safer Cars".


History and activities

Euro NCAP is a voluntary vehicle safety rating system created by the Swedish Road Administration, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile and International Consumer Research & Testing, backed by 14 members, and motoring & consumer organisations in several EU countries. [3] [4] They provide European consumers with information regarding the safety of passenger vehicles. In 1998, operations moved from London to Brussels. [5] It was supported by people like Max Mosley. [6]

The programme is modelled after the New Car Assessment Program, introduced 1979 by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. [7] Other areas with similar (but not identical) programmes include Australia and New Zealand with ANCAP, Latin America with Latin NCAP and China with C-NCAP. [8]

They publish safety reports on new cars, and awards 'star ratings' based on the performance of the vehicles in a variety of crash tests, including front, side and pole impacts, and impacts with pedestrians.

Testing is not mandatory, with vehicle models either being independently chosen by Euro NCAP or sponsored by the manufacturers. [9] In Europe, new cars are certified as legal for sale under the Whole Vehicle Type Approval regimen that differs from Euro NCAP. According to Euro NCAP, [10] "The frontal and side impact crash tests used by Euro NCAP are based on those used in European legislation. However, much higher performance requirements are used by Euro NCAP. Euro NCAP also states that "Legislation sets a minimum compulsory standard whilst Euro NCAP is concerned with best possible current practice. Progress with vehicle safety legislation can be slow, particularly as all EU Member States’ views have to be taken into account. Also, once in place, legislation provides no further incentive to improve, whereas Euro NCAP provides a continuing incentive by regularly enhancing its assessment procedures to stimulate further improvements in vehicle safety."

Before Euro NCAP was introduced car buyers had little information if one car was safer than the other; in fact the UK at the time required only a 48 km/h (30 mph) frontal crash test. [11] The first ratings of a group of best selling vehicles were released in 1997, since then Euro NCAP has tested more than 1,800 new cars, published over 600 ratings and has helped save upwards of 78,000 lives in Europe and encouraged manufacturers to build safer cars. [12] The result of Euro NCAP is that over the years, European automakers' cars have become much safer. Test results are commonly presented by motor press, and in turn, greatly influence consumer demand for a vehicle. One notable example of this is the Rover 100 (an update of a 1980 design, first marketed as an Austin ), which after receiving a one-star Adult Occupant Rating in the tests in 1997, suffered from poor sales and was withdrawn from production soon afterwards: it was the 'What Car' car of the year, for 1980. [13] BMW's 2007 MINI, for example, had its bonnet and headlamp fixture changed to meet the latest pedestrian safety requirements. [14] In 2017, to celebrate Euro NCAP's 20th anniversary, they tested a 1997 Rover 100 and 2017 Honda Jazz under the same frontal offset conditions to demonstrate how far safety has come in Europe. [15]

2020 test procedures

Mobile progressive deformable barrier

The test car is propelled at 50 km/h (31 mph) into a moving deformable barrier mounted on an oncoming 1400 kg trolley, also travelling at 50 km/h at a 50% overlap. This represents hitting a mid-size family car. Two adult male dummies are seated in the front (a THOR-50M driver and a Hybrid-III 50M passenger) and two child dummies (a 6 year old and a 10 year old) are placed in the back. The aim is to assess the crumple zones and the compatibility of the test car. [16]

Full width rigid barrier

The test car is driven into a rigid barrier with full overlap at a speed of 50 km/h (31 mph). A small 5th Percentile dummy is seated in the driving position and in the rear seat. The aim is to test the car's restraint system, such as airbags and seat belts. [17]

Mobile side impact barrier

A deformable barrier is mounted on a trolley and is driven at 60 km/h (37 mph) into the side of the stationary test vehicle at a right angle. This is meant to represent another vehicle colliding with the side of a car. [18]

Side pole

The car is propelled sideways at 32 km/h (20 mph) against a rigid, narrow pole at a small angle away from perpendicular to simulate a vehicle travelling sideways into roadside objects such as a tree or pole. [19]

Far side impact

The body in white (frame) of the vehicle is attached to a sled is propelled sideways to provide accelerations experienced by the vehicle in the side and pole tests, but on the far side of the vehicle. The far side testing was implemented in 2020 to help combat far side injuries (where the driver is struck from the opposite side). The ‘excursion’ of the dummy - the extent to which the dummy moves towards the impacted side of the vehicle - is measured. [20]

If the vehicle is equipped with centre airbags then a co-driver (front passenger) is added in either the mobile side impact or the pole test to evaluate its effectiveness.


