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Ratings Explained

What are the rating systems?

howsafeisyourcar.com.au displays two types of ratings. Learn more below.

Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) safety ratings are published for a range of new vehicles entering the Australian and New Zealand markets

Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR’s) help you to identify safer second hand cars.

Who is behind the ratings?

Since 1993, ANCAP has published independent safety ratings for thousands of new vehicle makes, models and variants. These independent safety ratings are used to compare the relative safety between vehicles of similar size, and have become critical in car selection for private and fleet buyers.

Monash University Accident Research Centre estimate and develop the UCSR.

How are the ratings determined?

Each have slightly different criteria

ANCAP safety ratings are determined based on a series of internationally recognised, independent crash tests and safety assessments – involving a range of physical crash tests, an assessment of on board safety features and equipment, and performance testing of active collision avoidance technologies.

UCSR’s are based on statistics collected from car crashes in Australia and New Zealand where someone was killed or seriously injured.

Evaluation Criteria

ANCAP test protocols have evolved over the years and from January 2018, all vehicles rated are evaluated against four key areas:

  • Adult Occupant Protection
  • Child Occupant Protection
  • Vulnerable Road User Protection
  • Safety Assist

Vehicles are required to meet minimum score thresholds for each star rating level. Requirements are updated every two years to encourage the latest safety be available in new cars entering the Australian and New Zealand markets

The ratings cover both the role of the vehicle in determining injury outcomes (driver protection and protection for other road users) and the contribution of vehicle design and specification to crash risk (Crash avoidance).

Driver protection ratings indicate the relative safety of vehicles in preventing injury to their own drivers in the event of a crash, whilst protection for other road user ratings indicate how well the vehicle protects other road users with which they collide.

Crash avoidance takes into account the vehicle design and included safety features to determine how well a vehicle mitigates crash outcomes or ability to avoid a crash completely.

Things you should know

ANCAP ratings include a “year tested” – the rating ‘year tested’ is the easiest way to tell how current an ANCAP safety rating is. Look for a vehicle which holds the maximum 5 star ANCAP safety rating with the latest ‘year tested’.


Vehicles are awarded “safe pick”- these vehicles provide excellent protection to their own driver and cause less serious injury to other road users.