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Study shows safer used vehicles affordable

22 JULY, 2008

SAFER motoring does not necessarily mean big bucks, according to results of the 2008 Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR), the largest such study in the world.

Findings indicate that for just $5000 consumers can buy a second-hand vehicle providing a high level of crash protection to occupants and other road users.

The annual UCSR study is conducted by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), with support from RACV, the TAC , VicRoads, other state and federal road authorities and motoring clubs.

The MUARC team analysed data from more than 3.2 million crashes in Australia and New Zealand between 1986 and 2006 involving 349 different vehicle types.

Results across categories ranging from small to family, commercial and 4WD are presented in a user-friendly brochure and enable motorists to check the rating of their current car or any vehicle they are considering buying.

Dr Stuart Newstead, Senior Researcher at MUARC, said the good news for consumers on a tight budget was that the best performing vehicles were predominantly in the medium and small vehicle classes.

“However, as we’ve seen with previous year’s results, very few commercial vehicles, either large 4WDs or light vehicles, scored well, which remains a big concern given these vehicles continued popularity,” Dr Newstead said.

“In fact, only one of the commercial vans, the Ford Transit from 2001 to 2006, rated above average.

“Equally concerning is that the results also show significant gaps in crash performance; for example, the worst-rating vehicle (Daihatsu Rocky 1985-98) presented more than eight times the risk of death or serious injury to people in a crash than best-rated vehicles such as the VW Golf/Jetta (2004-2006).

“Our findings showed 89 vehicle models scoring better than average, with 26 of these models scoring much better than average.”

Dr Newstead said while previous year’s ratings assessed how well a vehicle protected occupants and other road users in a crash, separately, the 2008 UCSR reflected these aspects in a combined performance rating.

“We’ve introduced the new ratings system to express the relative performance of each vehicle in preventing death or serious injury to everyone involved in a crash – not just the occupants of the rated vehicle, but cyclists, pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles,” he said.

Unlike results from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), which are determined by controlled crash testing, the Used Car Safety Ratings are calculated using data from actual crashes.

RACV Chief Engineer – Vehicles, Michael Case, said the latest UCSR results sent a crystal clear message to motorists considering buying a used car.

“If everyone was driving vehicles in the category providing the highest level of injury protection in a crash, a dramatic reduction in the road toll is likely,” he said.

TAC Senior Manager Road Safety, David Healy, said the UCSR results were based on real-world crash performance.

“For anyone in the market for a used car, these ratings are a vital guide for buying your next car. Don’t hesitate to choose one of the best rated models to help keep you and others safe on the road,” he said.

VicRoads Acting Director of Vehicle Management and Safety, Ross McArthur, said VicRoads strongly endorsed the USCR study that would benefit all road users.

“This initiative compliments VicRoads’ activities across the state and we are proud to be involved with a study that demonstrates global best practice in assessing the safety of all used cars,” he said.

Some of the safest vehicles in the 2008 UCSR include: The UCSR cover the most popular passenger vehicles and light commercial vehicles from about five to 20 years old, the average lifetime of a used vehicle.

Class

Vehicle

Year

Starting price

Small

Peugeot 306

1994 to 2001

$5,000

 

VW Golf

1999 to 2004

$10,000

 

Mazda 3

2003 to 2006

$13,500

Medium

Holden Vectra

1997 to 2003

$5,000

 

VW Passat

1998 to 2005

$15,000

 

SAAB 9-3

1998 to 2002

$13,000

 

Subaru Liberty

1999 to 2003

$12,000

 

Mazda 6

2002 to 2006

$12,000

Commercial Van

Ford Transit

2001 to 2005

$15,000

People Mover

Mitsubishi Nimbus

1999 to 2003

$9,000

Compact 4WD

Honda CRV

1997 to 2001

$8,000

 

Subaru Forester

1997 to 2002

$7,000

Dr Newstead said European and Japanese designs dominated the best performers and although some large Australian-made cars scored above average on total safety, only one was in the best category.

