Used car safety ratings

In the market for a used car? Here's how to choose a safe model.
 
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01 .Introduction

Small car
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 2013 Used Car Safety Ratings rated 216 vehicle models.

Crash statistics are analysed by Monash University’s Accident Research Centre in Melbourne and are compiled every year to provide the Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR). These ratings give consumers essential information about a vehicle's capacity for protecting the driver, passengers, and other road users in the event of a crash.

For more information relating to safety and Advice, see our Cars section.

How are the safety ratings calculated?

The 2013 UCSR are calculated from records of over 5.5 million vehicles in police-reported road crashes in Australia and New Zealand between 1996 and 2011. Monash University use an internationally reviewed method to calculate the ratings, which takes into consideration the vehicles' mass, structural design and safety features.

The rating is about the risk of death or serious injury to the driver of the vehicle in the event of a crash (i.e. the contribution of the vehicle to injury outcomes in a crash). Factors like driver behaviour, vehicle condition and the road environment are taken into account as much as possible when the data is analysed. The ratings are adjusted accordingly for factors such as driver gender and age, type of road user involved, speed limit at the crash location, number of vehicles involved, crash configuration, and the year and location of the crash.

A “safe pick” label is applied to vehicles that cause fewer injuries to other road users with whom they collide, including other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, as well as providing excellent protection for their own driver. So if you’re in the market for a second-hand car, consider one with a “safe pick” label.

Each year results are updated based on the most recent crash data so results aren’t comparable with those from previous years.

A combination of the following three aspects is used to form the safety rating:

  • 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 vehicle's 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.

What’s new in 2013?

Generally, newer models provide their drivers with better protection from injury in a crash. This is because as cars develop, their structural design is improved and they are fitted with an increasing amount of safety features.

Of the 216 vehicles rated:

  • 57 models received five stars and rated excellent – 32 of these also received a “safe pick” label.
  • 52 models received four stars and rated good
  • 33 models received three stars and rated marginal
  • 23 models received two stars and rated poor
  • 51 models received one star and rated very poor

The medium-sized category has 13 vehicles achieving the maximum five star rating and there are “safe pick” options in all categories except the light vehicles and commercial vehicles – vans. Australian cars were impressive in their categories. The Holden Cruze JG/JH (small car), Commodore Ute VE and Statesman/Caprice WK/WL (large car), Ford Falcon FG (large car) and Territory SX/SY (large 4WD) and the Toyota Aurion (large car) all rated excellently with safe pick labels.

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. We also look at 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 – and these safety ratings are a good place to start.

Vehicle safety features are important. Features that could help to reduce the risk of death or serious injury in the event of a crash include:

  • Front, side, curtain and knee airbags
  • Seat belts designed to work with airbags
  • Crumple zones
  • Collapsible steering columns
  • High-strength materials in the structure of the vehicle

There are also features that help drivers to avoid a crash and include:

  • Automatic braking
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Electronic stability control (ESC)
  • Anti-lock Brake System (ABS)
  • Lane departure warning
  • Blind spot warning
  • Traction control
  • Brake assist

Try to look for a car with as many of these features as possible.
 

 
 

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Using the filters

  • Use the filters to show the Category, Make or Crash safety rating you're interested in. Selecting filters automatically updates the Comparison table.
  • The number shown in brackets represents the number of items that will be shown if you select that filter. Remember to select More options to view the entire list of items.
  • It is not necessary to use the Compare button in this interactive table as all information is shown on the first page.

Using the table

Results are taken from the 2013 Buyer's Guide to Used Car Safety Ratings, which is funded by the Vehicle Safety Research Group and conducted by Monash University Accident Research Centre. It is supported by various Australian motoring organisations, the Australian Government, state governments, New Zealand Transport Agency and the NRMA Motoring and Services. 

Five stars = Excellent

Four stars = Good

Three stars = Marginal

Two stars = Poor

One star Very poor

Safe pick label These vehicles provide excellent protection for their own driver and also cause less serious injury to other road users with which they collide including other vehicle drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. They are available with Electronic Stability Control (ESC).

