THE first ever safety accolade for used cars has gone to the Volvo V40 thanks to its "class-leading" safety technology.
The Swedish model has been presented with the Co-op Safe Used Car 2016 award - a new initiative by Co-op Insurance designed to highlight the safest used cars typically bought by families in the UK.
Working in collaboration with safety experts Thatcham Research, Co-op Insurance awarded the inaugural trophy to the V40 with Driver Support Pack, which beat strong competition from the Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Qashqai to claim the title.
In order to be in the running for the award - the first to recognise safety in the UK used car market - all the contenders had to have a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, CO emissions of 120 g/km or lower and be available to buy on the second-hand market for £15,000 or less.
The cars were then evaluated further on their crash worthiness, which included ratings for adult, child and pedestrian protection, and the availability of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).
The Volvo V40 received the top rating of five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test in 2012, and its overall scores are still the highest ever recorded by the safety assessment institute.
The V40 was one of the first cars to have AEB as standard. The system, known as City Safety, works at speeds of up to 31 mph and will automatically apply the brakes if it senses an impending crash to avoid the collision entirely or lessen its severity. The V40 was also the first car in the world to come with an airbag to help protect pedestrians in an accident.
The optional Driver Support Pack for the V40 provides class-leading safety technology, including Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Aid, Blind Spot Information System with Cross Traffic Alert, Road Sign Information, and Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake, which is capable of working at all speeds.
James Hillon, Director of Products at Co-op Insurance, said: "We are keen to help educate people not only about car safety, but about what they should be thinking about before they even set foot on a car forecourt.
"The Volvo V40 was awarded the accolade because it is a perfect example of a reasonably priced car that has a large number of safety features as standard, even on older models. It has a five-star Euro NCAP rating and provides good protection in a crash for the driver and front passenger, as well as children. Where it really shines, though, is in the standard of collision-avoidance technology available."