The Mercedes A-Class has been named the safest new car on sale in Britain by crash and consumer experts.
The compact executive hatch was given the WhatCar? Safety Award 2019 at this year’s ceremony – the first time a small family car has won the title.
The award is judged by a panel of experts, including WhatCar? staff and safety specialists from Thatcham Research.
The Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40 were named runners-up in the annual awards.
Bringing safety to the mass market
The A-Class was picked out for the title thanks to its ‘excellent performance’ across all judging categories and labelled one of the safest and most technologically advanced small family cars ever made.
It was the only car launched in 2018 to reach an overall Euro NCAP score of 90 per cent, for both crash protection and its crash avoidance technology.
Matthew Avery, director of research, Thatcham Research and Claire Evans, consumer editor, What Car with the Mercedes A-Class. Picture: Thatcham Research
Its Driving Assistant Plus package, which combines adaptive cruise control, lane centering, speed limit recognition and guided lane change functions, was also highlighted by the judges as one of the best available on the market.
Matthew Avery, What Car? Safety Award judge and director of research at Thatcham Research said: ‘The Mercedes A-Class was the year’s top performer in the world’s most exacting safety tests. It’s exciting to see one of 2018’s best-selling cars meet that challenge and shows that carmakers can deliver state-of-the-art safety for the mass market.’
The A-Class’s standard-fit autonomous emergency braking was singled out for particular praise, scoring 100 per cent in cyclist detection and 97 per cent in pedestrian detection.
Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car? commented: “The annual What Car? Car of the Year Awards cover every type of car, but safety is the one category that’s relevant to everyone. It’s therefore particularly exciting to see this award won by a model that millions of British motorists can afford.”
The second-placed Audi Q3 scored the second highest overall Euro NCAP score in 2018 but achieved the highest ‘safety assist’ score for helping avoid collisions in the first place.
It and the third-placed Volvo XC40 were praised for their systems to detect and protect vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians as well as their driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist.