How good is the whiplash injury protection in Europe’s top-selling cars?
You might expect all of Europe’s best-selling cars to be getting good scores for whiplash protection. According to insurance researchers, it’s really just a question of fitting a good seat. Would you believe that only half of Europe’s top ten best-selling cars offer good protection, however? Three provide only what Euro NCAP terms “marginal” protection and for two we just don’t know for sure: they’ve been on sale too long to have test scores.
Euro NCAP gives seats scores of 0-4 points for their whiplash protection – those getting more than 3.0 points are good.
Top-sellers that save your neck
The Opel-Vauxhall Astra may have launched back in 2009, but it is still best-in-class for whiplash protection. With 3.7 points its clever active head support is the highest scoring to date.
This is closely followed by the 2012 VW Golf, 2012 Ford Focus, and 2010 Passat. All achieved a Euro NCAP score of 3.3 points. For the Golf, this is the same score that its 2009 predecessor model achieved.
The 2012 Ford Fiesta is close behind with an anti-whiplash score of 3.1 points. Recognising that people in smaller, lighter cars like the Fiesta are more vulnerable to whiplash injuries, Ford made sure that it improved the seats after the 2008 predecessor model scored just 2.1 points, a marginal rating.
Other small cars are less well-equipped when it comes to whiplash. The 2009 VW Polo scored just 2.6 points; the 2012 Renault Clio just 2.5 points. Both still received five-star safety ratings. As did the 2008 Renault Megane, which scored 2.4 points.
Too old for testing
And for some of Europe’s best-selling models, we just don’t know. The Nissan Qashqai and the Vauxhall/Opel Corsa both launched before Euro NCAP started testing for whiplash in 2008. It shows how long these popular cars have been on the market and back then it’s unlikely that the design team paid much attention to whiplash protection.
Your car not here? Check Euro NCAP’s whiplash rating page