THE good, the bad and the ugly of the current motoring scene have been revealed in the latest Euro NCAP crash tests.
Of 11 models evaluated in the latest round of the programme, seven achieved top five star safety ratings but two performed so badly they gained only one or no stars at all.
The worst performer was the latest Renault Zoe - facelifted in 2020 - which Euro NCAP criticised for poor crash protection and a lack of accident avoidance technology which disqualified it from gaining a classification.
And Renault's budget brand Dacia performed little better with its fully-electric Spring hatchback - not yet released in the UK - gaining only a one star rating with Euro NCAP describing its crash test performance as ‘downright problematic'.
The safety organisation said that there was a high risk of life-threatening injuries in the Spring with a risk of injuries to the driver's chest and the rear passengers' heads in frontal crash tests and only marginal chest protection in side impacts.
Michiel van Ratingen, chief of Euro NCAP, said: "Renault was once synonymous with safety. The Laguna was the first car to get five stars, back in 2001.
"But these disappointing results for the Zoe and the Dacia Spring show that safety has now become collateral damage in the group's transition to electric cars. Only a few months ago, Dacia claimed that they were ‘preoccupied with always increasing safety for those on board' and that their cars always have passenger safety improved.
"That's clearly not the case: not only do these cars fail to offer any appreciable active safety as standard, but their occupant protection is also worse than any vehicle we have seen in many years.
"It is cynical to offer the consumer an affordable green car if it comes at the price of higher injury risk in the event of an accident. Other cars, such as the FIAT 500e, recently awarded 5 stars in Green NCAP, show that safety does not need to be sacrificed for environmental cleanliness."
At the higher end of the scale there were five star ratings for the new BMW iX SUV, the Genesis G70 saloon and its SUV counterpart the GV70, the Mercedes-EQ EQS, the Nissan Qashqai, the Skoda Fabia and the latest Volkswagen Caddy MPV.
Four star classifications went to the new Fiat 500e electric supermini and MG's new flagship SUV the Marvel R - another model which is still unavailable in Britain.
Rikard Fredriksson, the vehicle safety advisor for Sweden's transport body Trafikverket, said of the Renault Zoe's performance: "Euro NCAP's tests highlight the significant differences which arise when the decision is taken not to upgrade the safety level of a vehicle which is kept in production."
Mr Fredriksson added the latest tests showed examples of electric cars at similar prices but with remarkable different safety levels.
Euro NCAP has also verified five new hybrid and electric variants of cars rated in earlier years.
The Audi A6 PHEV, the Range Rover Evoque PHEV and the Mazda2 hybridshare the five star ratings of 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively while the Mercedes -EQ EQB is also rated at five stars with Nissan's new Townstar - based on the Renault Kangoo - shares its four star rating.