The MUARC research used real-life accident data, rather than crash-test dummy laboratory assessments, to assess the safety of 389 second-hand vehicles. It awarded 69 models a five-star rating for driver protection and crashworthiness. Of those, 22 were identified as a ‘safer pick’ because they also reduced the risk of injury for other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
The researchers found there were several vehicles among the ‘safer pick’ group on the market for less than $15,000 or even under $10,000.
RACV’s manager of vehicle engineering Michael Case says motorists buying a second-hand car need not compromise their safety. “The true price of their purchase might only be revealed after a collision and then it is too late,” he says.
Michael says parents often buy used vehicles as a first car for their children or families purchase them as a second vehicle. “That’s why it is imperative they be as safe as possible,” he says.
Motorists should strive to buy the safest car they can afford, no matter what their budget, and these safety ratings make that task much easier.
“Motorists should strive to buy the safest car they can afford, no matter what their budget, and these safety ratings make that task much easier.”
Unsurprisingly, the research found that newer vehicles were the safest choices. All those awarded five stars were manufactured after 1998, and most of the ‘safer pick’ models were made from 2006 onwards, reflecting advances in safety equipment, design and newer safety regulations. Newer models contained safety technology such as electronic stability control and multiple airbags.
The buyer’s guide groups vehicles into 10 categories - light, small, medium and large cars; compact, medium and large SUVs; commercial vans and utes; and people movers.
Vehicles were rated out of five based on an analysis of 8.3 million actual crashes in Australia and New Zealand between 1987 and 2017, involving vehicles made between 1982 and 2017.