Compare products

 
Table Allowing the user to select a number of products dependant on their filter options.
Items to compare

Select up to 5 items below.
Then click the compare button

Compare
 
CategoryCrash safety rating (stars)Awarded a 'Safe Pick'Brand
     
Cruze JG/JH 09-11Small cars5yesHolden
3/Axela 09-11Small cars5yesMazda
307 01-09Small cars5yesPeugeot
Prius II 03-09Small cars5yesToyota
Golf/Bora 99-04Small cars5yesVolkswagen
Golf/Jetta 04-11Small cars5yesVolkswagen
S40/V40 97-04Small cars5noVolvo
Focus LR 02-05Small cars4noFord
Focus LS/LT 05-09Small cars4noFord
Astra AH 04-09Small cars4noHolden
Civic 06-11Small cars4noHonda
i30 07-11Small cars4noHyundai
3/Axela 03-09Small cars4noMazda
306 94-01Small cars4noPeugeot
Impreza 01-07Small cars4noSubaru
Corolla 07-11Small cars4noToyota
Golf 95-98Small cars4noVolkswagen
Laser/323 99-03Small cars3noFord/Mazda
Astra TR 96-98Small cars3noHolden
Astra TS 98-06Small cars3noHolden
Viva JF 05-09Small cars3noHolden
Civic 01-05Small cars3noHonda
Lancer CH 03-07Small cars3noMitsubishi
Corolla 02-07Small cars3noToyota
Corolla/Allex 98-01Small cars3noToyota
Nubira 97-03Small cars2noDaewoo
Civic 96-00Small cars2noHonda
Integra 93-01Small cars2noHonda
Elantra 00-06Small cars2noHyundai
Rio JB 05-11Small cars2noKia
Pulsar/Bluebird Sylphy 00-05Small cars2noNissan
Baleno/Cultus Crescent 95-02Small cars2noSuzuki
Cielo 95-97Small cars1noDaewoo
Lanos 97-03Small cars1noDaewoo
Applause 89-99Small cars1noDaihatsu
Laser 95-97Small cars1noFord
Accent 00-06Small cars1noHyundai
Excel/Accent 95-00Small cars1noHyundai
Lantra 96-00Small cars1noHyundai
S Coupe 90-96Small cars1noHyundai
Rio 00-05Small cars1noKia
323/Familia/Lantis 95-98Small cars1noMazda
Lancer/Mirage CE 96-03Small cars1noMitsubishi
Lancer CE/CG/Cedia 02-03Small cars1noMitsubishi
Pulsar/Vector/Sentra 96-99Small cars1noNissan
NX/NX-R 91-96Small cars1noNissan
Gen 2 04-11Small cars1noProton
Wira 95-96Small cars1noProton
Impreza 93-00Small cars1noSubaru
Paseo/Cynos 91-99Small cars1noToyota
Corolla/Nova 94-97Small cars1noToyota/Holden
A4 01-08Medium cars5yesAudi
3 Series E90/E91/E92/E93 05-11Medium cars5yesBMW
IS200/IS300 99-04Medium cars5yesLexus
C-Class W203 00-07Medium cars5yesMercedes Benz
Camry 06-11Medium cars5yesToyota
Passat 98-06Medium cars5yesVolkswagen
Vectra ZC 03-05Medium cars5noHolden
Accord 03-07Medium cars5noHonda
9000 86-97Medium cars5noSaab
900/9-3 94-02Medium cars5noSaab
Accord 99-02Medium cars5noHonda
Accord Euro 03-08Medium cars5noHonda
Prelude 97-02Medium cars5noHonda
A4 95-01Medium cars4noAudi
3 Series E46 99-06Medium cars4noBMW
Cougar 99-03Medium cars4noFord
Mondeo 95-01Medium cars4noFord
6/Atenza 02-07Medium cars4noMazda
C-Class W202 95-00Medium cars4noMercedes Benz
Liberty/Legacy/Outback 03-09Medium cars4noSubaru
Liberty/Legacy/Outback 99-03Medium cars4noSubaru
Camry 02-06Medium cars4noToyota
3 Series E36 92-98Medium cars3noBMW
Vectra 97-03Medium cars3noHolden
Accord 94-98Medium cars3noHonda
626 98-02Medium cars3noMazda
200SX/Silvia 94-02Medium cars3noNissan
Bluebird 93-97Medium cars3noNissan
Liberty/Legacy/Outback 94-98Medium cars3noSubaru
Camry 98-02Medium cars3noToyota
Celica 94-99Medium cars3noToyota
Telstar/626/MX6/Capella/Cronos 92-97Medium cars2noFord/Mazda
Prelude 92-96Medium cars2noHonda
Galant 95-96Medium cars2noMitsubishi
Espero 95-97Medium cars1noDaewoo
Tacuma 00-04Medium cars1noDaewoo
