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Top 10: Euro NCAP family car results

The European New Car Assessment Programme (or Euro NCAP for short) was launched in 1997 to independently test the safety and crashworthiness of new cars, initially awarding each car a maximum of five stars for adult occupant protection and four for pedestrian safety.

We’ve already taken a look at the results of ’90s superminis, so now’s the turn of that era’s family cars. These are the mid-range saloons and hatchbacks that pounded the motorways throughout the late ’90s and beyond, popular with family car buyers and company sales reps alike. So which ones were the safest according to Euro NCAP? Read on to find out…

By Paul Guinness, Contributor

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BMW 3-Series (E36)

Tested by Euro NCAP late in its career was the 1991-98 (E36 generation) BMW 3-series, the best-selling ‘premium’ saloon in the UK at the time. It managed to score a class average of two stars (out of four) for pedestrian protection, but adult occupancy safety was rated at a rather lowly 1.5 stars, with Euro NCAP reporting that the cabin ‘became structurally unstable during the frontal impact and the driver ran a risk of life-threatening chest injury’. In terms of safety, the E36 was showing the age of its design by 1997.

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