Jan 29 2010 Maurice Glover
Top five safest cars of 2009
CARS designed to be kinder to the environment are also among the safest on the road.
Euro NCAP, the crash test agency, has names hybrid models made by Honda and Toyota in its chart of the top five safest cars of 2009.
The Japanese Insight and Prius models came second and third respectively in the agency's list of five-star performers after the Volkswagen Golf. Fourth place went to the Hyundai i20 and three cars - the Toyota Avensis, Volvo XC60 and the Vauxhall Astra - tied for the fifth position.
Worst-rated cars of the 33 cars tested during the year were the Suzuki Alto and the Toyota Urban Cruiser with three-stars.
The agency's overall safety rating is based on combined performance in four areas - adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection, and 'safety assist' which currently covers electronic stability control, 'driver-set' speed limitation devices, and intelligent seat belt reminders.
Said AA president Edmund King: 'It is good to see that the safest cars are 'normal' family cars and state-of-the-art, environmentally friendly cars rather than larger executive models which many might traditionally associate with higher safety standards.
"More than 360 new car models have been tested in the 12 years or so since the EuroNCAP programme began which means that even first time car buyers can now take safety into account - alongside running costs, environmental impact and other factors - when buying a car."