Apollo JM/JP/Camry/Sceptor 93-97Medium cars1noHolden/Toyota
5 Series E39 96-03Large cars5yesBMW
Falcon FG 08-11Large cars5yesFord
Statesman/Caprice WK/WL 03-06Large cars5yesHolden
E-Class W210 96-02Large cars5yesMercedes Benz
Maxima 06-09Large cars5yesNissan
Aurion 06-11Large cars5yesToyota
380 05-08Large cars5noMitsubishi
Fairlane & LTD AU 99-02Large cars4noFord
Falcon BA/BF 02-08Large cars4noFord
Commodore VE 06-11Large cars4noHolden
Commodore VY/VZ 02-07Large cars4noHolden
Monaro 01-05Large cars4noHolden
Statesman/Caprice WH 99-03Large cars4noHolden
Magna TL/TW/Verada KL/KW 03-05Large cars4noMitsubishi
Avalon 00-05Large cars4noToyota
850/S70/V70/C70 92-99Large cars4noVolvo
Fairlane N & LTD D 95-98Large cars3noFord
Falcon AU 98-02Large cars3noFord
Commodore VT/VX 97-02Large cars3noHolden
Statesman/Caprice VR/VS 94-98Large cars3noHolden
Falcon EF/EL 94-98Large cars2noFord
Sonata 89-97Large cars2noHyundai
Magna TE/TF/TH/TJ/Verada KE/KF/KH/KJ/Diamante 96-03Large cars2noMitsubishi
Magna TR/TS/Verada KR/KS/V3000/Diamante 91-96Large cars2noMitsubishi
Maxima/Cefiro 95-99Large cars2noNissan
Commodore VR/VS/Lexcen 93-97Large cars1noHolden/Toyota
Odyssey 04-09People movers5yesHonda
Odyssey 95-00People movers5noHonda
Carnival 06-11People movers5noKia
Carnival 99-06People movers5noKia
Tarago/Previa/Estima 00-06People movers5noToyota
Tarago/Previa/Estima 91-99People movers3noToyota
Starwagon/Delica Spacegear 95-03People movers2noMitsubishi
2/Demio 07-11Light cars4noMazda
Barina XC/Combo 01-11Light cars3noHolden
Jazz/Fit 02-08Light cars3noHonda
Yaris/Vitz 05-11Light cars3noToyota
Barina TK 05-11Light cars2noHolden
2/Demio 02-07Light cars2noMazda
Swift 05-10Light cars2noSuzuki
Kalos 03-04Light cars1noDaewoo
Matiz 99-04Light cars1noDaewoo
Charade 03-05Light cars1noDaihatsu
Charade 93-00Light cars1noDaihatsu
Mira 90-96Light cars1noDaihatsu
Sirion/Storia 98-04Light cars1noDaihatsu
Ka 99-02Light cars1noFord
Festiva WD/WH/WF 94-01Light cars1noFord
Barina SB 95-00Light cars1noHolden
Barina/Swift/Cultus 89-99Light cars1noHolden/Suzuki
Getz/TB 02-11Light cars1noHyundai
121/Autozam Review 94-96Light cars1noMazda
121 Metro/Demio 97-02Light cars1noMazda
Micra 95-97Light cars1noNissan
Alto 85-00Light cars1noSuzuki
Ignis 00-02Light cars1noSuzuki
Echo 99-05Light cars1noToyota
Starlet 96-99Light cars1noToyota
Transit 01-07Commercial vehicles - Vans5noFord
Sprinter 98-06Commercial vehicles - Vans5noMercedes Benz
Caravelle/Transporter 95-04Commercial vehicles - Vans5noVolkswagen
Transit 95-00Commercial vehicles - Vans4noFord
Hiace/Liteace 96-04Commercial vehicles - Vans3noToyota
Handivan/Cuore 99-03Commercial vehicles - Vans1noDaihatsu
Scurry/Carry 82-00Commercial vehicles - Vans1noHolden/Suzuki
Commodore Ute VE 07-11Commercial vehicles - Utes5yesHolden
Triton ML/MN 06-11Commercial vehicles - Utes5yesMitsubishi
Navara 05-11Commercial vehicles - Utes5yesNissan
Falcon Ute BA/BF 03-08Commercial vehicles - Utes5noFord
Ranger/BT-50 06-11Commercial vehicles - Utes5noFord/Mazda
Hilux 05-11Commercial vehicles - Utes5noToyota
Falcon Ute AU 00-02Commercial vehicles - Utes4noFord
Courier/Bravo/Bounty 03-06Commercial vehicles - Utes4noFord/Mazda
Courier/B-Series/Bounty 98-02Commercial vehicles - Utes4noFord/Mazda
Commodore Ute VY/VZ 02-07Commercial vehicles - Utes4noHolden
Rodeo 03-08Commercial vehicles - Utes4noHolden
Triton MK 96-06Commercial vehicles - Utes4noMitsubishi