“Pre-1995 models again dominated the worst performers in each class, although some relatively new vehicles such as Hyundai Getz models from 2002 to 2006 also performed poorly,” he said.

Since the UCSR study was first conducted by MUARC in 1990, it has grown to become the largest of its type in the world. Ratings incorporating New Zealand crash data were produced for the first time in 2004.

Media contacts:                   Denis Brown, RACV, 0410 069 170

                                          Amanda Bavin, TAC, 9664 6591 or 0439 567 249

                                          Bree Taylor, VicRoads, 9854 2499 or 0400 890 993

                                          Colin Vickery, MUARC, 0419 302 520

2008 UCSR -Best Performing Vehicles

Subaru

Forester

97-02

4WD -Compact

Honda

CR-V

97-01

4WD -Compact

Ford

Explorer

01-05

4WD -Large

Mercedes Benz

M-Class W163

98-05

4WD -Large

Mitsubishi

Pajero NM / NP / NS

00-06

4WD -Medium

Jeep

Cherokee KJ

01-04

4WD -Medium

Ford

Transit

01-06

Commercial -Van

Holden

Commodore VY/VZ

02-06

Large

Mazda

6

02-06

Medium

Subaru

Liberty / Legacy / Outback

99-03

Medium

BMW

5 Series E39

96-03

Medium

Saab

9000

86-97

Medium

Saab

900/9-3

94-02

Medium

Peugeot

406

96-04

Medium

Honda

Accord Euro

03-06

Medium

Mercedes Benz

C-Class W203

00-06

Medium

Mitsubishi

Nimbus

99-03

People Mover

Volkswagen

Golf / Bora

99-04

Small

Mazda

3

03-06

Small

Peugeot

306

94-01

Small

Volkswagen

Golf / Jetta

04-06

Small

Peugeot

307

01-06

Small

Subaru

Impreza

01-06

Small

Mazda

MX5 / Eunos Roadster

98-05

Small

Citroen

BX

86-94

Small

Volkswagen

New Beetle

00-06

Small

 

2008 UCSR -Worst Performing Vehicles

Daihatsu

Rocky / Rugger

85-98

4WD -Compact

Toyota

Landcruiser

82-89

4WD -Large

Holden / Isuzu

Rodeo / Pickup

89-95

Commercial -Ute

Subaru

Brumby

82-92

Commercial -Ute

Suzuki

Mighty Boy

85-88

Commercial -Ute

Toyota

Hiace/Liteace

87-89

Commercial -Van

Toyota

Hiace/Liteace

90-95

Commercial -Van

Daihatsu

Handivan

82-90

Commercial -Van

Holden / Suzuki

Scurry / Carry

82-00

Commercial -Van

Toyota

Hiace/Liteace

82-86

Commercial -Van

Daihatsu

Hi-Jet

82-90

Commercial -Van

Toyota

Supra

82-90

Large

Holden / Suzuki

Barina / Swift / Cultus

86-88

Light

Daihatsu

Charade

82-86

Light

Honda

City

83-86

Light

Mitsubishi

Mirage / Colt

82-88

Light

Subaru

Sherpa / Fiori / 700 / Rex

89-92

Light

Daihatsu

Mira

90-96

Light

Hyundai

Getz

02-06

Light

Suzuki

Alto

85-00

Light

Holden

Camira

82-89

Medium

Mitsubishi

Starion

82-87

Medium

Toyota

Tarago

83-89

People Mover

Mitsubishi

Starwagon / L300

83-86

People Mover

Ford / Mazda

Laser / 323 / Familia

82-88

Small

Holden / Nissan

Astra / Pulsar / Langley

84-86

Small

Honda

Civic / Ballade / Shuttle

84-87

Small

Hyundai

Excel

86-90

Small

Nissan

NX/NX-R

91-96

Small

Nissan

Exa

83-86

Small

Mitsubishi

Cordia

83-87

Small


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