NEON SHINES IN CRASH RATINGS
USED car valued at $2000 is the surprise performer in the latest used-car crash ratings.
The 1996 Chrysler Neon was one of 118 vehicles to score strongly in the Monash University Accident Research Centre crash rankings survey.
‘‘It shows that secondhand car buyers do not have to limit their options when it comes to buying a safe car,’’ Monash researcher Dr Stuart Newstead said.
The study assessed 239 cars, commercial vehicles, vans, people movers and four-wheeldrives from 1982 onwards.
The data was compiled from 3.6 million vehicles and 740,000 injured road users involved in crashes from 1992-2007.
Dr Newstead said the results show that buyers can choose safer cars across most market segments.
‘‘There is a safer choice for every driver, from small cars to larger cars and commercial vans,’’ he said.
Apart from the Neon, the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf, Mazda MX5 and Peugeot 307 rated well among small and medium-sized cars.
ANot surprisingly, vehicles built before 1995 dominated the worst performers.
‘‘These vehicles generally do not have the safety features of some of the more modern cars, like airbags and stronger bodies.
‘‘Generally, the newer the car, the better the protection for driver and passengers.’’
Among the worst performers were pre-1995 versions of the Hyundai Excel, Mitsubishi Lancer and Nissan NX.
Some pre-1995 micro cars, commercial vehicles and four-wheel-drives also rated poorly.
The Monash study ranked older versions of the Daihatsu Mira, Subaru Sherpa, Suzuki Alto, Suzuki Carry van and Daihatsu Rocky as very poor.
Other models that scored poorly or very poorly included the Daihatsu Mira built between 1990 and 1996 and the Nissan Pintara built between 1989 and 1992.
Many late-model Australian-made cars scored above average but European and Japanese cars dominated the best performers.
SMALL BUT SAFE: Senior researcher at MUARC Stuart Newstead with a damaged Chrysler Neon which performed well in the tests