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Vehicle research centre backs calls to simplify safety jargon to help second hand car buyers

As the UK’s top 10 ‘Safest Used Family Cars 2016’ are revealed by Co-op Insurance, safety experts at Thatcham Research back fresh calls to make safety information more accessible to car buyers.

Revealing the UK’s safest used family car as the Volvo V40 (with safety pack), the Co-op Insurance research confirmed that whilst car buyers view safety as very important, they are increasingly left confused and disengaged. The confusion is thought to stem from a rise in safety jargon, with a third of consumers calling for a motoring equivalent of the ‘homebuyers report’ but for car safety, and 63% wanting clear safety information included in all car documentation at the point of purchase

“The real world benefits of life-saving, crash prevention technologies are without question, but if we’re to make progress on reducing the 100,000 rear end crashes that we see on UK roads each year, demystifying safety and empowering the consumer at the buying stage is imperative,” said Matthew Avery, Head of Research at Thatcham Research.

“The more safety technology is fitted as standard on new cars in the first place, the better used cars buyers will be able to access it,” added Avery. “In the meantime, simplifying and making information about safety features more widely available has to be the key.”

Thatcham Research’s three key pieces of advice for used car buyers are:

1. Check what Euro NCAP safety rating the car has. This gives a guide on the crash worthiness of the car and its ability to avoid a crash in the first place. A 5 Star rating is what you should be looking for.

2. Does it have AEB (autonomous emergency braking) fitted? AEB monitors the traffic conditions ahead and automatically brakes the car in an emergency situation if the driver fails to respond. It is proven to prevent crashes and widely available on used cars post 2008

3. What additional safety features are available? Look for cars with an additional safety pack including technologies like Lane Keep Assist to actively help you stay in lane. Active Cruise Control (ACC) that takes the burden of long journeys by keeping you at a safe distance from the car in front. Driver Monitor Systems to stop you falling asleep at the wheel and High Beam Assist to automatically dip your headlamps. And for your most valuable passenger, ISOFIX child seats to assist with buckling and unbuckling.

“Co-op Insurance’s Safest Used Family Car list shows that the latest safety technologies are within reach of most families for under £15.000, and are not reserved for those with the deepest pockets or only available on new cars. The Top 3 cars, the Volvo V40, Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Qashqai are fantastic choices, and that by asking the right questions and choosing the right safety features before they buy, motorists can help safeguard themselves and other road users,” summarised Avery.

UK's Top 10 Safest Used Family Cars

Make and ModelYear
1Volvo V40*2012
2Volkswagen Golf2012
3Nissan Qashqai*2014
4Peugeot 3082013
5Vauxhall Astra2015
6Mazda 32013
7Mercedes A Class2012
8Honda Civic2012
9Mazda CX-52012
10Fiat 500L2014

* with safety pack

For the full awards criteria alongside a commentary on the Top 3, see related document below.

Related links



Thatcham Research is the independent voice of automotive safety & 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’.

As well as its world leading crash and track research, Thatcham Research tests and accredits crash repair parts, vehicle repair technicians, and a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.

A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham 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

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’.

Thatcham Research
Colthrop Way
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