Pedestrian airbag wins Volvo V40 top score

Volvo V40 with passenger airbag

A pedestrian-protecting airbag is the latest innovation in the battle to offer the safest new car. It has helped Volvo’s V40 hatchback win a top score for its class in Euro NCAP’s crash tests.  Along with the new Audi A3 it won five stars overall.

Euro NCAP has released results for six new models, and five of them have gained the maximum five out five score. The other three top performers are the new Ford B-Max, the latest Renault Clio and the Kia C'eed.

Volvo's new V40 set a new high for overall, pedestrian and adult protection scores. It scored 98% for adult protection and also offers outstanding protection (88%) for any unwary pedestrians who might collide with the car. A standard 'pedestrian airbag' lifts the bonnet and partly covers the front pillars to cushion the impact.

The Ford B-Max was also singled out for praise for the clever design that means it can do without central side pillars, leaving a huge wide opening for passengers to use. Instead of using door pillars, the solidity is built into the doors, and the Ford managed a score of 92% for adult protection.

A maximum five-star rating meant that the new Audi A3 scored one star better than the old model. The previous Clio and C'eed both scored five stars, but Euro NCAP praised the improvements made to pedestrian protection in all three cars.

‘While in the last three years Euro NCAP has increased the requirements, the vehicle manufacturers have stepped up to the challenge,’ said Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP’s secretary general.

‘The scores observed today were unthinkable just a few years ago with the new V40 setting a new standard.’

The sixth vehicle tested is the Isuzu D-Max pick-up, which scored four out of five. This is a big improvement on the previous model’s two-star struck-through rating, which meant there was an ‘unacceptably high risk of life-threatening injury.’