ELECTRIC cars may be making all the headlines right now - but whether the latest models are battery or fossil-fuel powered, safety remains an absolute priority for manufacturers, according to Europe's official car safety organisation, Euro NCAP.
In its' latest tests of new models, the organisation has awarded five-star safety ratings to the battery powered Polestar 2 executive hatchback and the petrol-engined Cupra Formentor SUV.
In both adult occupant and child occupant protection, only a point divided the two cars. For pedestrian protection, the Polestar, with an active bonnet, achieved an impressive 80 percent score, while both cars performed well in the autonomous emergency braking systems to vulnerable road users' tests.
Polestar is a spin-off electrified brand created by Volvo and its Chinese-owners, Geely. Developed in the Volvo Safety Centre in Gothenburg, Sweden, and built in China, the Polestar 2 is the company's first fully electrified model and, says the company, its' crashworthiness was a top priority.
"Volvo Cars is one of our founders and by sharing their expertise with us, safety is a core competence in our cars. This shows in the excellent Euro NCAP rating of Polestar 2," says Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO.
Cupra is the new sporting brand of Spanish company SEAT and, although the Formentor shares its active safety technology with the SEAT Leon which achieved a five star Euro NCAP rating last year, it is the first model homologated and tested as a standalone Cupra vehicle.
According to Dr. Werner Tietz, the company's vice president for research and development: "It's a milestone, but a challenging one, as the safety organisation's testing regime has changed significantly."
EuroNCAP has also awarded five star ratings to the new Renault Arkana - which goes on sale in the UK in the summer - and the Lexus UX 300e based on the 2019 test reults achieved by the models on which they are based - the Renault Captur and the Lexus UX hybrid respectively.
Says Euro NCAP's Michiel van Ratingen: "We are now a year on from when Covid became a global pandemic and the car industry has had a torrid twelve months. Sales are down and carmakers are having to find ways to cut costs and maximise profits. Euro NCAP is here to ensure that safety is not compromised, and it is rewarding that these two brands should place it high on their agendas. By now, safety is central to manufacturers' strategies and they know that it is an area where consumers will not accept a drop in standards."