Euro NCAP has announced its annual "Best in Class" cars, with three of the vehicles tested in 2018 qualifying for the award (and all naturally scoring a full five stars).

Interestingly, the safety authority says some categories “may not be represented” as it has tested “too few cars of that class in 2018”.

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class was the best performer in the small family car segment and also scored the year’s overall best result. It garnered 96 percent for adult occupant safety, 91 percent for child occupant safety, 92 percent for vulnerable road-user safety and 75 percent for its safety assistance technology.

The Lexus ES, meanwhile, was the best all-round performer in the large family car category and also claimed Euro NCAP’s new award for best performing hybrid or electric car in the 2018 season of safety testing. It scored 91 percent for adult occupant safety, 87 percent for child occupant safety, 90 percent for vulnerable road-user safety and 77 percent for its safety assistance technology.

Lastly, the hydrogen-powered Hyundai Nexo was the best of the large off-roaders, scoring 94 percent for adult occupant safety, 87 percent for child occupant safety, 67 percent for vulnerable road-user safety and 80 percent for its safety assistance technology.

Interestingly, the Hyundai Santa Fe achieved the same overall score as the Nexo but didn’t qualify since Euro NCAP says it is “currently subject to a safety recall”.

“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,” said Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP secretary general.