The safest used cars to buy in 2019

by Aivaras Grigelevičius
December 21, 2018
by Aivaras Grigelevičius
December 21, 2018

As long as we don’t live in a perfect world, no one can ever feel completely secure on the road. You could be the most experienced and careful driver around the globe, but there are always much more factors like other road users, weather conditions, the quality of the road and so on.

However, automobile manufacturers are constantly improving cars safety and some technologies regularly become legally binding. The newer the model, the better it is equipped to handle or even avoid accidents.

Anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic stability programmes (ESP) and ISOFIX child-seat mounts are now mandatory equipment for new cars. Other features, for example, an autonomous emergency braking (AEB) or lane-departure warning systems are becoming more and more popular.

The independent organisation called the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) measures the safety of almost every new car model sold in Europe. Euro NCAP experts test and publish safety reports on new cars and give ratings based on the performance of the vehicles in a variety of crash tests and impacts with pedestrians. The top overall rating is five stars. You can read more about the tests and awards here.

According to Euro NCAP’s tests, made a list of the top 10 safest cars on sale. Safety TOP is dominated by Swedish, German and Japanese brands, but also includes a masterpiece of Italian mechanics.  

As the mentioned vehicles were presented to the market at least a year ago, today they have become the safest used cars to buy and to drive.

So, if you prefer safety, choose your favorite car from the list. But don’t forget to check it with carVertical car history report to make sure you buy it in a perfect condition.

All of the models in the chart of safest cars have the five-star rating and all of them were tested in 2016 and 2017. Older vehicles may still have high scores, but cannot be considered equivalent to the newest ones, because Euro NCAP standards evolve and become stricter over time.

1. Volvo XC60 SUV

Volvo brand and safety image have a long-term relationship which don’t deteriorate despite the fact that Swedish manufacturer is now owned by Chinese. The Volvo XC60 got the highest adult occupant protection score (98%) of any car tested by Euro NCAP in 2017. The model was also awarded 95% score for the long list of safety assistance technologies.

Key safety features:

  • Autonomous emergency brake assistance
  • Steer assist system – automatically helps to steer around obstacles identified in the car’s path.
  • Oncoming lane mitigation system – detects oncoming vehicles and can steer the car back into the lane if a potential head-on collision is identified.
  • Intellisafe Pro system – combines various systems and sensors to support a semi-autonomous driving system that can effectively drive the XC60 up to 130 km/h, although the system cannot execute lane changes.

2. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross SUV

This Mitsubishi SUV gained 97% Euro NCAP score for adult occupant protection. This was one of the highest rates in 2017, thus declaring Eclipse one of the safest cars for occupants today. On top of that, there’s also a long list of equipment intended to reduce the chances of an accident itself.

Key safety features:

  • Autonomous emergency braking (called Forward Collision Mitigation by the manufacturer)
  • Lane-departure warning
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Adaptive cruise control (for an automatic gearbox)

3. Volvo XC40 SUV

It seems the Volvo XC40 proudly follows the footsteps of its bigger brother XC60. According to Euro NCAP crash safety tests, XC40 is a class-leading for its occupants. It scores 97% for adult and 87% for children protection.

Key safety features:

  • City Safety autonomous emergency braking – watches out for pedestrians and cyclists as well as other cars.
  • Lane-keeping assistance – in addition to primary purpose, it also mitigates against the risk of oncoming traffic collisions and running off the road.
  • Driver fatigue alert – proposes to stop for a break if it notices the driver’s distractions or the person has been driving too long.
  • Cross-traffic, blind-spot and rear-collision warnings

4. Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV

Alfa Romeo’s debut into the SUV market reaches high safety standards immediately. Euro NCAP gave impressive scores for adult occupant (97%) and children protection (84%). Pedestrian protection was rated at 71%. Car’s safety assistance systems received a 60% score.

Key safety features:

  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Programmable speed limit into the cruise control system
  • Lane-departure warning is also standard

5. Volkswagen Arteon hatchback

First non-SUV on our list, the Volkswagen Arteon hatchback proves that luxury also means safety for Germans. After theirs exhaustive tests, Euro NCAP experts gave Arteon remarkable scores for adult occupant (96%), child occupant (85%) and even pedestrian protection (85%). The last one is a really impressive number.

Key safety features:

  • AEB automatic emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane-keeping assistance
  • Pedestrian monitoring system – alerts the driver if there are pedestrians at the side of the road. If needed, the Arteon’s bonnet will pop up to reduce head injuries for pedestrians.

Moreover, Arteon boasts an optional system that can sense if the driver is unable to drive anymore. If so, the car will turn on the hazard warning lights, slow the car down, steer into the slow lane and pull over to the side of the road (if it’s safe to do so).

6. Volkswagen T-Roc SUV

Volkswagen comebacks once again with a T-Roc SUV and it’s high safety ratings. Starting with a 96% Euro NCAP adult occupant protection score, it demonstrates 87% children protection rating which is among the best on the market.

Key safety features:

  • “Front assist” autonomous emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control – always keeps your car at a safe distance from the traffic ahead.
  • Pre-crash system – automatically tenses the front seatbelts and closes the electric windows and sunroof to protect occupants in the face of danger.

7. Volkswagen Polo hatchback

Maybe this lists starts reminding the Volkswagen’s internal Olympics of safety, but with 96% adult occupant protection score VW Polo deserves to be here. The VW supermini even receives a special honor award for its affordable price in comparison with other cars on this list which represent more luxurious classes.

Key safety features:

  • Autonomous emergency braking system
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Active cruise control – incorporates a stop-and-go function on cars with a DSG automatic gearbox, which helps in heavy traffic.

8. Volvo V90 estate (S90)

No surprises. The Volvo V90 estate and its counterpart S90 represent the traditional Volvo at its best. These large, ultra-safe cars gained 95% Euro NCAP rating for adult occupant protection, 80% for child occupants protection, 76% for pedestrians protection and 93% for safety assist.

Key safety features:

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane-keeping assistance (Volvo calls it Pilot Assist)
  • Oncoming Lane Mitigation – helps the driver to steer out of danger’s way if you’ve crossed over into oncoming traffic.
  • City Safe with Steer Assist – advanced automatic braking system which helps to detect and avoid collisions with pedestrians, cyclists and large animals at lower speeds.

9. Toyota C-HR SUV

The one and only Toyota on the list both looks and acts futuristically, including its safety technologies. Euro NCAP estimates 95% protection rating for adult and 77% for child occupants, as well as 76% for pedestrians and 78% for safety assistance.

  • Toyota’s Safety Sense pack – includes adaptive cruise control, automatic braking, pedestrian detection and lane-departure warning, etc.
  • Standard road-sign recognition
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Blind-spot monitoring

10. Mazda CX-5 SUV

One more Japanese car coronates our list with an impressive 96% Euro NCAP adult occupant protection rating. However, as all members of the list, Mazda is equipped with the most advanced crash-avoidance technologies in order to minimize the chance of an impact in the first place.

Key safety features:

  • Autonomous emergency braking – can be extended to work when reversing
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Lane-keeping assistance