Golf cuts dan­ger fac­tor

Pre-loved safety comes into fo­cus, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

CHOOS­ING the right used car can make you up to nine times safer on the road. That is the spread in pro­tec­tion from the best to worst cars in the an­nual sur­vey of sec­ond-hand safety com­piled by Monash Uni­ver­sity.

Al­most one third of the cars get a poor or very poor crash-test rat­ing.

The re­view rates 199 ve­hi­cles in the 2010 rank­ings, which put the Volk­swa­gen Golf first and the peren­nial tailen­der — the Dai­hatsu Mira — in last place.

The re­sults shift the top-end or­der slightly, with the Golf built from 2004-2007 emerg­ing as the safest sec­ond-hand buy, but there is no im­prove­ment— and none likely — for the tiny Mira, which was a poor seller from 1990-1996.

Other highly rated per­form­ers in­clude the lux­ury BMW 5 Se­ries and Audi A4, the mid-sized Mazda6, Honda Ac­cord and Subaru Lib­erty.

The Aus­tralian-made Toy­ota Au­rion tops the large-car class.

The Monash re­search is backed by Aus­tralia’s mo­tor­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions and Steve Spald­ing of the RACQ in Queens­land says buy­ing new­est is usu­ally best.

‘‘The risk of death or se­ri­ous in­jury is al­most nine times higher be­tween the best and worst used­ve­hi­cle per­form­ers in the study,’’ Spald­ing says.

‘‘Sig­nif­i­cantly, the re­search also shows the risk of death or se­ri­ous in­jury in a 2008 car is about 20 per cent less than in a 1996 model,’’

But Spald­ing warns about blan­ket judg­ments.

‘‘There are aber­ra­tions, with the newer mod­els not as safe as ear­lier ones, such as some of the large cars and 4WDs be­cause of their weight. ‘‘But, on av­er­age, the newer the bet­ter be­cause they have more stan­dard safety equip­ment.’’

Spald­ing says small and medium cars give the best bal­ance be­tween pro­tect­ing a car’s oc­cu­pants and other road users.

‘‘How­ever, too light and the oc­cu­pant pro­tec­tion is sim­ply less be­cause the ve­hi­cle has no solid struc­ture or mass.’’

The rat­ings are based on Aus­tralian and New Zealand crashes be­tween 1987 and 2008 in­volv­ing 5.4 mil­lion peo­ple with in­juries. IN­SIDE: Full safety rat­ings: mid­dle pages

Vari­able risk: theVWGolf (above) clinched top spot as safest sec­ond-hand buy in the Monash Uni sur­vey, and the Toy­ota Au­rion (be­low left) topped the large-car class. The Dai­hatsu Mira (be­low) came last.

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