How Safe is Your Car?


Welcome to The Dog & Lemon Guide crashtest information site. This information is supplied according to the country where the vehicle was tested. Not all countries have the same safety standards or the same testing procedures, so results may vary.

To continue, please click on the country flag where your vehicle was tested.


What is a "safe vehicle"?

There are two main ways of testing the safety of a vehicle: crashtests and real-life crash evaluations.



In a modern crashtest, scientists bang a vehicle into a solid object (or vice versa) then estimate the chances of the occupants dying or being injured. However, in actual road smashes the driver of a smaller (lighter) vehicle is far more likely to die than the driver of the larger (heavier) vehicle it collides with. Vehicles evaluated in crashtests can only be compared to vehicles of similar weight. Crash two vehicles of similar weight together and the one with the better safety features is usually the winner. Take a smaller safe car and a larger safe car, however, and the larger vehicle will usually win even if it lacks many modern safety features. In single-vehicle crashes (i.e., where you hit something other than another car), larger vehicles also tend to do better than smaller vehicles because they are usually stronger and have more space at the front and back of the vehicle. However, a single-vehicle accident that involves the vehicle hitting a solid object such as a tree, bank or lamp post head-on is likely to injure or protect that vehicle's frontal occupants in a very similar way to the predicted injuries in that vehicle's crashtest. When comparing the safety of various crashtested vehicles, you must compare vehicles of similar weight (within 200kg). Older tests are still valid, but only when compared against other tests of the same type at the same time. A "safe" vehicle of 1994 is far safer than an "unsafe" one of 1994, but designs are improving all the time, and it's probably nowhere near as safe as the equivalent current model. In fact it would struggle to pass any current crashtest. Although there are some European cars that had good crashworthiness earlier, most mass-market manufacturers only really got their safety act together from the late-1990s onwards. Before this time, most passenger cars, especially small ones, were a fairly serious safety risk compared to current models.

Real-life crash evaluations.

Around the world, scientists examine the outcome of real-life accidents, then publish lists of the vehicles that consistently win or lose. Although there is a close correlation between crashtests and real-life accidents, in some cases crashtests and real-life accidents contradict each other because the reality of road crashes is that the bigger vehicle usually wins ­ - unless it bangs into an immovable object such as a wall, lamppost, rock or bank, in which case the weight tends to count against you.