Navara 97-05Commercial vehicles - Utes4noNissan
Hilux 03-04Commercial vehicles - Utes4noToyotoa
Falcon Ute 96-99Commercial vehicles - Utes3noFord
Commodore Ute VU 00-02Commercial vehicles - Utes3noHolden
Rodeo 96-98Commercial vehicles - Utes3noHolden
Hilux 98-02Commercial vehicles - Utes3noToyotoa
Commodore Ute VR/VS 94-00Commercial vehicles - Utes2noHolden
Rodeo 99-02Commercial vehicles - Utes2noHolden
Navara 92-96Commercial vehicles - Utes2noNissan
Ceres 92-00Commercial vehicles - Utes1noKia
4Runner/Hilux 89-97Commercial vehicles - Utes1noToyota
Outlander/4007 06-11Compact 4-wheel drive vehicles5yesMitsubishi/Peugeot
Sportage 98-03Compact 4-wheel drive vehicles4noKia
X-Trail 01-07Compact 4-wheel drive vehicles4noNissan
Feroza/Rocky 89-97Compact 4-wheel drive vehicles1noDaihatsu
Rocky/Rugger 85-98Compact 4-wheel drive vehicles1noDaihatsu
Terios 97-05Compact 4-wheel drive vehicles1noDaihatsu
Cruze 02-06Compact 4-wheel drive vehicles1noHolden
Drover/Sierra/Samurai/SJ410/SJ413 82-99Compact 4-wheel drive vehicles1noHolden/Suzuki
Vitara/Escudo 88-98Compact 4-wheel drive vehicles1noSuzuki
Captiva CG 06-11Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles5yesHolden
CR-V 07-11Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles5yesHonda
Cherokee KJ 01-07Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles5yesJeep
Pathfinder 05-11Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles5yesNissan
Forester 02-08Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles5yesSubaru
CR-V 02-06Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles5noHonda
Pajero NM/NP 00-06Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles5noMitsubishi
Pathfinder/Terrano/Regulus 95-05Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles5noNissan
Escape/Tribute 01-06Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles4noFord/Mazda
Jackaroo/Bighorn 92-97Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles4noHolden/Isuzu
Jackaroo/Bighorn 98-02Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles4noHolden/Isuzu
CR-V 97-01Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles4noHonda
Forester 97-02Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles4noSubaru
Grand Vitara 99-05Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles4noSuzuki
RAV4 01-06Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles4noToyota
RAV4 06-11Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles4noToyota
Cherokee XJ 96-00Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles3noJeep
Pajero 92-99Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles3noMitsubishi
RAV4 94-00Medium 4-wheel drive vehicles2noToyota
X5 01-08Large 4-wheel drive vehicles5yesBMW
Territory SX/SY 04-11Large 4-wheel drive vehicles5yesFord
M-Class W163 98-05Large 4-wheel drive vehicles5yesMercedes Benz
Kluger/Highlander 07-11Large 4-wheel drive vehicles5yesToyota
Patrol/Safari 98-11Large 4-wheel drive vehicles5noNissan
Landcruiser Prado 03-09Large 4-wheel drive vehicles5noToyota
Landcruiser Prado 96-03Large 4-wheel drive vehicles5noToyota
Discovery 91-02Large 4-wheel drive vehicles4noLand Rover
Patrol/Maverick/Safari 88-97Large 4-wheel drive vehicles4noNissan/Ford
Kluger/Highlander 03-07Large 4-wheel drive vehicles4noToyota
Landcruiser 98-07Large 4-wheel drive vehicles4noToyota
Landcruiser 90-97Large 4-wheel drive vehicles3noToyota
Compare