The vehicle seat is propelled forwards rapidly at both 16 and 24 km/h (9.9 and 14.9 mph) to test the seat and head restraint's capabilities to protect the head and neck against whiplash during a rear impact. [21]

Vulnerable road users (pedestrians & cyclists) [22]

Head Impact

Upper Leg Impact

Lower Leg Impact

AEB Pedestrian

AEB Cyclist

Safety Assist [23]

AEB car-to-car

Occupant status monitoring

Speed assistance

Lane Support

Rescue and extrication

How easy it is for first responders to extricate the occupant and how well eCall performs after a collision. [24]


Euro NCAP's ratings consist of percentage scores for Adult Occupant, Child Occupant, Vulnerable Road Users and Safety Assist and are delivered in the overall rating of stars, 5 being the best and 0 being the worst.

5 star safety: Overall excellent performance in crash protection and well equipped with comprehensive and robust crash avoidance technology

4 star safety: Overall good performance in crash protection and all round; additional crash avoidance technology may be present

3 star safety: At least average occupant protection but not always equipped with the latest crash avoidance features

2 star safety: Nominal crash protection but lacking crash avoidance technology

1 star safety: Marginal crash protection and little in the way of crash avoidance technology

0 star safety: Meeting type-approval standards so can legally be sold but lacking critical modern safety technology

Some cars have dual ratings as the lower is for the vehicle with standard equipment, while the higher is for the vehicle when equipped with certain options, often in the form of a safety pack. [25]

Euro NCAP Advanced

Euro NCAP Advanced is a reward system launched in 2010 for advanced safety technologies, complementing Euro NCAP's existing star rating scheme. Euro NCAP rewards and recognises car manufacturers that make available new safety technologies which demonstrate a scientifically proven safety benefit for consumers and society, but are not yet considered in the star rating [26] By rewarding technologies, Euro NCAP provides an incentive to manufacturers to accelerate the standard fitment of important safety equipment across their model ranges. [27]

Rating history [28]

1997 - first crash tests of offset deformable barrier test and side impact

2003 - New child protection rating

2008 - Whiplash tests introduced

2010 - Euro NCAP Advance Award introduced

2011 - ESC included in vehicle rating

2014 - AEB included into the rating



2018 - AEB included cyclists


Members and test facilities

Members [30]

Testing facilities [31]

See also


Safety organisations

Related Research Articles

Crumple zone

Crumple zones, crush zones, or crash zones are a structural safety feature used in vehicles, mainly in automobiles, to increase the time over which a change in velocity occurs from the impact during a collision by a controlled deformation; in recent years, it is also incorporated into trains and railcars.

Crash test Form of destructive testing

A crash test is a form of destructive testing usually performed in order to ensure safe design standards in crashworthiness and crash compatibility for various modes of transportation or related systems and components.

Automotive safety Study and practice to minimize the occurrence and consequences of motor vehicle accidents

Automotive safety is the study and practice of design, construction, equipment and regulation to minimize the occurrence and consequences of traffic collisions involving motor vehicles. Road traffic safety more broadly includes roadway design.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is an agency of the U.S. federal government, part of the Department of Transportation. It describes its mission as "Save lives, prevent injuries, reduce vehicle-related crashes" related to transportation safety in the United States.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety U.S. nonprofit organization

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a U.S. nonprofit organization funded by auto insurance companies, established in 1959 and headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. It works to reduce the number of motor vehicle traffic collisions, and the rate of injuries and amount of property damage in the crashes that still occur. It carries out research and produces ratings for popular passenger vehicles as well as for certain consumer products such as child car booster seats. It also conducts research on road design and traffic regulations, and has been involved in promoting policy decisions.

Side collision Vehicle crash where the side of one or more vehicles is impacted

A side collision is a vehicle crash where the side of one or more vehicles is impacted. These crashes typically occur at intersections, in parking lots, and when two vehicles pass on a multi-lane roadway.


Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) is a system to protect against automotive whiplash injuries introduced by Volvo in 1998. It was launched when the Volvo S80 was released for the 1999 model year and has since been part of the standard equipment of all new Volvo cars.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) is a car safety performance assessment programme based in Australia and founded in 1993. ANCAP specialises in the crash testing of automobiles sold in Australia and the publishing of these results for the benefit of consumers. ANCAP provides consumers with transparent advice and information on the level of occupant and pedestrian protection provided by different vehicle models in the most common types of crashes, as well as their ability—through technology—to avoid a crash.

Dacia Sandero Subcompact car produced by Renault and Dacia

The Dacia Sandero is a B-segment (supermini) car produced and marketed jointly by the French manufacturer Renault and its Romanian subsidiary Dacia since 2007, currently at its third generation. It has been also marketed as the Renault Sandero in certain markets, such as Russia, Mexico, Central and South America, Iran, Egypt, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Volkswagen Amarok Pickup truck

The Volkswagen Amarok is a pickup truck produced by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles since 2010. It is a traditional body-on-frame truck with double-wishbone suspension at the front and leaf springs at the rear. The Amarok range consists of single cab and double cab, combined with either rear-wheel drive or 4motion four-wheel-drive, and is powered by turbocharged gasoline or turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines. Volkswagen considers the Toyota Hilux, Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi L200, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max and Chevrolet/Holden Colorado/S-10 to be Amarok competitors. In 2020 it was announced a new version of the Amarok would be released in 2022 based on the Ford Ranger.

An automobile safety rating is a grade given by a testing organisation to a motor vehicle indicating the safety of occupants in the event of a motor vehicle crash, like with the New Car Assessment Program.

Collision avoidance system Motorcar safety system

A collision avoidance system (CAS), also known as a pre-crash system, forward collision warning system, or collision mitigation system, is an advanced driver-assistance system designed to prevent or reduce the severity of a collision. In its basic form, a forward collision warning system monitors a vehicle's speed, the speed of the vehicle in front of it, and the distance between the vehicles, so that it can provide a warning to the driver if the vehicles get too close, potentially helping to avoid a crash. Various technologies and sensors that are used include radar (all-weather) and sometimes laser (LIDAR) and cameras to detect an imminent crash. GPS sensors can detect fixed dangers such as approaching stop signs through a location database. Pedestrian detection can also be a feature of these types of systems.

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Latin NCAP Automobile safety assessment programme for Latin America and the Caribbean

The Latin New Car Assessment Programme is an automobile safety assessment programme for Latin America and the Caribbean. Founded in 2010, it offers independent information to consumers about the safety levels of new cars in the market. Latin NCAP tests are based in international renown methodologies, with vehicles awarded with a safety rating between 0 and 5 stars, indicating the protection the cars offer to adult and child occupants. The programme started as a joint initiative and in 2014 it was established as an association under a legal entity framework.

New Car Assessment Program

A New Car Assessment Program is a government car safety program tasked with evaluating new automobile designs for performance against various safety threats.

The Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP) is a proposed New Car Assessment Program for India. Cars sold in the country will be assigned by star ratings based on their safety performance. It will be implemented in phases, according to the plans being drawn up by the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project. It is the 10th NCAP in the world and is being set up by the government of India.

Footwell intrusion

In the field of automotive engineering, footwell intrusion describes a situation in which an automobile engine or other vehicle component penetrates the space normally allocated for the feet of the front seat occupants. Automotive crash testing agencies such as Euro NCAP and IIHS consider levels of footwell intrusion when conducting assessments. Vehicles that display excessive deformation of the footwell are noted.

Charles Adrian Hobbs is a safety expert in vehicle crashworthiness with a background in accident and injury investigation, and analysis.

ARCAP is an automobile safety assessment program founded by the Russian car magazine Autoreview. It was Russia's first independent rating for the passive safety of a car, presenting itself as the local edition of the Euro NCAP program. It also provides exclusive test results on some models not marketed in Europe or North America, such as AvtoVAZ vehicles.

Polestar 2 Motor vehicle

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