Top 10 safest cars in India as rated by Global NCAP: Tata Punch mini-SUV tops the list with near-perfect score

Coinciding with its market launch, the Tata Punch mini-SUV has become only the fourth made-in-India vehicle (and the third Tata vehicle) tested by vehicle safety watchdog Global New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) to secure an impressive five-star rating in its crash tests. Under the #SaferCarsForIndia campaign – initiated to create awareness about the importance of making vehicles sold in the country safer – Global NCAP has conducted over 40 crashes in the last few years, and model scores have ranged from an abysmal zero stars to a genuinely impressive five stars. We’ve put together the highest scores registered by all models tested till date to bring you a list of the top 10 safest cars on sale in India as rated by Global NCAP.

Global NCAP has conducted over 40 crash tests as part of its #SaferCarsForIndia campaign till date. Image: Tech2/Amaan Ahmed

Top 10 safest cars in India as rated by Global NCAP: Three Indian models have secured a full five-star crash test rating; Renault Triber edges out Ford Aspire on the list. Image: Tech2/Amaan Ahmed

Of the 10 models listed here, four have secured a full five stars, while the remaining models have all racked up four stars. The vehicles listed here are ranked in order of their star ratings and their scores for adult occupant protection (AOP).

Tata Punch – 5 stars (AOP score: 16.45)

The Punch has become the third Tata model to secure five stars in Global NCAP crash tests. Image: Global NCAP

The Punch has become the third Tata model to secure five stars in Global NCAP crash tests. Image: Global NCAP

Following in the footsteps of the Nexon and the Altroz, the Tata Punch, too, has secured five stars for adult occupant protection and four stars for child occupant protection. The Punch registered an adult occupant protection score of 16.45 out of a possible 17 points, the highest of all vehicles tested by Global NCAP till date. Global NCAP subjected Tata’s smallest SUV yet to a frontal offset crash test at a speed of 64 kph, and in its report, noted the Punch provided good protection for the driver and front passenger’s head, neck, chest and knees. The Punch’s bodyshell was said to be stable and that it was ‘capable of withstanding further loadings’. The footwell area, too, was noted to be stable.

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Equally impressive is the Tata Punch’s child occupant protection score, which, at 40.89 points out of a potential 49, is second only to that of the Mahindra Thar (41.11 points). With the child seats for the three-year-old and 1.5-year-old dummies installed rearward facing with ISOFIX connectors and support leg, Global NCAP noted the ISOFIX anchors prevented excessive forward movement during the impact and offered good protection to the head and chest of both dummies.

Mahindra XUV300 – 5 stars (AOP score: 16.42)

The Mahindra XUV300 has registered the highest adult occupant protection score for any made-in-India model tested by Global NCAP till date. Image: Global NCAP

The Mahindra XUV300 has registered the highest adult occupant protection score for any made-in-India model tested by Global NCAP till date. Image: Global NCAP

Early in 2020, the Mahindra XUV300 became the third made-in-India vehicle to secure a full five stars in the Global NCAP crash tests. It registered the highest score for an Indian vehicle in the Global NCAP tests, notching up 16.42 points for adult occupant protection out of a potential 17. The compact SUV’s score for child occupant protection was high, too, as it scored 37.44 points out of a potential 49. As standard, the Mahindra XUV300 comes with two airbags, ABS, disc brakes for all four wheels, ISOFIX child seat anchorages, cornering brake control and front seatbelt pretensioners.

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Tata Altroz – 5 stars (AOP score: 16.12)

The Tata Altroz remains the only premium hatchback on sale in India to be awarded five stars by Global NCAP. Image: Global NCAP

The Tata Altroz remains the only premium hatchback on sale in India to be awarded five stars by Global NCAP. Image: Global NCAP

A little before the Mahindra XUV300’s results were published, the Tata Altroz had become the second Indian model to be awarded a five-star rating in the Global NCAP crash tests. Tata’s premium hatchback also managed an impressive 16.13 points out of 17 for adult occupant protection and secured 29 points out of 49 for child occupant protection. The bodyshell was rated ‘stable’ and capable of withstanding further load. The Altroz – which rivals the likes of the Maruti Suzuki Baleno and Hyundai i20 – packs two airbags, ABS and ISOFIX child seat anchorages as standard.

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Tata Nexon – 5 stars (AOP score: 16.06)

The Tata Nexon was the first made-in-India model to receive a full five stars from Global NCAP. Image: Global NCAP

The Tata Nexon was the first made-in-India model to receive a full five stars from Global NCAP. Image: Global NCAP

At the end of 2018, the Tata Nexon made history by becoming the first made-in-India model to secure a full five stars in the Global NCAP crash tests. Initially awarded a four-star rating, the Nexon’s final score was revised after it passed a side-impact test meeting UN95 side-impact protection requirements and was fitted with a seatbelt reminder system as standard. In addition to its score of 16.06 points out of 17 for adult occupant protection, the compact SUV also scored 25 points out of 49 for child occupant protection. Along with two airbags and ABS, the Tata Nexon also packs in electronic stability control, traction control, rollover mitigation and emergency brake assist as standard.

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Mahindra Marazzo – 4 stars (AOP score: 12.85)

The Mahindra Marazzo was the first MPV to secure four stars in Global NCAP's #SaferCarsForIndia crash tests. Image: Global NCAP

The Mahindra Marazzo was the first MPV to secure four stars in Global NCAP’s #SaferCarsForIndia crash tests. Image: Global NCAP

While it hasn’t been a roaring market success, the Mahindra Marazzo became the first Indian MPV to secure a four-star rating in the Global NCAP crash tests. It scored 12.85 points out of a possible 17 for adult occupant protection, which remains the highest AOP score till date for a four star-rated vehicle. For child occupant protection, the Marazzo scored an acceptable 22.22 points out of 49. Two airbags, ABS, ISOFIX child seat mounts and disc brakes for all four wheels are some essential safety features offered as standard on the Mahindra MPV.

