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The Nissan Qashqai is pound-for-pound the UK’s safest car in 2022
The Nissan Qashqai is pound-for-pound the UK’s safest car in 2022

Press release -

Nissan Qashqai sets the safety benchmark, winning What Car? Safety Award sponsored by Thatcham Research

  • Qashqai pips Polestar 2 and Skoda Enyaq to claim What Car? Safety Award
  • Versatile SUV achieves outstanding results in Euro NCAP testing
  • Popular family vehicle brings high-end safety to the mass market
  • Nissan’s safety-centric approach sends positive message to other carmakers

Nissan’s Qashqai is pound-for-pound the UK’s safest car in 2022. That’s the expert conclusion that independent testing organisation Thatcham Research has drawn after completing its judging for the coveted What Car? Safety Award.

Choosing a winner of the UK’s leading car safety award is a responsibility shared between Thatcham Research, Euro NCAP and What Car? journalists.

As a family SUV, the Qashqai was an outstanding performer during Euro NCAP’s most exacting safety assessments in 2021, a year in which 20 cars achieved the coveted five-star rating that manufacturers strive to secure.

Built in the UK, the Qashqai scored more than 90% in three out of four safety categories and its Safety Assist score is one of the highest ever recorded at 95%.

Experts were impressed by the Qashqai’s range of passive and active safety features, and the fitment of reverse AEB and centre side airbags – two newer innovations that are beginning to make a real difference to passenger and pedestrian safety.

Yet according to Matthew Avery, Thatcham Research’s Chief Research Strategy Officer, the most encouraging aspect is the popular Qashqai’s potential to bring high-end safety features to the mass-market without breaking the bank.

“The Qashqai is an affordable, family-focused SUV that is already popular with motoring consumers,” he said. “There were more than 29,000 new registrations in the UK last year alone, so it’s very encouraging to see this year’s safest car is also one many people already have on their driveways.

“The choice of Qashqai for the What Car? Safety Award fits perfectly with Thatcham Research’s focus on value-for-money cars that can help bring driving safety to the masses.”

Avery also believes Nissan is sending a positive message to other carmakers. “It is pleasing to see a manufacturer offering great safety features at a sensible price point. It shows that high-end safety needn’t be exclusive to high-end models, and that it’s possible to produce a lower-cost car without deselecting safety features.

“The car sector is hyper-competitive and other carmarkers will certainly be looking on with interest,” he said.

Runner-up in the Safety category for the What Car? Car of the Year Awards 2022 is the all-electric Polestar 2, closely followed by the Skoda Enyaq in third place.

“The Polestar 2 boasts a high level of safety and supports Over-The-Air updates giving it the potential to improve over time,” Avery explained.

“Skoda’s Enyaq is a family car with lots of room which was only outperformed in safety testing by much more expensive vehicles. EVs are the future and the Enyaq’s impressive performance shows the VW Group hasn’t compromised safety in favour of the environment.”

Watch Matthew Avery put the top-three cars through their paces on the Thatcham Research test track with What Car? journalist Chris Haining:

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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.

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Safer cars, fewer crashes...

As the UK's only insurer funded automotive research centre, Thatcham Research enjoy a wide remit at the forefront of the latest vehicle technology. Thatcham's leading work in vehicle safety and security has a vital role in shaping the designs of new vehicles, whilst the centre is also seen as a key industry player at the forefront of driving standards in vehicle body repair.

Thatcham's Crash Laboratory is the only official UK crash testing centre for consumer safety body Euro NCAP and are viewed as a centre of excellence when it comes to active vehicle safety, particularly the evaluation of new Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) which provide the foundation for future vehicle autonomy.

Enjoying an increasingly global influence in both the insurance and automotive sectors, Thatcham Research expertise is in great demand with a range of opinion leaders being regularly asked to provide their experience and know-how at high profile events and in the media, living up to their reputation as ‘Experts in Safety, Security and Crash Repair’.

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