The new Volkswagen Golf has been awarded a maximum five-star rating by the Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme) crash test agency.

The Golf, now in its sixth generation, achieved 36 out of a possible 37 points for occupant protection leading to a five-star award. In the area of child safety the new Golf scored an impressive four stars; a further three stars were awarded for pedestrian safety.

The new Golf will be among the safest vehicles currently on sale, thanks to the fitment of seven airbags, including a knee airbag, as standard across the range. This is in addition to standard Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP), Brake Assist, ABS, the introduction of new whiplash reducing headrests, side impact protection and a stronger chassis structure than ever before.

Along with the comprehensive range of standard safety equipment, the new Golf can also be specified with rear side airbags and seatbelt sensors for the rear occupants that allow the driver to check, via the multifunction display in the instrument panel, whether those in the back seats are wearing their seatbelts.

Volkswagen has always been at the forefront of occupant safety. The Volkswagen 411, launched in 1968 featured front crumple zones and a passenger survival cell, a trait carried over to the Mk I Golf in 1974 while adding self-stabilising steering, rear crumple zones and fuel tank protection. In 1987 the Golf Mk II was fitted with ABS for the first time and in 1991 the Mk III Golf introduced a collapsible steering column, side impact protection and traction control. A total of 34 years and 26 million sales after the introduction of the Mk I Golf, the Mk VI continues to set new standards.

Ordering for the new Golf opened on 17 October with prices starting at £13,150 RRP ‘on the road’. The car goes on sale in the UK on 6 January 2009.

Today, ABI (Association of British Insurers) insurance group ratings were also announced for the new Golf, and they are shown below.

1.4-litre 80 PS: Group 4

1.6-litre 102 PS: Group 5

1.4-litre TSI 122 PS: Group 7

2.0-litre TDI 110 PS: Group 6

2.0-litre TDI 140 PS: Group 12