The new Nissan Leaf has achieved a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, despite the introduction of a tougher automatic braking test.

As part of the European crash test board’s push to improve safety technology in cars, the organisation changed the criteria to include a test of cyclist detection for the car’s automatic emergency braking (AEB) system.

Other tweaks include testing of pedestrian detection in varying light conditions, as well as a test of emergency lane-keeping systems, which automatically take control of the vehicle if it is in danger of leaving the road or colliding with another car.

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The Leaf, which was tested in mid-range Acenta trim, scored an impressive 93 percent for adult occupant protection, as well as 71 percent for safety assist features and protection of ‘vulnerable road users’.

Euro NCAP noted that the protection of the front passenger was rated ‘good’ for all critical body parts, although the driver protection was rated ‘adequate’ for the body, head and lower legs.

Nissan’s second-generation electric vehicle also missed out on points for safety assistance because of a lack of seatbelt detection for rear-seat passengers, while the testers noted that the lane support system needed to be switched on by the driver, rather than being a default feature.

The Leaf was the first car to be tested under the new criteria, which Euro NCAP claims will help ‘ensure that new vehicles offer the latest and best safety technology’.

Michiel van Ratingen, secretary general of Euro NCAP, said: ‘These latest updates in Euro NCAP's active safety testing focus on both the protection of those inside the car and those who share road-space with it. 

‘Our new assessments demonstrate the increasing level of sophistication that can be achieved by connecting various sensor systems installed on the vehicle. As the cost of these systems drops and computing capabilities increase, standard vehicles will soon become able to help prevent significantly more complex real-life crashes. 

Nissan LEAF -Euro NCAP Crash Test 2018

‘Euro NCAP seeks to encourage this trend and in the context of a safe systems approach, will continue to challenge auto makers to deliver the highest levels of safety performance as standard, for car occupants and vulnerable road users.’

Gareth Dunsmore, electric vehicle director at Nissan Europe, said: ‘The Euro NCAP announcement proves what we have known for a long time – the new Nissan LEAF has exceptional safety standards and is a true pioneer in the EV space. We are on a path to transform the way we drive and the way we live.’

Gallery: Nissan Leaf Euro NCAP crash test 2018