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Volkswagen Polo – 4 stars (AOP score: 12.54)

The Volkswagen Polo was the first made-in-India car to receive four stars from Global NCAP. Image: Global NCAP

The Volkswagen Polo was the first made-in-India car to receive four stars from Global NCAP. Image: Global NCAP

Despite now being well over a decade old in its current form, the Volkswagen Polo remains in the top five safest cars on sale in India as rated by Global NCAP. Tested all the way back in 2014, the Polo had first received a zero-star rating, as the base model tested did not have any airbags. However, Global NCAP retested a model with two front airbags and revised the Polo’s rating, following which Volkswagen India made two airbags standard across the range. In addition to racking up 12.54 points on adult occupant protection, the Polo also scored three stars (29.91 points) for child occupant protection. The Polo gets two airbags and ABS as standard.

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Mahindra Thar – 4 stars (AOP score: 12.52)

The second-gen Mahindra Thar currently holds the highest score for child occupant protection of all models tested by Global NCAP so far. Image: Global NCAP

The second-gen Mahindra Thar currently holds the highest score for child occupant protection of all models tested by Global NCAP so far. Image: Global NCAP

Following a rousing reception in the market, the second-generation Mahindra Thar received another major image boost when it secured four stars in the Global NCAP crash tests towards the end of 2020. What’s worth noting is that while the three-door 4×4 picked up 12.52 points for adult occupant protection, it registered four stars with 41.11 points for child occupant protection – the highest score for any model Global NCAP has tested till date. The base AX Standard and AX variants – which were on offer at launch – have been discontinued, as they didn’t offer ISOFIX child seat mounts, three-point seatbelts for rear passengers and a roll cage, which would certainly have had a bearing on the Thar’s final rating. Those features are now available as standard, along with two airbags, ABS and electronic stability control.

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Tata Tigor – 4 stars (AOP score: ICE – 12.52/EV – 12)

The Tata Tigor EV Ziptron is the first electric car to be tested by Global NCAP. Image: Global NCAP

The Tata Tigor EV Ziptron is the first electric car to be tested by Global NCAP. Image: Global NCAP

On the same day the Tata Altroz was awarded a five-star rating, the Tata Tigor, too, received a major fillip in the form of a four-star rating in the Global NCAP crash tests. Undergoing a significant revision as part of the BS6 update, the Tigor got a new front-end designed to meet new safety requirements, and the compact sedan scored 12.52 points out of a potential 17 for adult occupant protection. Its child occupant protection score of three stars (34.15 points) was also impressive, considering the fact that it does not have ISOFIX child seat mounts as standard.

On 31 August, 2021, Global NCAP announced the updated Tata Tigor EV Ziptron, too, had secured four stars for adult as well as child occupant protection in its crash tests, registering an adult occupant protection score of 12 points out of a potential 17 and 37.24 points out of a potential 49 for child occupant protection, the latter being higher than the score for the combustion-engine model. Global NCAP also said that with the inclusion of a few more safety features, the Tigor EV would be eligible for an even higher rating.

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Tata Tiago – 4 stars (AOP score: 12.52)

Being largely identical to the Tigor, the Tata Tiago, too, was awarded an identical four-star rating in the Global NCAP crash tests. Tata’s entry-level hatchback was significantly redesigned as part of a midlife update that coincided with the implementation of BS6 emission norms and scored the same 12.52 points out of a potential 17 for adult occupant protection as the Tigor. The Tiago also gets dual airbags and ABS as standard but misses out on ISOFIX child seat anchorages. Despite this omission, it has scored the same three stars (34.15 points) for child occupant protection as the Tigor.

Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza – 4 stars (AOP score: 12.51)

The Vitara Brezza is the only Maruti Suzuki model to have received a four-star rating from Global NCAP. Image: Global NCAP

The Vitara Brezza is the only Maruti Suzuki model to have received a four-star rating from Global NCAP. Image: Global NCAP

The only model on this list from India’s biggest carmaker is the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza. A model that has enjoyed tremendous success since its launch with over six lakh units sold till date, the Vitara Brezza is the first and only Maruti Suzuki offering to have notched up four stars in the Global NCAP crash tests. It recorded 12.51 points out of 17 for adult occupant protection, and 17.93 points out of 49 for child occupant protection. As standard, the Brezza packs two airbags, ABS, ISOFIX child seat anchorages and front seatbelt pretensioners.

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Honourable mention: Renault Triber – 4 stars (AOP score: 11.62)

Global NCAP tested the Renault Triber in its most basic specification. Image: Global NCAP

Global NCAP tested the Renault Triber in its most basic specification. Image: Global NCAP

On 1 June, 2021, the seven-seat Renault Triber became the first model from the French carmaker – and only the second MPV sold in India – to be awarded a four-star rating in the Global NCAP crash tests. On the adult occupant protection front, the Renault Triber notched up a four-star rating, scoring 11.62 points out of a potential 17. As per Global NCAP’s report, the Triber – tested in its most basic specification with two airbags and ABS – provided ‘good’ protection to the driver and front passenger’s head, neck and knees. The Triber secured three stars for child occupant protection, scoring 27 points out of a potential 49 despite missing ISOFIX child seat mounts.

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(This list only comprises of vehicles currently on sale in India. Two more models – the Toyota Etios and Tata Zest – received four-star ratings from Global NCAP but have been discontinued.)