When it comes to car safety there can be a lot to think about. What cars are the safest cars for you and your family? What safety features are essential? How much do you need to pay to get a safe car?

Fortunately, there is a lot of information to help narrow down your choice and make an informed decision on your next big purchase.

Safety driving sales

Although some safety technologies are still more commonly found in high-end manufacturer's vehicles, more and more car makers are now including these safety features within their more affordable models as standard. Consumers are becoming more aware of safety technology that’s available and manufacturers are stepping up to provide it.

New, lesser known brands are becoming more safety equipped in efforts to boost their vehicle’s popularity. Last year, the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) tested the LDV T60. It became the first Chinese light commercial vehicle to achieve a 5 star rating on the first attempt scoring a total of 35.46 points out of a possible maximum of 37. Not only did the T60 achieve the coveted 5 star rating, it also managed to outscore some of the more popular utes on our roads today.

More safety for less

It’s excellent news for those who are on the lookout for an affordable vehicle with 5 star safety. Looking back 10 years ago, you would be hard pressed to find a vehicle equipped with as many safety features for the same price point. As these vehicles age and flow down into the used car market, New Zealand roads are bound to get safer.

Mandatory Safety

NZTA have been progressively rolling out rules which require used imported vehicles to be equipped with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) from factory.

ESC is a computerised technology that improves a vehicle's stability by detecting and reducing loss of traction. When ESC detects loss of steering control, it automatically applies the brakes to help ‘steer’ the vehicle where the driver intends to go.

A recent change has made it mandatory for used passenger cars with an engine capacity greater than 2 litres to have ESC. From March 2020, this will be applied to all other used light passenger and goods vehicles.

ANCAP and Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR)

For those who like to check the latest safety ratings for popular makes and models, you can visit the ANCAP or UCSR website.

ANCAP provides safety ratings for new cars, an explanation about what the safety ratings really mean and how they are determined, and include a breakdown of some of the safety features that are now available. UCSR provides safety ratings for popular used cars and explains how these are calculated. They also explain the difference between its ratings compared to ANCAP ratings. So, if a vehicle that you’re interested in buying has a 5 star ANCAP safety rating, you can be sure to move it to the top of your list.

Although it’s great to see that safety is becoming more accessible to the everyday New Zealander, it’s also important to optimise these features by keeping on top of your vehicles maintenance and WoFs.

Buying a safe car is one of the most important purchases you’ll make and choosing the right one can be difficult. Whether you plan to buy a new or used car, make safety a priority so that you and your family are protected.

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