Driving in a safe manner while following all traffic rules is the best way to avoid accidents on the road. Today’s safest cars have a host of features to keep passengers protected from collisions and to maintain control while driving. Seatbelts, airbags, antilock braking systems, electronic stability programs and overspeed warnings are some of the safety features that are mandatory on the safest cars in India.
Safety is high on the priority list of new car buyers; therefore, manufacturers are releasing new models that cater to these requirements. Car brands such as Tata, Mahindra, Honda, Toyota and Maruti Suzuki, rank high on safety ratings. Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) is a worldwide safety program that provides a safety rating out of 5 stars based on the safety technology, passenger protection and motor vehicle safety standards. Cars that receive the full 5-star safety rating are deemed to be the safest and bolster confidence in new car buyers.
Criteria used by Global NCAP to rate cars for safety
Indian roads are known for a large number of accidents involving vehicle collisions due to immense traffic, motorists disobeying driving rules, poor road conditions and unsafe vehicles. Road accidents often lead to fatalities especially since riders on two-wheelers fail to wear helmets, and car drivers don’t wear seatbelts. In fact, some older generation cars didn’t come equipped with seatbelts leaving drivers no recourse.
It is only in the past decade that Indian laws came into force, mandating that all new cars should be equipped with seatbelts, airbags and supplementary safety features in order to be road legal. Owning the safest cars in India is therefore mandatory and a crucial turning point in saving lives that would otherwise be in danger in our country. However, drivers need a standard assessment to decide on which car is safest for their families.
Global NCAP is a program started in the United States in 1978 in order to rate new cars on safety standards. The primary test involves a head-on collision simulation by driving a vehicle filled with crash test dummies into a deformable wall.
Worldwide, the vehicle is tested at a speed of 64 km/h, but in India, the vehicle is driven into the deformable wall at a speed of 56 km/h. The crash is analysed in terms of how well the vehicle retains its shape, whether the cabin is intact and the severity of the impact on the crash test dummies. High-end electronics, sensors and computer systems are placed around the crash site and on the cars to measure the automobile crash.
The vehicle receives a score out of 5 depending on how safe it is. A 5-star rating implies a safe car while a 1-star rating indicates a car that is unsafe for occupants. Further, the vehicle is evaluated in terms of adult occupant protection and child occupant protection. There is an extensive score card that is transcribed for each vehicle pertaining to each safety factor that has been analysed and evaluated.
The Global NCAP rating should help new car buyers decide on the safest cars in the world and narrow down their choices when buying a new car.
Safety features in cars
When you are in the market for a new car, it may be worth your time to choose a car with a good number of safety features. Safety equipment ensures the protection of the car, the safety of the occupants and peace of mind while driving. An accident could happen at any time, so it is best to be prepared for uncertain circumstances.
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Common safety features on vehicles include:
Driver and passenger side airbags – most new cars come with dual front airbags, while higher spec models are equipped with side airbags and curtain airbags that prevent injuries to driver and occupants during a collision.
ABS with EBD – antilock braking system with electronic brake force distribution helps keep a vehicle stable under braking and allows the driver to maintain control while avoiding an obstacle.
Seatbelts – these are a basic safety feature that keeps the occupants restrained in their seats when subject to G-forces during a collision
Impact sensing door locks – automatically locks the doors when a collision occurs to ensure the occupants remain inside the cabin
Rear parking sensors – provide the driver with a warning bell when obstacles block the rear of the vehicle while parking
Reverse parking camera – gives the driver a complete view of the rear through a camera which feeds to a screen on the dashboard
Overspeed warning – beeps when the vehicle exceeds 80 km/h and again at 100 km/h to warn the driver of over speeding
The safest cars in India
The trend has recently moved away from creature comforts, convenience features and style to vehicles big on safety, those most likely to save lives or prevent injuries in the event of an accident.
The following list describes the safest cars of India as per Global NCAP ratings.
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This compact SUV has a 5-star Global NCAP rating along with solid build quality and a reputation for being a safe car. It has the option of an automatic transmission, while the cabin is spacious enough for 5 adults. The average ex-showroom price for this compact SUV is Rs. 7.59 lakh.
The Tata Nexon provides adequate protection for driver and passengers because the body shell remains stable in the event of a crash. Added safety features include dual front airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchors, seatbelt pretensioners and advanced 4-channel ABS with EBD.
There are also Electronic Stability Programmes on offer that prevent loss of vehicle control under heavy braking or at high speeds. Included in these programmes are traction control, emergency brake assist, roll-over mitigation, hill-hold assist and connected features that report crashes.
Another safe car from the Tata stable, the Altroz received a 5-star safety rating for adult occupant protection and a 4-star safety rating for child occupant protection. Tata is known for building vehicles with a sturdy body shell, that protects driver and passengers in the event of a frontal or side collision. Safety features on the Tata Altroz include dual front airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, ISOFIX child seat anchors and 4-channel ABS.
