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by Brett Davis

Monash University Accident Research Centre has released the 2010 Used Car Safety Rating list, providing ratings for 199 common used cars. The cars were rated through the analysis of over three million accidents that have occurred on public roads.

There’s no real point in arguing with the facts, according to the real-world results, a 1996 Chrysler Neon is safer than a 1996 Subaru Impreza. And this is not simply a safety rating which is applied to a car after it is propelled into a wall inside a laboratory, this is judged by what has actually happened on our roads.

The ratings work in much the same way as ANCAP; five stars are awarded to the safest cars while anything given one star means you’re probably best off taking the bus. The comprehensive list used over three million crashes which occurred in Australia and New Zealand during 1996 to 2008 as the foundation of the research.

Results are calculated by taking in three factors of the analysed crashes:

– Crashworthiness; measures how well a car is at protecting its own occupants.
– Aggressivity; measures how well a car protects external subjects during a crash, including pedestrians, motorcyclists and other road users.
– And, Total Secondary Safety; both of the above factors combined.

It’s interesting that there’s little correlation between new car safety ratings that were given to these cars when they were launched and how they shape up in crashes out on the roads.The Subaru Liberty for instance was awarded five stars by ANCAP back in 1998 but was only awarded three stars once the car was subjected to a ‘second-hand’ environment.

Owners may contribute to the variables though, as keeping up general maintenance on the cars, or the lack of maintenance, will impact the safety and overall road worthiness.

The information was researched and provided by VicRoads and the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, and the Monash University Accident Research Centre. For the full results list, including compact, medium and large four-wheel drives, and vans and utes, visit here.




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