2013 NRMA used car safety ratings revealed

The NRMA has revealed its annual used cars safety ratings list, including 57 vehicles that achieved the maximum five-star score for driver protection.
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The data was compiled from an analysis of over six million vehicles involved in police reported road crashes in Australia and New Zealand between 1987 and 2011, and covers 216 different models.

The results show that the ‘safest’ class is the medium-sized category, with 13 vehicles attaining the maximum safety rating of five stars. The 2006-2011 model Toyota Camry, which the NRMA claims can be picked up for around $7000, came highly recommended in this category.

The booming small-car category also fared well in the tests, with seven cars attaining a five-star rating, six of which classified as a ‘safe pick’, including the top-selling 2006-2011 Mazda 3.

Late-model Australian cars were quite successful in the tests, with the Holden Cruze, Commodore Ute and Statesman/Caprice, the Ford Falcon and Territory, and the Toyota Aurion also rated safe picks.


For a car to be a ‘safe pick’, it needs to minimise harm to other road users including pedestrians and cyclists in the event of a collision.

“To be classified as a safe pick, the vehicle must [also] be available with electronic stability control – a proven crash avoidance technology,” NRMA vehicle safety expert Jack Haley said.

Overall, 109 vehicles rated in the ‘good’ and ‘excellent’ categories, and 54 vehicles were found to be ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

The data showed that cars produced from 2001 onwards were significantly more likely to be classified as a safe pick, highlighting the effectiveness of new safety technologies for drivers and other road users.

The results reveal important information for consumers. Drivers in poor-performing cars were nine times more likely to suffer death or serious injury in the event of a crash compared with the test’s top rating vehicles.

NRMA Used Car Safety Ratings Safe Picks

Small Cars:

  • 2009-11 Holden Cruze (JG/JH)
  • 2009-11 Mazda 3
  • 2001-09 Peugeot 307
  • 2003-09 Toyota Prius II
  • 1999-04 Volkswagen Golf/Bora
  • 2004-11 Volkswagen Golf/Jetta

Medium Cars:

  • 2001-08 Audi A4
  • 2005-11 BMW 3 Series (E90/E91/E92/E93)
  • 1999-04 Lexus IS200/IS300
  • 2000-07 Mercedes C-Class (W203)
  • 2006-11 Toyota Camry
  • 1998-06 Volkswagen Passat

Large Cars:

  • 1996-03 BMW 5 Series (E39)
  • 2008-11 Ford Falcon (FG)
  • 2003-06 Holen Statesman/Caprice (WK/WL)
  • 1996-02 Mercedes E-Class (W210)
  • 2006-09 Nissan Maxima
  • 2006-11 Toyota Aurion

Compact SUVs:

  • 2006-11 Mitsubishi Outlander/Peugeot 4007

Medium SUVs:

  • 2006-11 Holden Captiva (CG)
  • 2007-11 Honda CR-V
  • 2001-07 Jeep Cherokee (KJ)
  • 2005-11 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2002-08 Subaru Forester

Large SUVs:

  • 2001-08 BMW X5
  • 2004-11 Ford Territory (SX/SY)
  • 1998-05 Mercedes M Class (W163)
  • 2007-11 Toyota Kluger

People Movers:

  • 2004-09 Honda Odyssey

Commercial Vehicles (Utes):

  • 2007-11 Holden Commodore Ute (VE)
  • 2006-11 Mitsubishi Triton (ML/MN)
  • 2005-11 Nissan Navara