With used car sales surging in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, key safety bodies are urging shoppers to consider the credentials of their secondhand purchases, with a new report ranking the best and worst models.
Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has released its latest 2020 Used Car Safety Ratings, based on data collected from 8 million vehicles involved in crashes across Australia and New Zealand.
Over 270 models were analysed in the report, which assigned each car a rating between one and five stars – one being the lowest or least safe, five being the highest or most safe.
Of the cars surveyed, only 51 received five-star scores, while concerningly, 56 received one-star scores, meaning they were at least 90 per cent more likely to kill or seriously injure the driver in a crash compared to the safest vehicles.
With the 2020/2021 summer holidays upon us, the NRMA has issued a warning to motorists heading off on a family road trip, urging them to consult the MUARC ratings to ensure they are making a wise purchase.
"We know older vehicles are over-represented in fatal crashes, so if you’re looking to purchase a car that’s over 10 years old, it’s really important you know the safety rating," NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said.
Above: The Audi Q5 is one of the study's "safer picks".
"COVID-19 has changed the financial situation for many so people are more likely to look at a budget friendly used-car rather than walking into a showroom. It’s never been more important for car-buyers to get access to these ratings.
"The higher the rating, the higher your chance of surviving a serious crash. Five-star cars that also receive a special ‘safer pick’ marker go one better by providing better safety for other road users like pedestrians."
Only a small handful of cars received the 'safer pick' label from MUARC, meaning they provide "excellent protection to their own driver, cause less serious injury to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists in a collision and have a lower risk of being involved in a crash".
The 'safer pick' vehicles, which received five-star ratings and showed the highest safety performance across the board, include:
'Safer picks': The used cars with five-star ratings
In alphabetical order
Audi Q3 (2012-2018)
Audi A3 (2004-2013)
Audi Q5/SQ5 (2009-2016)
Audi Q7 (2006-2014)
Audi A4/S4/RS4/AllRoad (2008-2015)
BMW 1 Series (2004-2013)
BMW X5 (2001-2006 & 2007-2013)
Hyundai Santa Fe (2012-2018)
Honda CR-V (2012-2017)
Jeep Grand Cherokee (2010-2018)
Lexus RX (2009-2015)
Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2009-2016)
Mercedes-Benz ML-Class & GL-Class W164/X164 (2005-2011)
Mercedes-Benz ML/GL/GLE/GLS-Class W166/X166/C292 (2012—2018)
Mercedes-Benz ML-Class W163s (1998-2005)
Mercedes-Benz CLK (2003-2009)
Nissan Murano (2009-2015)
Subaru Liberty (2009-2014)
Subaru Outback (2009-2014)
Subaru Legacy (2009-2014)
Subaru Exiga (2009-2014)
Subaru Forester (2012-2018)
Subaru Tribeca (2006-2014)
Toyota Prius 3 (2009-2016)
Toyota LandCruiser Prado (2009-2018)
Volkswagen Passat (2006-2015)
Volvo XC60 (2009-2017)
Volvo XC90 (2003-2015)
The used cars with one-star ratings
Meanwhile, some of the models that recorded one-star ratings included cars like a 2005-2011 Holden Barina, a 2011-2016 Nissan Micra, a 2011-2017 Suzuki Swift, a 1998-2002 Toyota Camry, a 1994-2000 Toyota RAV4 and a 1996-2006 Mitsubishi Triton.
To see the full list of used car safety rankings, click here.