If you’re in the market for a second-hand car, you should consider the level of protection the vehicle will offer you and other road users in the event of an accident.
The 2011 Used Car Safety Ratings have been recalculated and so aren't comparable with results from previous years. Of the 184 vehicle models rated:
- 38 models rated excellent - this group has statistically equivalent safety performance to the best 5% of all models, the benchmark group.
- 40 rated good - this group performs below benchmark.
- 41 rated marginally - this group performs at least 30% worse than the benchmark.
- 18 rated poorly and - this group performs at least 60% worse than the benchmark.
- 47 rated very poor - this group performs at least 90% worse than the benchmark.
Crash statistics analysed by Monash University in Melbourne are compiled every year to provide the Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR). These ratings give consumers essential information about the safety performance of vehicles in protecting them in a crash and reflect how well specific models protect all road users in the event of a crash. See How the Used Car Safety Ratings are calculated.
For more information relating to Safety and Advice, see Cars.
This year’s review goes further and awards vehicles that not only protect their drivers in crashes but also other road users with a ‘Safe Pick’ rating. The introduction of this rating aims to get consumers thinking about all road users, from occupants of other vehicles to pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists - rather than just the safety of the car’s own occupants.
Of the models rated, 19 have received a Safe Pick, 10 of which come from the small and medium car categories. It’s impressive to see that two Australian-built large vehicles also receive the extra rating - thumbs up for the Ford Falcon and the Toyota Camry on the achievement.
Choosing a model with the Safe Pick rating and best possible injury protection doesn’t need to be expensive either. The NRMA Motoring and Services provides some useful examples - the small car Volvo S40 1997-2004 is priced from $4500, the medium car Mazda 6 2002-2007 from $8000 and the Australian-made large car, Toyota Camry 2006-2009 from $11 500.
Choosing the right car
On average four people are killed and 90 are seriously injured every day on Australian roads, according to the 2011-2020 National Road Safety Strategy.
Choosing a safe car can help to protect you, your occupants and other road users in the event of a crash. New car models are being developed with more and more safety assist technology, sophisticated crash design and a range of safety equipment, and CHOICE regularly updates new car safety information from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
If you're looking to buy an older-model used car then you’ll need to do your research before you buy.
The 2011 UCSR update rates 184 vehicle models, covering some of the most popular vehicles in Australia and New Zealand. Data from over 5.6 million vehicles in police-reported crashes and 1.2 million road users between 1982 to 2009 in Australia and New Zealand were collected and analysed in the latest UCSR.
Crash data is matched with information on the vehicle register to determine make and model. Generally, ratings for common and/or older vehicles may be more accurate than ratings for newer and/or less common vehicles.
Vehicles are grouped into 10 categories and are rated on:
Crashworthiness: assesses the ability of a vehicle to protect its own occupants in the event of a crash by measuring the estimated risk of death or serious injury to the driver.
Aggressivity: assesses the ability of a vehicle to protect other road users with whom it collides. It is also measured by the estimated risk of death or serious injury to those involved, including vehicle passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.
Total secondary safety: combines crashworthiness and aggressivity to determine a vehicles overall injury outcome in a crash. This rating measures the estimated risk of death or serious injury to all road users. Without this total secondary rating, consumers are more likely to base their vehicle choices on crashworthiness performance. This wouldn’t be an ideal approach for the vehicle fleet industry to take, so in order to optimise vehicle safety on a wider community basis a rating that combines both is ideal.