Life Auto The safest (and most dangerous) used cars on our roads
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The safest (and most dangerous) used cars on our roads

Young woman handing car key to a man
'There's a big difference between the best and worst used cars'. Photo: Getty
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A major study of 7.5 million road crashes has revealed the safest – and most dangerous – used cars on the market in Australia.

The Monash University-led study lists almost 400 cars on a 1-5 star rating, and found a driver in the least safe car is 10 times more likely to be killed or seriously injured than someone in the safest.

“There’s an enormous difference between the best and the worst,” RACV’s manager of vehicle engineering Michael Case told ABC’s News Breakfast.

“The better performing vehicles don’t necessarily cost more.”

The ratings are based on statistical analysis of more than seven million crashes in Australia and New Zealand between 1987 and 2015, and the injuries that occurred in those crashes.

To be included in the list a car must have been involved in at least 100 crashes and resulted in at least 20 driver injuries.

The study also nominated more than 40 car models as “safer picks” based on their history.

“It means the vehicle not only protects its own occupants well, it’s relatively a good performer in terms of its effect on other, more vulnerable road users,” Mr Case said.

“The vehicle is less likely to be involved in a crash because of new safety features we’ve seen introduced into the market.”

Among the five-star “safer picks” were popular makes like the Toyota Prius, Ford Mondeo, Mazda 6, Honda CR-V and Holden Colorado ute.

More than 75 cars received just one star, including some models of the Honda Civic, Holden Cruze, Mazda 2, Ford Falcon and early-year Toyota Corollas.

‘Cars are getting safer’

The cars listed date back to 1986 and Mr Case said there had been a noticeable improvement in vehicle safety over the years.

“With most new cars of the past decade fitted with advanced safety features, we are now finally seeing more vehicles in the used car segment with crash avoidance systems,” he said.

This means there are cheaper options on the market that still have good safety ratings.

“It is great to see that a few ‘safer pick’ vehicles are available second-hand for under $10,000,” Mr Case said.

“This is a great outcome for young drivers, who are often on a budget and in many cases, tend to drive cars with less safety features – despite the fact that younger drivers are much more likely to be involved in a crash.”

-ABC