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Used Car Safety Ratings - The Full Story

The 2016 Used Car Safety Ratings are a resource to help motorists buy a safe, second-hand car based on analysis of real crashes.

The team at Monash University crunch the crash statistic data and turn this into an easy to understand one star to five star rating for the most popular used cars on the market. The best performing cars are also given a Safe Pick rating.

A Used Car Safety Ratings Safe Pick car not only provides you with good protection but also protects the occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

A large number of the Safe Pick vehicles are available second hand for under $15,000 and many for under $10,000, which is particularly important for young drivers purchasing a first vehicle.

This website will help you find the Used Car Safety Ratings or the new car ANCAP rating for just about any car or commercial.


The results are very disappointing for the light car category. Only one car, the VW Polo was better than a ‘Marginal’ rating with a massive 80% of the cars rated getting a ‘Poor’ or ‘Very Poor’ tag. This category is very popular among new drivers, but we think you’d be better off upsizing and looking in the Small car range instead.

 Light car


Commercial vehicles continue to improve. No less than three utes reached the ‘Excellent rating category; however only one of these was awarded Safe Pick. That said, there’s still a long tail in this batting line up of vehicles rating ‘Marginal’ or below. A lot of utes tend to be quite unfriendly to vulnerable road users in crashes due to structural issues and high front ends.



The high proportion of commercial vans scoring excellent ratings (4 scoring Safe Picks) is a massive improvement. This is due to a number of newer European models entering the ratings. This is a major leap in safety for this market group which, up until these new models, had performed badly.

 Commercial Vans


While a couple of Compact SUVs hit the ‘Excellent’ grade both with a Safe Pick as well, the ratings unfortunately head south pretty quickly. Half of the vehicles in this category rate Poor or Very Poor. Like the light car category – you’d be better setting you sights higher to improve your choice.

Compact SUV


The difference between an old large car and a newer one is quite stark when it comes to safety. Pre-2000 large cars are mostly bad news with no less than eight getting a ‘Very Poor’ one star rating. On the other there are six Five Star rated cars with two Safe Picks, which interestingly are both from local manufacturers.

 Large Cars


The Large SUVs category performed very well in general. Not only are these vehicle rating well for occupant protection but six of them also scored Safe Picks. These tend to be those that use more modern construction that are inherently less aggressive to vulnerable road users.

 Large SUV's


This segment gives one of the broadest choices of five star rated vehicles in the study seven of which are Safe Picks. It’s also one of those segments where depreciation hits hard meaning that a lot of these cars are very reasonably priced as second hand cars. An added bonus is that if you’re after something a bit more sporty there’s the Mazda RX8!  Whilst there are some bad performers at the bottom, these are pretty old bangers now.

 Medium cars


It’s good to see a lot of green in this ever burgeoning segment which again is proof of how far manufacturers have come in making larger vehicles safer for everyone. Perennial family favourites like the Ford Territory and Toyota Kluger put in a good showing here.

 Medium SUV


The results are pretty good in this niche segment which reflects that these cars tend to be some of the best equipped cars on the market. You have to go back to some very old models to find one that rates poorly. Having said that only one gains a Safe Pick, perhaps reflecting their size and shape.

 People Movers



This segment certainly does better in the Used Car Safety Ratings than the Light category, but having this many one and two star cars is quite disturbing. In part the smaller size and weight of these cars is a factor. However the uncomfortable truth of poorer safety specification of small and light vehicles with many safety features being optional or not available due to targeted vehicle costings is also apparent.

Small cars

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The 2016 Used Car Safety Ratings are a resource to help motorists buy a safe, second-hand car

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