Motorists need car safety information at point of sale

The latest update to the Used Car Safety Ratings guide reinforces the need for more information to be provided to buyers at the point of sale.

6 September 2017

Motorists need car safety information at point of sale

The latest update to the Used Car Safety Ratings guide reinforces the need for more information to be provided to buyers at the point of sale.

Released today, the 2017 Used Car Safety Ratings guide is the result of in-depth analysis by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) of real-world crash data collected in both New Zealand and Australia.

Updated each year, the guide now provides safety ratings on 279 used vehicles built between 1986 and 2015 listing 106 of them as good or excellent.

A further 113 are categorised as poor or very poor and 60 are considered marginal.

Ahead of the general election on 23 September, the AA is calling for vehicle safety information to be provided at the point of sale, similar to fuel economy information already available.

AA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks says New Zealand has a huge second hand car market with 160,000 imports crossing the border in 2016, compared with about 140,000 new car sales.

While new cars are safer than they have ever been, the average age of used imports is increasing.

“This means the gap between the safety performance of used and new cars is widening.”

Ms Stocks says that for many motorists the safety difference between cars is not immediately apparent and there are important distinctions that consumer should have easy access to.

“Motorists, especially people buying cars for the first time, can easily be overwhelmed by what is available and can find it difficult to work out which factors they should consider most.”

Many of the poorest performing vehicles are often driven by novice drivers who are more likely to be involved in a crash.

Ministry of Transport data shows younger drivers are seven times more likely to crash than those with more experience behind the wheel.

Ms Stocks says while younger drivers will often have more modest budgets, they actually need the best protection.

“The guide shows which cars are the safest across all categories, which is why we want the information available at the point of sale. It enables buyers to consider safety performance of one vehicle against another before they get behind the wheel.

“Buyers can’t make the right choice without the right information.”

The work conducted by MUARC show that a driver of the worst-rated vehicle is more than 10 times as likely to be killed or seriously injured in the same crash as a driver in the best-rated vehicle.

The research also show the average risk of death or serious injury for the driver in a 2015 car is half that of someone behind the wheel in a 1996 car.

“Newer technology, improved design and materials in cars all contribute to better crash outcomes and this flows through to the second hand market. The Used Car Safety Ratings shows where buyers should be looking.”

Ms Stocks says buyers should not consider cars listed in the poor or very poor categories.

“There are good or excellent rated vehicles in every category including 36 Safer Picks which are the safest for the occupants while also providing good protection for other road users in the event of a crash.”

Ms Stocks says motorists will note some cars, especially later models, missing from the guide.

“Enough crash data is required on each vehicle in the guide to ensure the rating is robust. If a particular model hasn’t been involved in many crashes, then there’s not enough data to consider. In those cases, motorists should review a vehicle’s rating as a new car.”

Ms Stocks says new car crash test results, which are done in controlled conditions, are provided by the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP).

Used Car Safety Ratings can be found on the AA’s website.

Used Safety Ratings Safer Picks

Small cars

Audi A3

2004 – 13


BMW 1 Series E81/E82/E87/E88

2004 – 13


Subaru Impreza/XV

2012 – 15


Toyota Prius 3

2009 – 15

Medium cars

Audi A4/S4 B8/AllRoad/RS4

2008 – 15  


Ford Mondeo

2007 – 2015


Jaguar X-Type

2002 – 10


Lexus IS350/IS250/IS F

2005 – 13


Mazda 6/Atenza

2008 – 11


Mazda RX-8

2003 – 11


Mercedes Benz C-Class W204/C204

2007 – 15


Mercedes Benz CLK C209

2003 – 09


Peugeot 407

2004 – 11


Subaru Liberty/Legacy/Outback/Exiga

2009 – 14

Large cars

Mercedes Benz E-Class W211

2002 – 09


Mercedes Benz E-Class W212/W213/C207/A207

2009 – 15


Volvo V70/XC70

2000 – 07

People movers

Honda Odyssey


Light cars

Honda City

2009 – 13

Commercial Vehicles Vans

Mercedes Benz Vito/Viano/Velente

2004 - 15


Volkswagen Caravelle/Transporter/Multivan

2004 – 15

Commercial Vehicles Utes

Holden Colorado RC

2008 – 11

Compact SUVs

Hyundai ix35

2010 – 15


Volkswagen Tiguan

2008 – 15

Medium SUVs

Audi Q5/SQ5

2009 – 15


Honda CR - V

2012 – 15


Hyundai Santa Fe CM

2006 – 12


Mazda CX-7

2006 – 12


Mitsubishi Outlander/Peugeot 4007

2006 – 12


Toyota Kluger/Highlander

2007 – 13

Large SUVs

Audi Q7

2006 – 14


BMW X5 E53

2001 – 06


BMW X5 E70

2007 - 2013


Mercedes Benz ML/GL-Class W164/X164

2005 - 11


Mercedes Benz ML-Class W163



Volvo XC90

2003 - 15

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