Additional safety equipment on the Tata Altroz includes electronic brake force distribution, rear parking sensors with a reverse parking camera, tyre pressure monitoring system and voice alerts for unbuckled seatbelts and open doors. Another innovative safety feature on the Altroz is a centrally mounted fuel tank that is positioned to avoid impact during a collision.
The average ex-showroom price is Rs.6.29 lakh, with a petrol and diesel engine option. Altroz is also a Dual Clutch Transmission car on offer along with the standard 5-speed manual.
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The Tata Punch is regarded as one of the safest cars in India with a 5-star Global NCAP rating for adult occupant safety and 4-stars for child occupant safety. Standard safety features on the Tata Punch include dual front airbags, 4-channel ABS with EBD, ISOFIX child seat anchors, and seatbelt pretensioners available in a strong cabin that can withstand collision forces. It should be noted that the safety equipment is standard on almost all Tata products which is an indication of how serious Tata takes safety measures.
In addition to the mentioned safety equipment, the Punch also gets automatic headlamps, reverse parking sensors and camera, traction control, rain-sensing wipers and brake sway control (to keep the vehicle in a straight line while braking). There are also connected car features that report crashes and offer up to 27 additional safety features.
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Mahindra XUV 300
The Mahindra XUV 300 is one step behind the ultra-safe Tata vehicles. It scored a full 5-star Global NCAP rating for adult safety and child protection. After collision tests, it was discovered the Mahindra XUV 300s body shell remained intact and stable with good overall protection for the driver and passenger.
The XUV 300 was crash tested at 64 km/h and didn’t undergo any major deformation in the cabin. Some of the safety features available on the XUV 300 include dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, rear parking sensors with reverse camera, seatbelt pretensioners, auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlamps, hill-start and hold assist, rain-sensing wipers and electronic traction control.
The XUV 300 is the perfect choice for those in the new car market with the safest car in India on their mind. The average ex-showroom price is Rs. 8.41 lakh and the spacious cabin can seat 5 adults in safety. The XUV 300 has the added safety advantage of having side impact beams, front impact beams, child safety locks and central locking.
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Mahindra XUV 700
Another SUV from the Mahindra line-up is the Mahindra XUV700 which has received a 5-Star Global NCAP safety rating for adult occupant protection. In the child safety department, it scored 4-stars. The top-spec version of the Mahindra XUV 700 comes equipped with 7 airbags, curtain airbags, and one airbag for the driver’s knees. The body shell proved to be extremely stable in the event of a collision and provided protection for the driver and passengers.
The unique feature of the XUV 700 is an advanced driver assistance program (ADAS) that features automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and assist, front collision warning and steering assist with a smart pilot program. The XUV 700 is available from an average ex-showroom price of Rs. 13.45 lakh and has both petrol and diesel engines on offer. There is also a torque converter automatic available. The only downside of its flex-free cabin is the firm ride quality and stiff suspension that although aids safety, feels a lot like a tank.
As per India’s national statistics on road safety, there are nearly 4 lakh road accidents leading to more than 1.5 lakh fatalities on average every year. This is seen as a poor track record for road safety mainly due to non-adherence to traffic rules, inadequate safety equipment in vehicles, dangerous road conditions and overcrowded lanes.
Over-speeding is also a major cause of road accidents in the country which has urged manufacturers to equip new cars with some of the world’s most advanced safety features. Global NCAP standards also urge manufacturers to build safer cars and offer the driver and passengers a host of safety features to keep them protected on the road.
Today it is common to find even entry-level, safe cars in India under 5 lakhs offering dual airbags, ABS with EBD, child seat anchors and child safety locks. It is advisable to purchase these safety options when buying a new car because it goes a long way in saving lives and preventing injuries. In many cases, the cars are also saved from major damage in an accident due to their advanced chassis designs, strong build quality and sturdy materials used in their construction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Which is the safest car in India?
Ans. Cars that receive a 5-star rating in Global NCAP ratings are deemed safe cars. Some of the safest cars in India with a 5-star rating include the Mahindra XUV 300, Tata Altroz, Tata Nexon and VW Polo (although the Polo is currently out of production in 2022).
Q2. What are the safest cars in India under 5 lakhs?
Ans. Some of the safest cars in India under 5 lakhs include the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R, which comes with dual airbags, front seat belt reminders, ABS with EBD and rear parking sensors. The Wagon R is built with high-tensile steel architecture on the advanced Heartech platform which is a sturdy and strong chassis. The average ex-showroom price of the Wagon R is under Rs.5 lakh, which makes it an affordable entry-level hatchback that can be considered one of the safest cars in India under 5 lakhs. Other safe cars in this price range are the Hyundai Santro, Hyundai Grand i10 Nios, Tata Tiago (Tata is known for its safe cars), Maruti Suzuki Ignis, Renault Triber, Maruti Suzuki Celerio and the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso.
Q3. Are cars with ABS and EBD considered safe?
Ans. Anti-lock Braking systems and Electronic Brake Force Distribution help the driver steer the car around an obstacle without locking up the wheels under a braking procedure. EBD applies the right braking force to each wheel keeping the vehicle stable and preventing loss of control. These two braking technologies make a vehicle safe.