Thatcham Research, in partnership with What Car?, has named the Toyota Prius the safest car of 2017.

Winning this year’s top What Car? Safety Award, Toyota was praised for its unceasing commitment to safety, with many advanced driver assistance systems fitted to the Prius as standard.

Peter Shaw, Chief Executive at Thatcham Research said: “Cars are becoming safer every year and 2016 saw some big movement in active safety systems being brought into more mass market vehicles. All ten vehicles considered by the judges featured Pedestrian AEB as standard. Alfa Romeo, Audi, Ford, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, Peugeot, Renault, Seat and Volkswagen therefore all deserve high praise for raising the bar in standardised safety. However, this year’s stand out winner is the Toyota Prius, which really went the extra mile in affordable, standard safety tech.”

The Prius scored highly in all areas of testing, impressing the judges with its class-leading Reverse AEB system in particular. Pedestrian AEB, Road Sign Assist, Lane Support and Head-Up Display are also fitted as standard across all variants.

Matthew Avery, Director of Safety Research at Thatcham Research said: “Reverse AEB is currently only available on around half a dozen cars worldwide and Toyota is the first to fit this class-leading technology as standard, along with a host of other transformative safety tech. Safety is ingrained in Toyota DNA; all models in recent years achieved a Five-Star Euro NCAP score. The Prius however goes one step further, achieving the highest overall Euro NCAP result of 2016. This award recognises Toyota’s outstanding commitment to safety, going above and beyond current testing criteria, especially with regard to its high performance Reverse AEB system. Safety should not have to come at a premium and the Prius is a great example of a relatively inexpensive car which features a vast amount of safety tech as standard.”

Thatcham Research urges buyers to always opt for a Five-Star Euro NCAP rated car and to look to safety packs to enhance protection.