Safety has taken some big steps forward in India since Global NCAP first started crash-testing Indian cars. Over the years, safety regulations like mandatory fitment of dual airbags and ABS have seen safety ratings improve from dismal levels in 2014 to the first 5-star rated car arriving in 2018. And now, the number of cars that have received a 5-star crash test rating is up to five. So far, the safety watchdog has crash-tested over 50 cars under its ‘Safer Cars for India’ programme, and we take a look at 10 safest made-in-India cars, as rated by GNCAP, currently in the market.
10. Tata Tiago/Tigor – 12.52 points (4 stars)
The duo of Tiago and Tigor received a 4-star safety rating from GNCAP with the launch of the facelifted models in 2020. The Tiago and Tigor have a score of 12.52 out of a maximum 17 (4 stars) in adult occupant protection while child occupancy score stands at 34.15 out of 49 (3 stars). However, it is to be noted that at speeds of 64kph, at which GNCAP conducts it crash tests, the body shell of both models was rated as unstable and not capable of withstanding further loading with a particular mention of the front footwell area.
Standard safety kit across the Tigor and Tiago line-up include dual-front airbags, ABS with EBD, front seat belt pre-tensioners and rear parking sensors.
9. Mahindra Thar – 12.52 points (4 stars)
Mahindra’s second-gen Thar isn’t just a capable off-roader, but a safe one as well. This gen of the off-roader scores a notable four stars for both adult and child occupant protection. It scored 12.52 points out of 17 for adult occupant protection and 41.11 points out of a maximum 49 for child occupant protection – the highest score of all cars tested so far – thanks to standard three-point seatbelt for all passengers and ISOFIX child seat anchorages. Global NCAP had also subjected the Thar to a side impact crash test, which the 4x4 passed.
In terms of safety, the Thar gets dual airbags, ABS, rear parking sensors and even a roll cage as standard, with the fully-loaded model also packing in ESP.
8. Mahindra Marazzo – 12.85 points (4 stars)
The Marazzo was the first made-in-India MPV to have scored an impressive 4-star rating in adult occupant protection from GNCAP. With a score of 12.85 out of 17, the Marazzo even outscores newer rivals like the Kia Carens. All variants of the Marazzo get safety kit such as dual-front airbags, ABS, a driver’s side seat belt reminder, front seat belt pretensioners and ISOFIX anchorages for the rear seats as standard.
However, the forward-facing child seat, when attached to the ISOFIX mounts, was not able to prevent excessive forward movement, which could lead to head injuries in children above three years. These factors resulted in the lower 2-star rating or 22.22 out of 49 in child safety for the Mahindra MPV.
7. Toyota Urban Cruiser – 13.52 points (4 stars)
Based on the previous-gen Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza, the Urban Cruiser has a four-star rating for adult protection, with 13.52 points out of a maximum 17. For child protection, it scored a three-star rating securing 36.68 points out of 49. The bodyshell was rated stable and capable of withstanding further loadings. However, the car recorded only marginal protection for driver's knees, and the passenger's right knee, as they could have an impact with structures behind the dashboard.
The Urban Cruiser comes equipped with dual-front airbags, front seat belt pretensioners and reminder, ISOFIX anchorages and ABS as standard.
6. Honda Jazz – 13.89 points (4 stars)
This generation of the Honda Jazz has been around since 2015, and despite being the oldest model in its class, its strong showing in the crash tests is a reassuring sign. The Jazz has 13.89 points out of 17 (4 stars) for adult occupant protection and its bodyshell was rated stable and capable of withstanding greater loads. However, front occupant knee protection was rated as marginal thanks to potential impact with ‘dangerous structures behind the dashboard.’
The slightly lower three-star child protection rating was due to a lack of ISOFIX mounting points and limited protection on both child seat tests in some areas. It scored 31.54 out of 49 points for child protection.
5. Mahindra XUV700 – 16.03 points (5 stars)
The Mahindra XUV700 is the only three-row SUV to get a full 5-star rating for adult occupant protection. Child occupant safety, too, is an impressive four stars. The XUV700 scored 16.03 points out of a possible 17 for adult occupant protection and 41.66 points out of 49 for child occupant protection. The SUV’s body shell and footwell area were also rated as stable and capable of withstanding further loadings.
Mahindra has packed in a lot of safety tech into the XUV700, and while lower variants get only the basics, the fully loaded variants get all the bells and whistles, including seven airbags and advanced driver aids like autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and more.
4. Tata Nexon – 16.06 points (5 stars)
The Nexon was the first made-in-India car to be awarded a full 5-star safety rating by Global NCAP. Tata’s compact SUV was initially awarded a 4-star rating, and the carmaker upgraded the model and sent it back for a second round, where it achieved 5 stars for adult occupancy or 16.06 points out of 17. Meanwhile, it has a score of 25 out of 49 for child occupancy protection. The Nexon has also passed GNCAP’s side-impact test, meeting UN95 side-impact protection requirements.
Notably, the Nexon crash tested by GNCAP was the pre-facelift model. The version currently on sale was further upgraded to meet pedestrian protection norms.
3. Tata Altroz – 16.13 points (5 stars)
The safest made-in-India hatchback currently on sale, the Altroz, is Tata’s one of three 5-star rated models and has a score of 16.13 out of 17 points for adult occupant protection. Interestingly, while based on the same platform as the Punch, the hatch doesn’t have as high a score as the latter. This is because the Altroz loses out on child occupant protection, with a score of 29 out of 49 points (3 stars), as the backrest of the rear seat unlatched in the test and the three-year-old dummy’s head made contact with the interior. However, the Altroz did pass the side impact crash test conducted by GNCAP.
Standard safety kit across the Altroz range includes two airbags, ABS with EBD, rear parking sensors, seat belt reminders for the front seats and ISOFIX child seat mounts. Higher variants add kit such as height-adjustable front seat belts, a rear parking camera, and front and rear fog lamps.
3. Mahindra XUV300 – 16.42 points (5 stars)
Mahindra’s sub-4m SUV gets a 5-star rating for adult occupancy, scoring 16.42 points, and four stars for child occupant protection, scoring 37.44 points. GNCAP also conducted a side impact crash test on the XUV300, and said it had the lowest level of intrusion. Like other models on this listing, the XUV300 packs in standard kit such as two airbags, ABS with EBD, and rear parking sensors.
Higher-spec variants add in even more safety kit such as six airbags, front parking sensors, ESC, a tyre pressure monitoring system and rear parking camera. It also gets a seat belt reminder for all passengers and disc brakes at all four corners.
Updates post the XUV’s launch, though, have seen bits such as the rear centre three-point seat belt and a driver knee airbag being dropped from the equipment list.
1. Tata Punch – 16.45 points (5 stars)
Tata has delivered on its word that safety was a priority with the Punch. The carmaker’s third 5-star-rated car in recent years, the Punch, marginally edges out the XUV300 with 16.45 points (5-stars) for adult occupants, which is the highest score achieved by any car in India. Coming to child safety, the Punch earned 40.89 out of a maximum of 49 points, giving it a 4-star score in this category. The Punch was also subjected to a side impact crash test, which it passed.
As standard, the Punch gets all the basic safety systems, including dual airbags, ABS, front seat belt reminders, rear parking sensors and ISOFIX child seat anchors. The fully-loaded variants add to this with bits such as auto headlamp and wipers, while AMT variants also get a low-traction mode to aid over slippery surfaces.