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Many second-hand cars score well on safety


UCSR used car safety rating 2011 image

A record 51 per cent of the second-hand vehicles listed in the 2014 Used Car Safety Ratings guide scored an Excellent or Good rating for driver protection in a crash, according to RACV, VicRoads and TAC.

Of the 227 vehicles rated one-in-seven or 15 per cent earned the coveted Safe Pick rating, meaning they also provided good protection for other road users including occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists in the event of a crash.

At the other end of the scale, 76 models were in the Poor or Very Poor category.  Vehicles in these categories cannot be recommended for buyers who have safety as a priority.

RACV Manager Vehicle Engineering, Michael Case said the wide variety of ratings for used vehicles showed how important the Used Car Safety Ratings guide was when buying a second-hand vehicle.

"You cannot determine the safety of a car just by looking at it,especially a used car.

"These ratings provide independent advice on which vehicle models provide better protection in a crash, not only for occupants, but for all road users," Mr Case said.

VicRoads Director Vehicle and Road Use Policy, James Holgate said the ratings reveal that just because a car is cheap doesn't necessarily mean it is unsafe.

"A large number of top rating vehicles are available on the second-hand market for under $10,000, so safety doesn't have to be compromised by price," Mr Holgate said

TAC Project Coordinator Road Safety Samantha Collins said it was good to see top rating vehicles inmost categories.

"If all Victorian drivers drove the safest car in its class, road trauma across the state would be reduced by up to a third," Ms Collins said.

Some of the lower-priced top rating Safe Pick models include the Honda Civic, built between 2006 and 2011, the Subaru Impreza 2007-11, the Mazda 6 2002-07, Toyota Camry 2006-11 and the Ford Falcon 2008-12.

MUARC Senior Research Fellow Stuart Newstead, who led the study, said it's encouraging to again see commercial vehicles rate well.

"The proportion of commercial vehicles scoring Good or Excellent continues to increase with three utilities being awarded the Safe Pick label due to Electronic Stability Control (ESC ) being available," Dr Newstead said.

The ratings are based on reports from more than seven million actual crashes from 1987-2012 reported to police in Australia and New Zealand.

They cover over 90 per cent of all popular passenger and light commercial vehicles in the Australian market manufactured between 1982 and 2012.* 

Safe Pick vehicles must be fitted with ESC as well as perform well in protecting their own occupants and other road users.

The Vehicle Safety Research Group which commissioned the research is comprised of the major motoring clubs and state motoring authorities in Australia and New Zealand and is a collaborative effort to drive down the road toll.

The UCSR Guide is available in print  or use the search on the site

 * The Used Car Safety Ratings brochure covers the quoted 227 vehicles manufactured from 1996-2012.  Information relating to vehicles manufactured pre 1996 is available online.

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