Gothenburg, Sweden - Ever since becoming the first carmaker to offer a three-point seat belt in 1959, Volvo has been making a name for itself as one of the safest car brands in the world - and now its new XC60 SUV has been named the overall safest car of 2017 by crash test specialists Euro NCAP.

Set for South African launch this April, the XC60 also scooped the prize for NCAP's best performing Large Off-Roader with a near perfect 98 percent score in the Adult Occupant category. In the Safety Assist category, which ranks vehicles on their electronic driver aids such as stability control and lane keeping systems, the Volvo scored 95 percent, or 20 points better than its nearest competitor.

"Our vision is that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car," says Volvo's Malin Ekholm. "The achievements of the XC60 are examples of our commitment to developing the latest safety and support systems as we strive towards that vision."

Malin Ekholm with the new XC60. File photo: Volvo Cars

Volkswagen also scored well with three best in class Euro NCAP winners, with the Arteon taking the Executive prize, the T-Roc scooping Small Off-Roader and the new Polo winning the Supermini class. Other best in class winners include Subaru's new XV and Impreza, which shared honours in the Small Family Car category, while Opel's Crossland X won the Small MPV class.

The two worst performing cars in 2017 were Ford's Mustang and Fiat's Punto hatch, which scored two and zero stars respectively.

The Mustang tested was based on a 2015 model, but Ford has added new safety features such as lane keeping and auto braking to units ordered after May 2017. This specification has yet to be crash tested.

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