The annual Used Car Safety Ratings report*, led by Monash University, put 372 cars under the microscope and analysed data from more than eight million real-world crashes across Australia and New Zealand.
RACQ Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said parents in the market for a first car for their children needed to take these star ratings into account.
“For example, a 2009 Holden Cruze nabbed a four-star safety rating, while a 2007 Mitsubishi Lancer was only given a one-star safety rating,” Mr Spalding said.
“It goes to show even though they’re both small cars, popular with young drivers, they can have dramatically different levels of protection.
“A person driving a one-star vehicle is almost twice as likely to be killed or seriously hurt than someone in a five-star car. Worryingly, 107 vehicles were rated ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.”
Mr Spalding said buyers should look to one of the 31 ‘safer pick’ models as the optimum choice when shopping for a car.
“This means they have excellent protection, not just for the driver, but will also cause less serious injuries to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.”
Mr Spalding said while older, low rated cars were often cheaper, there were still safe and affordable used vehicles available.
“Smart, safe choices needn’t hit you in the hip pocket. A safe used vehicle can be picked up for less than $10,000.”
*RACQ is part of the Vehicle Safety Research Group which commissioned the research from Monash University and is comprised of the major motoring clubs in Australia and New Zealand.
For the full list of ratings, click here.