WATCH: Jeep Wrangler, Fiat Panda 'flunk' Euro NCAP Crash Test

AS THE year comes to a close, we are taking a look at the best and worst safety crash test performers of 2018.

The Euro NCAP safety organisation tests new cars each year, giving them a four-category rating based on how the vehicle would fare should it be involved in an accident.

 The Fiat Panda was deemed the most dangerous car of 2018>Euro NCAP>7
The Fiat Panda was deemed the most dangerous car of 2018

Over the last 12 months, 23 vehicles were tested and given stars based on their Adult Occupant protection, Child Occupant protection, Vulnerable Road Users protection and Safety Assist.

While the majority received five stars, a select few didn't fare quite so favourably - including the vehicle to receive just the second ever zero-star score.

These are the motors that turned out to be flops in Euro NCAP's collision tests, along with the cars that offer the top protection in 2018.

Flop - Fiat Panda (0 stars)

 The Panda is just the second car to score zero stars, with the first being the 2017 Fiat Punto>Euro NCAP>7
The Panda is just the second car to score zero stars, with the first being the 2017 Fiat Punto

The Fiat Panda became just the second car to ever score zero stars in the crash tests when its results were released in December.

The 2018 version of the supermini was judged to be one of the worst performing cars ever tested by the safety organisation - and possibly the most dangerous new car currently on sale.

Most alarming was the Panda's Child Occupant rating, which scored just 16 per cent for its ability to protect children in the rear seats - compared to an average 79 per cent score across all cars tested.

Official comments from Euro NCAP found protection of rear passengers was poor, leading to increased risk of injury to the body, shoulder and neck.

It also noted that the Panda was not equipped with any autonomous emergency braking system.

Flop - Jeep Wranger (1 star)

 The Jeep didn't score over 50 per cent in two categories>Euro NCAP>7
The Jeep didn't score over 50 per cent in two categories

The popular Jeep Wrangler struggled to meet expectations after scoring just one star in 2018.

The large off-roader provided little safety assist features, scoring just 32 per cent in that category.

But it did receive a much higher Child Occupant rating than the Panda, with 69 per cent.

Flop - Suzuki Jimny (3 stars)

 Internal protection for the Jimny was far better than external>Euro NCAP>7
Internal protection for the Jimny was far better than external

The Jimny was the only car to receive three stars in 2018.

While receiving reasonable Child and Adult Occupant protection scores, the supermini failed to impress with degrees of Safety Assist and protection of Vulnerable Road Users.

It was also marked down due to the high risk of whiplash injuries following rear impact.

Top - Mercedes-Benz A-Class (5 stars)

 The A-Class has excellent overall protection>Euro NCAP>7
The A-Class has excellent overall protection

The A-Class was crowned the overall safest car of 2018, and the stand out performer in the Small Family Car category.

It scored over 90 per cent in three out of four categories, including a 92 per cent measure for Vulnerable Road Users due to its deployable bonnet able to help protect pedestrians.

Protection for the driver and all passengers was deemed to be in the highest two categories.

Top - Lexus ES (5 stars)

 The ES was one of the top three overall performers>Euro NCAP>7
The ES was one of the top three overall performers

Receiving the best in class award for the Large Family Car, the ES also scored the second highest rating for protection of pedestrians.

Like the A-Class, its deployable bonnet can detect when a person has been hit, and is able lift up instantly, offering a bigger distance between the pedestrian and the engine to reduce injury.

The Lexus also received a 91 per cent Adult occupant score.

Top - Hyundai NEXO (5 stars)

 Hyundai's NEXO squeezed into the top three for winning its class>Euro NCAP>7
Hyundai's NEXO squeezed into the top three for winning its class

The NEXO was crowned the best in class award for the Large Off-Roaders in 2018, warranting its inclusion in the top three.

It achieved the best scores in the Adult Occupant category, with front passenger and driver protection good or marginal in the majority of categories.

Other top performers for the year included the Audi Q3 and A6, Volvo XC40 and V60 and the Peugeot 508.

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Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General, said: “In 2018 we introduced tough new tests, with a particular focus on Vulnerable Road User protection.

"The three Best in Class award winners this year all clearly demonstrate that car-makers are striving for the highest levels of protection and that Euro NCAP’s assessments are a catalyst for these crucial safety improvements.

“Euro NCAP put automated driving technology to the test in 2018 for the first time and our findings helped clarify some of the confusion motoring consumers are currently experiencing. Assisted driving systems can bring safety and convenience benefits but full automation is a long way off.

“In the meantime our assessment Road Map presents some important challenges for vehicle manufacturers in the years ahead and we hope that all car-makers will rise to this opportunity as Mercedes-Benz, Lexus and Hyundai have done this year.”

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