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The Hyundai NEXO in the Euro NCAP pole crash test
The Hyundai NEXO in the Euro NCAP pole crash test

Press release -

Hyundai in its element as hydrogen-powered NEXO scores five-star Euro NCAP safety rating

  • Hyundai NEXO dispels safety concerns around hydrogen-powered cars
  • Mercedes A-Class praised for “democratising safety for the compact class”
  • Mazda 6 and Lexus ES awarded five-star Euro NCAP ratings
  • Peugeot Rifter, Citroën Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo ‘triplets’ given four-star ratings

Results from the latest batch of vehicles to be tested by Euro NCAP and its partners have been announced today. Cars from Hyundai, Lexus, Mazda and Mercedes-Benz all achieved five-star Euro NCAP ratings for safety, with Peugeot / Citroën / Vauxhall's five-door MPV taking home a four-star rating.

In this group of five and four-star rated cars, the Hyundai NEXO was singled out for praise by experts. Matthew Avery, Director of Research, Thatcham Research comments, “The Hyundai NEXO is the first hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle that Euro NCAP has tested. Its five-star safety rating should dispel concerns around how hydrogen fuel cell powered cars perform in a crash. With the NEXO, Hyundai have successfully demonstrated that alternative fuelled vehicles need not pose a risk to car safety.”

A-Class act

Avery also praised the performance of the Mercedes A-Class, “Mercedes is democratising safety for the compact class. The A-Class showed top performance across the board – rating highly on passive and active safety protection.”

In addition, both the Hyundai NEXO and Mercedes A-Class are available off the forecourt with Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems which can detect pedestrians and cyclists. “The AEB systems in both vehicles responded well to Euro NCAP’s new, more rigorous testing. Its pleasing to see that carmakers across all categories are stepping up and working with Euro NCAP to do more to protect our most vulnerable road users,” said Avery. 

Five-star luxury

In the large family car segment, the Mazda 6 and Lexus ES scored five-star Euro NCAP safety ratings. The Mazda 6 achieved one of the highest percentages seen this year for Adult Occupant Protection (95%), beaten only by the 2018’s top performer for safety, the Volvo XC40 (97%). “Mazda deliver on safety consistently,” said Avery.

The Peugeot / Citroën / Vauxhall triplets

The Peugeot Rifter, Citroën Berlingo and Vauxhall Combo ‘triplets’ – three identical vehicles whose ratings were based on tests of the Peugeot Rifter – were awarded four-stars. “The Peugeot Rifter and its twins offer very good levels of protection to the driver in an impact, but the focus on Vulnerable Road User protection was not keen enough to merit a full five-star Euro NCAP rating,” said Avery. 

As such, the Euro NCAP report highlighted overall marginal performance for the car’s AEB systems – which did not respond well to faster-moving road users like cyclists.


Of the cars tested by Euro NCAP the Mercedes A-Class and Hyundai NEXO have ‘Highway Assist’ options. Highway Assist technologies combine Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Centring and Speed Assist Systems to support drivers in driving situations on motorways. These systems were assessed for the first time by Euro NCAP recently, to help consumers better understand the limits of the systems and to not over-rely on them.

Both cars were considered to offer a good balance of support, “with little risk of driver over-reliance on the system(s).”

For more detail, see Euro NCAP’s Automated Driving assessments of the Hyundai NEXO and Mercedes A-Class – which has the same Highway Assist system as the Mercedes C-Class.


Thatcham Research is the independent voice of automotive safety, security & repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs and to realise the vision of ‘Safer cars, fewer crashes’, while driving standards in vehicle security.

As well as its world leading crash and track research, Thatcham Research develops repair methods amongst a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

In addition, Thatcham Research has administered the Association of British Insurer’s (ABI) Group Rating system for the past 50 years. Group Rating is an advisory system intended to provide insurers with the relative risk of private cars and light commercial vehicles.

A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham Research has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since 2004.


Tom Flisher

Tom Flisher

Press contact PR Manager 07876 755 615
Stewart Mitchell

Stewart Mitchell

Press contact PR Executive PR and communication
Max Norstrom

Max Norstrom

Press contact PR Executive

Thatcham Research: Automotive Risk Intelligence

Thatcham Research is the automotive risk intelligence company dedicated to understanding the opportunities and risks of new vehicle technology and supporting our partners in identifying the best strategies for its safe, secure, and sustainable adoption.

The independent voice of automotive safety, security, and repair, we work in close partnership with insurers, vehicle manufacturers, technology providers and government, providing rigorous engineering-grade research and data to help minimise uncertainty presented by changes in technology and regulation.

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