Golf cuts danger factor
Pre-loved safety comes into focus, writes Mark Hinchliffe
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.