The Mercedes A-Class is one of the safest and most technologically advanced small family cars ever, according to judges who awarded it the What Car? Safety Award 2019.

The winning car was the only car launched in 2018 to reach an overall Euro NCAP score of 90%, for both the protection it offers in the event of a crash and its crash avoidance technology. Judges described its “Driving Assistant Plus” package, which combines adaptive cruise control, lane centering, speed limit recognition and guided lane change functions, as one of the best available on the market.

“The Mercedes A-Class was the year’s top performer in the world’s most exacting safety tests,” said Matthew Avery, What Car? Safety Award judge and Director of Research at Thatcham Research. “It’s exciting to see one of 2018’s best-selling cars meet that challenge and shows that carmakers can deliver state-of-the-art safety for the mass market.”

Euro NCAP results for the Mercedes Benz A-Class:

Adult Occupant Protection = 96% / Child Occupant Protection = 91% / Vulnerable Road Users = 92% / Safety Assist = 75%

An additional Driving Assistant Plus package is available that helps keep the car in the centre of a lane and accelerates and brakes automatically to maintain a safe distance to the vehicle in front.

“We have raised concerns around the potential for driver over-reliance on some of these systems, however this is one of the best on the market,” said Avery. “It’s intuitive and easy to use, working quietly in the background to support the driver, without taking too much ownership away. Its ability to identify roundabouts and junctions and slow the car accordingly is also impressive, along with its Active Lane Changing function. Crucially, the system doesn’t disengage should the driver need to take over the steering, continuing to aid in the driving task.”

According to What Car? the second safest car of the year is the Audi Q3, with the second highest overall Euro NCAP score (87%) of the cars tested in 2018. In third place is the Volvo XC40, which achieved the best Adult Occupant Protection score (97%) of any car tested in 2018.