In the last 20 years vehicle safety has improved dramatically – crash tests are ever more stringent and most buyers factor in safety ratings before purchasing their new car. We're a long way from the seminal crash test of 1997 that put the Euro NCAP crash test on the map and spelled the end of the road for the venerable Rover 100/Metro. 

Despite the advances that have been made, though, some cars still fail to scrape a four or five star rating from the rigorous crash testers at Euro NCAP.

We decided to take a look at some of the least safe cars that are still on sale in the UK – there are some surprising entries in there, it's a sober reminder of the importance of doing your research when you're buying a new car, don't get sucked in by the plethora of deals and offers that car makers use to lure you in.

The first half of our top 10 looks at cars with low ratings, but when we get to the second half of the list it's somewhat frustrating to see that each of the five cars is entirely capable of higher safety ratings, but only if the buyer forks out for optional safety features.

It's an appropriate moment to look at the topic, given that MEPs in the European parliament have recently called for emergency braking systems to be made compulsory fitting on all new cars. Watch this space.

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