Connect with us


Finding The Safest Small Car: A Buyer’s Guide

With petrol prices high and parking spaces limited, small cars offer an excellent option for town and city drivers. But how should buyers go about picking the safest ones on the market?
If you live in a built-up urban area, then unless you have a large family the chances are you won’t want a car that’s too big. As well as saving money on petrol (and saving carbon emissions while you’re at it) there’s the space it takes up on the road and in tight parking spots to worry about.
City cars, superminis and small family cars are therefore a good choice: but they’re also traditionally seen as less safe and sturdy than bigger, bulkier vehicles: many of which, like SUVs and Range Rovers, are now a common sight on town and city roads. There are several things to bear in mind when choosing a small car based on safety and other factors.

A good place to start is with the NCAP ratings. Although the European Union sets minimum safety standards for all cars sold in Britain and Europe, the European New Car Assessment Programme standards go beyond these and offer consumers a high level of detail. Each car is given an overall rating out of five, which can be broken down into scores for adult protection, child protection and pedestrian protection.
Rather than comparing smaller, lighter cars against bigger, heavier ones — which will obviously come out better in a crash between the two — NCAP compares the relative safety of cars within each of these categories. So, if you’ve already decided to buy a small car, you can use these results to see which ones are the safest on the market. NCAP state that ‘Car buyers wanting the highest level of safety should look for cars with a five-star rating.’

At the time of writing, the five-star ratings for 2012 and for 2013 so far in the supermini category include Renault Captur, Zoe and Clio, Ford Fiesta and Peugeot 208. In the small family car category, all 15 models assessed achieved a five-star rating in 2012’s round of tests.
NCAP’s ratings cover new cars, so it won’t always be easy to tell how safe a car still is if you’re buying it second-hand and it has a few years’ worth of mileage on the clock. In these situations it’s worth considering carrying out a safety check, for instance on the condition of the lights, suspension, brakes, tyres and windscreen. Thankfully there are plenty of resources both online and offline that will help you check the health of your car windscreen to assess potential repairs and replacements.
It’s good to know that you’re in a car that will offer you maximum safety in the event of a crash: but it’s better not to get into a crash in the first place. Feeling in control of the car is therefore important too, so it’s worth looking into how well the car handles and how powerful it is when you’re driving out of town (which can be an issue for some small cars on the motorway).
Since 2010, NCAP have also commended cars with advanced safety features — like blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning systems and autonomous emergency braking — so if the car you’re looking at has any of these on board, it’s a good sign.
As well as safety, there are of course several other criteria to weigh up when buying a small car. Cost might seem the most obvious one, but the cost isn’t always quite the same as the price when depreciation and running costs are taken into account. It’s worth doing some research on the small cars that hold their value better than others, as well as noting how many miles to the gallon you’ll get.
Even if you think you’re making a good investment, there are also insurance costs to consider. For instance, Minis look great and hold their value well, but can have significantly higher premiums than other city cars.
Bear all of this in mind and you can rest assured you’re getting a safe small car for good value. The next question is: where will the road take you?

Featured images:

License: Creative Commons
image source
License: Creative Commons
image source
Iain Aitchison is an avid motorist and automotive enthusiast. He blogs regularly for a range of sites on the topics of car modification, buyer’s guides and industry news.

Continue Reading

Recent Posts

Home Improvement3 weeks ago

How To Add More Value To Your Home

If you have some spare cash in the bank, it is likely you would like to spend it on your...

Lifestyle4 weeks ago

What is a Deep Plane Facelift

Cosmetic surgery is a choice that needs a lot of research and when it comes to thinking about a facelift...

Entrepreneur4 weeks ago

Unveiling the Demand for Digital Marketing Courses: A Comprehensive Analysis

In recent years, the realm of marketing has undergone a seismic shift propelled by the digital revolution. As businesses increasingly...

Home Improvement1 month ago

What Does an Effective Wardrobe Spring Clean Entail?

Spring is upon us which means one thing and one thing only. It is time for the annual purge of...

Business3 months ago

Your Basic Guide To Creating A Unique Investment Blog

Starting your own blog is great and once you get the ball rolling, it can be a good passive income...

Business3 months ago

3 Low-Risk Ways To Get Your New Business Started

Once you’ve got an initial business idea and believe that it will be a success, there are some basic things...

Lifestyle3 months ago

Conquering the Co-free Zone: Tips for Thriving as a Remote Worker

Adjusting to an office environment can come with its downfalls in the sense that it might be a shock to...

General4 months ago

3 Ways To Take Control Of Your Finances Starting Now

If your finances have taken over and are bringing stress to your life, we understand just how overwhelming it can...

Travel6 months ago

Best Places To Visit In The North Of England

If you live in England, you will know there are many different places to visit for the weekend. There are...

General6 months ago

Green Home Improvement Ideas

In a world where environmental concerns are growing, the concept of “green” has gone beyond a trendy catchphrase and is...

Lifestyle6 months ago

How to Host an Unforgettable House-Warming!

The time has finally come. You have moved into your dream pad, and are officially adulting in your very own...

Autos6 months ago

A Guide to Parking Lot Striping

The journey to a well-striped parking lot begins with the right paint. In this brief guide, we’ll unravel the mystery...

Business9 months ago

Business Tips For Protecting Your Finances During A Recession

In 2023, taking the necessary steps to protect your finances for your business is now more important than ever. The...

Lifestyle9 months ago

Tips For Cleaning Your Trainers

If you’re into your trainers and streetwear, you’re likely to be very conscious of keeping them looking their best! So,...

Marketing10 months ago

Branding Trends For Start-Ups in 2023

Branding is incredibly important as it impacts how your business reaches and connects with its target market. If you’re branding...