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The Volvo V40 City Safety System (Image Credit: Volvo UK)

If you're in the market for a new car or van, safety should be on the top of your list. Luckily, the lovely people at Euro NCAP can help. In 2014, Euro NCAP carried out numerous tests in various categories in order to determine the safest cars in each category so potential drivers can make an informed decision before they will buy their new car. 

For those that don't know, Euro NCAP is a European car safety performance assessment program based in Brussels. The organisation is responsible for carrying out an assessment for almost every new car and van and at  the end, give a rating to each vehicle out of five stars.

Euro NCAP has designed a wide range of tests that represent real life car accidents that could provoke serious injuries and even cost the life of the passengers and pedestrians. According to Euro NCAP, the star rating depends not only on the performance of the vehicle during the tests but also the safety equipment that the car manufacturer is providing to all customers as standard. 

The main categories that Euro NCAP focus are:

• Adult protection

• Child protection

• Pedestrian safety

• Safety assist systems

Want to know what the safest cars are? Auto Express collated the 2014 Euro NCAP test results to find out which are the safest cars. Check them out below...

Safest Small Family Car: Volvo V40

Volvo has always had a reputation for building good quality and safe cars. No surprise then that the Volvo V40 was voted the safest small family car, achieving the best score ever in the Euro NCAP rating. 

The Volvo V40 is available to lease with Nationwide Vehicle Contracts.

Safest Small SUV: Vauxhall Mokka

Giving popular rivals such as Nissan Juke, Skoda Yeti and Dacia Duster a run for their money in the small SUV category is the Vauxhall Mokka. The Vauxhall Mokka proved its excellent sfaety performance during the NCAP tests by scoring 100% in the Safety Assist Category.

Lease the Vauxhall Mokka with Nationwide Vehicle Contracts.

Safest executive car: BMW 5 Series

With a strong rival such as the Maserati Ghibli, the BMW 5 Series was nominated as the safest executive car for 2014. The BMW 5 Series comes equipped with six airbags and stability control, with plenty of additional safety options at reasonable prices.

Find out more about the BMW 5 Series.

Safest Large Family Car: BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series was nominated as the safest car by Euro NCAP in the large family car category. With its strong dynamics, spacious cabin and sharp style, the BMW 3 Series doesn't just look good - it can also help to protect you and your family during a potential car accident.

You can check it out here.

Safest Small MPV : Citroen C4 Picasso 

For those that are looking for a safe, stylish MPV, then the Citroen C4 Picasso is the car for you. The popular Citroen C4 Picasso achieved a great Euro NCAP score against its rivals, claiming top sopt in the safest small MPV list.

For more information about the Citroen C4 Picasso, visit Nationwide Vehicle Contracts.

Safest Large SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe

Appropriate for big families, the stylish Hyundai Santa Fe was nominated as the safest car in the large SUV category.

With its super spacious cabin, strong engines and high quality of equipment, the Hyundai Santa Fe  promises you not only a comfortable ride but also a safe one.

Safest Supermini Car: Renault Clio

The popular model Renault Clio achieved the best rating in the Euro NCAP tests in the Supermini category, with incredibly high scores in both safety assist and crash protection categories. 

With its distinctive style, high quality of interior equipment and safety features, it is no surprise the Renault Clio is a popular lease choice against rivals such as the Ford Fiesta.  

The Renault Clio available to lease with Nationwide Vehicle Contracts. 

Safest Van: Ford Transit Custom

Finally, LCV drivers will be interested to hear that the safest van/people carrier according to Euro NCAP test is the Ford Transit Custom.  

With its 2.2 TDCI engine and CO2 emissions as low as 172g/km delivers power and performance when you need it most, delivering not only a comfortable ride, but a safe one too.

Have a look at the Ford Transit Custom range here.