Reborn hatch punches above its weight in tougher, techier tests.

A CAR’S CRASH TEST performance is a matter of life and death, which safety body Euro NCAP has spent more than two decades assessing in its ever-evolving mission to raise standards. Its focus is increasingly turning to active safety: driver assistance technologies that aim to avoid a crash in the first place. New tests introduced for 2018 assess automated emergency braking systems, pedestrian and cyclist detection and lane-keeping devices.

The current Ford Focus is the biggest-selling UK car so far subjected to these 2018 regs. Euro NCAP’s secretary general Michiel van Ratingen notes: ‘The Focus delivers a very balanced package of driver assistance technologies,

with the capability to make journeys safer, while also ensuring the driver needs to remain alert and ready to take appropriate action in an emergency.’ The Focus scored a five-star rating – here’s how.

 

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Speed Sign Recognition
Displayed on the instrument panel (and the Focus’s optional head-up display system, keeping the driver’s eyeline higher), speed limit info – which can also be combined with a limiter – now counts towards a car’s NCAP score.

Autonomous Emergency Braking
The Ford’s automated braking ‘performed well’ in all NCAP test scenarios: approaching a slower-moving car both offset and directly behind, and closing on a braking car. The same tech also allows the convenience of Adaptive Cruise Control (pictured).

Pre-Collision Assist With Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection
Identifies and keeps a watching brief on walkers and cyclists in or near the road ahead. Should they step into your path and you don’t go for the brake, it can jump on the anchors for you. NCAP assesses it in darkness too.

Lane-Centring
If you don’t heed a warning triggered by the forward-facing camera that you’re drifting out of your lane, the system can apply torque to the steering to put you back in the middle of your lane.

The Testing Process
To impress NCAP, these safety features need to be standard, as on the Focus. Four disciplines-adult occupant crash safety, child occupant safety, vulnerable road user protection and safety assist systems-are assessed, then the scores totalled and turned into a star rating. Five stars means a car has good crash performance and is well-equipped with crash-avoidance tech.


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