Based in Leuven, Belgium, the European New Car Assessment Programme (or Euro NCAP) is a European rating system designed to help inform consumers about the safety aspects of a vehicle. Vehicles are put through a battery of tests and evaluated using a 5-star rating system (with 5 being the highest) to indicate a model’s safety performance relative to vehicles of similar classification. Tests are less focused on specific safety features (e.g. how modern the airbag system is in a particular car) and emphasises impact mitigation effects in different crash scenario (how well does the airbag system protect a passenger).
Before Euro NCAP, little information was available on how safe a car was, relative to one another. In the UK, the single metric of safety was a 48 km/h (30 mph) frontal crash test. When Euro NCAP celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017, it had published more than 630 safety ratings and saving an estimated 78,000 lives.