Five shocking crash test failures from cars you see all the time

One of the major disadvantages of buying an older car is its performance in a crash scenario. With this in mind, here are five cars that spectacularly underperformed in Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) tests.

All of these cars were subject to the same test – a head on collision at 64 Km/h or 40mph, where 40% of the width of the car hits a deformable barrier.

Fiat Seicento

The pocket-sized Fiat Seicento might look cute but its performance in this particular crash test was anything but. This shocking performance earned the little Italian a one star rating (downgraded from an original 2 stars).

Nissan Almera

Another one star rating, this time for the Nissan Almera. When this car was first tested it suffered what Euro NCAP described as a ‘major seat belt failure’ – this then prompted a recall from Nissan. Even with that fault rectified, Nissan’s little family car still performed very, very badly and was even outperformed by the smaller Micra!

Citroen Saxo

The little Saxo and its sister car Peugeot’s 106 are not known for their strength in accidents and this recording from a test in 2000 shows that all too clearly. Yep, the Saxo showed all of the structural integrity of a soggy paper bag. It was enough to earn the car a two star rating, though.

Rover 100

The Rover 100/Metro demonstrates what is probably the most dramatic failure in this test. If there’s one car you don’t want to crash in then this is it. One star only.

BMW E36 3 series

Surely BMW’s beefy E36 saloon should outperform the likes of the above, right? Well, sadly not. Just like the other cars shown here, the E36’s cabin structure became unstable in the impact, leaving the occupants with the risk of a life-threatening chest injury and a good likelihood of serious knee, thigh and pelvis injuries to boot. Ouch.


It’s a pretty extreme test, and may not accurately represent a lot of real world collisions but it’s food for thought for any owners of these cars.

The flipside of all this is just how far cars have come in terms of safety. Head on over to the Euro NCAP YouTube channel and take a look at how even the smallest and cheapest of cars will greatly outperform these cars in the same test.