Using the table

Results are taken from the 2013 Buyers Guide to Used Car Safety Ratings, which is funded by the Vehicle Safety Research Group and conducted by Monash University Accident Research Centre. It is supported by Australian motoring organisations, the Australian Government, State Governments, New Zealand Transport Agency and the NRMA Motoring and Services.

There are many sources of information available to ensure you make the right decision about your next second-hand car. Combine UCSR with these other sources, such as information provided from NRMA Insurance and the Green Vehicle Guide, which has useful data on emissions and fuel consumption for car models.

  • Don't rush into it and take the necessary time to research and inspect the vehicle.
  • Work out your budget before you start looking and stick to it. For example, the safe luxury car may not be an option for you.
  • Your needs should be reflected in the type of car you buy. If you do most of your driving in the city, a four-wheel drive is hardly necessary.
  • Inspect before you buy and, if possible, obtain a third-party inspection. Take someone with you because two sets of eyes are always better than one. Check out the exterior, engine bay and interior. Ask to take the car for a test drive. Always inspect the car in full daylight where marks, dents and other defects are clearly visible.
  • Is it worth the price? Sites like www.drive.com.au and www.carsguide.com.au have free car valuation calculators that give estimated valuations for private sale, trade-in and dealer price.
  • For extra peace of mind search its history on the Personal Properties Securities Register (formerly known as REVS). It's a national online register that can help to protect you when buying personal property, especially valuable second-hand goods like cars. By using this register you can find out if the car you’re thinking of buying has a security interest registered against it. To check the register, you’ll need the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) or chassis number. For a small fee, you can conduct a search and obtain a certificate.
  • Ask questions about the vehicle's history; How many owners has the vehicle had previously? Has it been involved in any crashes? What is the mileage? How much does it cost to fill the tank? Is the vehicle currently registered and insured? Does it have electronic stability control, anti-lock braking system, traction control, and brake assist? Also find out if the car has safety features such as crumple zones, collapsible steering, reinforced door frames, front, side and curtain airbags, and advanced seat belt systems. 
  • Use caution if you buy privately. Once you hand over the cash there is generally very little way out. However, a three-month statutory warranty is usually offered if you buy through a car dealer (whereby dealers and/or manufacturers ensure the product is suitable for its intended purpose). Check out our used car buying guide to find out more about your rights and responsibilities when buying a used car.

Also take into consideration:

  • Associated costs of registration and taking out insurance on the vehicle.
  • Repair costs How much will you be set back for routine servicing and/or any major problems or repairs experienced with the car?
  • Safety In addition to the used car safety ratings, check the ANCAP crash test ratings.
  • Security can be checked using the NRMA Insurance car theft ratings.
  • Rear visibility
  • Emissions Check the Green Vehicle Guide for ratings of the emissions and fuel consumption of car models.

New vs Used car safety ratings

ANCAP ratings are not directly comparable with UCSR. ANCAP conducts crash testing in a controlled laboratory setting, with three standard assessments – offset frontal, side impact, and pole crashes – to give a rating for occupant protection.

A pedestrian impact test simulates accidents in which a pedestrian is hit by an oncoming vehicle. The ratings also take into account the presence of safety features in determining the ability of the vehicle to protect its occupants, as well as to assist in preventing an accident from occurring (such as Electronic Stability Control).

By contrast, the UCSR are analysed using real-life data on all types of crashes to give a total secondary safety rating that combines crashworthiness and aggressivity. This rating doesn’t take into account the presence of safety features.

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