Although we are slowly becoming a land of the SUV, the supermini is still a huge part of the vehicle landscape in the UK thanks to a plethora of practicality and pocket pluses. However, safety ratings can easily be overlooked.
Fuel efficiency, price point and technology are the normal considerations when it comes to deciding on the best supermini options for you. However, should we all be looking at safety ratings before we make our decision?
Being safe on the road isn't just about how safe the vehicle is. We're all glued to our phones but in the car, it isn't just illegal, it increases your risk of having an accident. So make sure your phone is held in a secure phone mounting solution designed for your car.
Let’s have a look at the top five safest superminis you can buy new today. We’ll do a countdown to make it more exciting.
Kicking things off, it’s the only electric vehicle on the list. The Fiat 500e was awarded a perfect score from environmentally friendly testers Green NCAP thanks to its electric motor/battery system and the size of the 500e- meaning it used fewer materials.
The Fiat 500e scored fairly well in the safety test too with a four-star rating overall. The testers were impressed with the stability of the 500e and the protection it offered to occupants in the front of the cabin- although they noted that the driver could take some knee-knocks. Where the 500e lost points was the extent at which occupants could be thrown to the other side of the vehicle in the event of a side impact. So if you are going to have a crash in a 500e, make sure it’s head on.
The Autonomous Emergency Braking was praised where vulnerable road users were concerned as it was effective in avoiding a collision altogether. Well done Fiat.
Moving on from the 500e now, we have a relative newcomer to the supermini world in comparison to the rest of the list. The Hyundai i20 has slowly creeped alongside the competition in the supermini world since its launch and thanks to Hyundai’s hot versions, has gained a cult following.
There is a similar story to be told about the i20 as with the 500e. Good overall but lacking protection in the event of a side impact. Bad news if you’re hit by one and your head strikes the windscreen pillars though, as they are noted as being particularly stiff. If you are going to be hit by a Hyundai i20, make sure it hits your legs and pelvis as it got full marks for that.
Next up we have a hugely successful name revival from Ford. The Ford Puma may not be the coupe it once was but the British motorist seems to like that, as it has featured in the top 10 bestselling cars in the UK three years on the trot.
Judges weren’t impressed by the whiplash protection offered by the front seats but they were impressed by the whiplash protection in the back seats. Like the i20, the Puma suffered from stiff windscreen pillars but was commended for the ability to keep children safe in the back of the car.
You may need to take a moment to compose yourself with all of this excitement, but we are now approaching the current runner up. The Aygo X was launched by Toyota to replace the outgoing Aygo- brother to the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108. It looks very similar to the old Aygo but it’s now wearing some high heels.
The Aygo X scored well in the whiplash tests in the event of a rear-end shunt and a crash, it even has an eCall system which notifies the emergency services. To a ‘multi collision brake’ which means it applies the brakes when the Aygo X detects an impact so to avoid a secondary collision. Clever stuff.
The Polo has been around for decades now and there is a reason for that. It’s good. It isn’t going to blow you away and it has never been the cheapest option and yet it still wins acclaim amongst critics and sales from motorists.
The area in which the Polo differed from the other four is it’s ability to, “mitigate against occupant-to-occupant injuries”. Euro NCAP speak for, ‘it stopped people smashing into each other too much’. The Polo scored particularly well in protecting adult occupants- scoring a whopping 94% protection compared to the next best, the Aygo X at 78%, the Polo was leaps and bounds ahead.
The judges acknowledged the Autonomous Emergency Braking system and it’s ability to avoid collisions with both vulnerable road users (pedestrians and cyclists) as well as other vehicles.
Euro NCAP’s crackdown on stiff windscreen pillars has not left the Polo unscathed and this was an area in which the Polo could have improved.
Although the Volkswagen Polo came out on top, all of these superminis are great options to consider if you’re looking to add ‘safety’ to your list of specifications.
Superminis are often driven by first time drivers or the elderly. That means your teenage children or your OAP parents- so make sure you keep your loved ones safe and send them this list.
To make sure your loved ones stay safe on the road, check out the RAC Breakdown kits made for UK and European travel!