There are ANCAP safety ratings for new cars, but what about used cars?

    Monash University’s Vehicle Safety Research Group has teamed up with Australia’s auto clubs and state road authorities to give 289 different used vehicles a safety rating.

    Like ANCAP, the 2021 Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) range from one to five stars.

    Unlike ANCAP, which subjects new cars to a testing regimen that culminates in cars getting smashed into barriers, the used car safety ratings are instead based on independent analysis of real-world crash statistics.

    That means instead of setting criteria and benchmarks for expected performance, the UCSR is about looking at how vehicles on Australian roads perform relative to each other.

    The team at Monash looks at a person’s risk of death or serious injury in a crash and how that relates to the type of vehicle they’re driving, collecting data from police crash reports as well as from vehicle registers.

    Demographic factors are taken into account in the analysis, with ratings adjusted based on:

    • Gender
    • Age
    • Number of vehicles involved in the crash
    • Crash location
    • Crash year
    • Speed limit

    The complex statistical analysis sets aside the risk of being involved in a crash in the first place, which is influenced by factors like the vehicle’s technology, the driver’s behaviour, the road environment or the condition of the vehicle.

    “There’s X number of these vehicles involved in a crash, [and we look at] what proportion of the drivers were killed or seriously injured in this vehicle versus that vehicle after you’ve taken all the other factors into account,” said associate professor Stuart Newstead of the Monash University Accident Research Centre.

    The team look primarily at the protection for a driver, considering a majority of the time vehicles on the road have only a single occupant, but it also looks at the chance of you being injured by this car as a pedestrian, cyclist or other road user.

    The relative popularity of a vehicle has no impact on its rating in the report, other than to ensure its presence. For example, lower-volume vehicles from the likes of Chery and Ferrari don’t feature on the report as there’s less accident data available.

    The team also awards Safer Pick ratings, which also take into account the risk of death or serious injury to other road users and the likelihood of an accident based on the crash avoidance technology fitted.

    “A driver of the worst vehicle rated is over eight times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in the same crash than the same driver in the safest vehicle,” said Associate Professor Newstead.

    The report notes 64 per cent of vehicle fatalities in 2020 occurred in vehicles aged 10 years or older, while the average risk of serious injury or death in a 2019 vehicle is around 47 per cent less than a 2000 vehicle and 61 per cent less than a vehicle manufactured prior to 1990.

    “What the used car safety ratings then also do is reflect naturally some of the things that happen in the fleet,” said Associate Professor Newstead.

    “If you’re driving a very small car, you’re at a disadvantage in the real world because you’re getting hit by a lot heavier things so the crash energy that you sustain is more, and so that vehicle has to work harder.

    “As you see in the Used Car Safety Ratings, more of the bigger cars score well because in the real world that’s what happens. If you’re in a Suzuki Swift getting hit by a LandCruiser 200 Series, you’d probably prefer to be in a LandCruiser 200.

    “That’s not to say if you want a light car you shouldn’t buy one, but you should be conscious of what that means when you take it out on the road.

    “And I think it’s particularly pertinent for when you’re, for example, shopping for a car for a novice driver who as you know has a very high crash risk, you want to know how they’re going to perform in the real world.”

    Associate Professor Newstead says given the lower ratings for most light cars, it would be wise to instead go up a size when buying a used car and look at, for example, a used Ford Focus.

    While a car assessed by ANCAP keeps its star rating until it’s tested again, every vehicle in the UCSR is updated annually. As cars get safer and safer, what was once a five-star car could slip down in the ratings.

    In addition to analysing the data for the UCSR, the Vehicle Safety Research Group also produces research on safety features.

    Here’s a rundown of the Used Car Safety Ratings:

    Light cars

    ModelYearStar rating
    Daihatsu Charade1993-2000
    Daihatsu Sirion1998-2004
    Ford Fiesta2004-2008
    Ford Festiva1994-2001
    Holden Barina1995-2000
    Holden Barina (XC)/Combo2001-2012
    Holden Barina2005-2011
    Hyundai Getz2002-2011
    Kia Rio2000-2005
    Kia Rio2005-2011
    Mazda 121 Metro1997-2002
    Mazda 22002-2007
    Mitsubishi Colt2004-2011
    Nissan Micra2011-2016
    Peugeot 2061999-2007
    Suzuki Swift2005-2010
    Suzuki Swift2011-2017
    Toyota Echo1999-2005
    Ford Fiesta2009-2018
    Holden Barina2011-2018
    Honda Jazz/Fit2002-2008
    Honda Jazz/Fit2008-2014
    Hyundai i202010-2015
    Mazda 22007-2014
    Toyota Yaris/Vitz2005-2011
    Toyota Yaris/Vitz2011-2019
    Kia Rio2011-2016
    Honda City2009-2013
    Volkswagen Polo2010-2017

    Small cars

    ModelYearStar rating
    Daewoo Lanos1997-2003
    Daewoo Nubira1997-2003
    Ford Laser1999-2003
    Holden Astra1998-2006
    Honda Civic1996-2000
    Honda Integra1993-2001
    Hyundai Accent1995-2000
    Hyundai Accent2000-2006
    Hyundai Lantra1996-2000
    Hyundai Elantra2000-2006
    Hyundai Excel1995-2000
    Kia Cerato2004-2008
    Mazda 3231999-2003
    Mitsubishi Lancer/Mirage1996-2003
    Mitsubishi Lancer2002-2003
    Mitsubishi Lancer2003-2007
    Nissan 200SX/Silvia1994-2002
    Nissan Pulsar2000-2005
    Nissan Tiida2006-2013
    Subaru Impreza1993-2000
    Suzuki Baleno1995-2002
    Toyota Corolla/Allex1998-2001
    Ford Focus2002-2005
    Holden Astra2004-2009
    Holden Viva2005-2009
    Honda Civic2001-2005
    Honda Civic2012-2016
    Hyundai Elantra2006-2011
    Hyundai Elantra2011-2015
    Kia Cerato2009-2013
    Peugeot 3061994-2001
    Suzuki Liana2001-2007
    Toyota Corolla2001-2007
    Toyota Corolla 2007-2013
    Toyota MR21991-2000
    Ford Focus2005-2012
    Holden Cruze2009-2016
    Honda Civic2006-2011
    Hyundai Accent2011-2019
    Hyundai i302007-2012
    Hyundai i302012-2017
    Mazda 32003-2009
    Mazda 32009-2013
    Mitsubishi Lancer2007-2017
    Nissan Pulsar (B17 sedan)2012-2017
    Peugeot 3082008-2013
    Subaru BRZ2012-2019
    Subaru Impreza2001-2007
    Toyota 862012-2019
    Toyota Corolla2012-2019
    Toyota Prius 22003-2009
    Volkswagen Golf/Bora1999-2004
    Volvo S40/V401997-2004
    BMW 1 Series2004-2013
    Ford Focus2012-2018
    Kia Cerato2013-2018
    Mazda 32013-2019
    Peugeot 3072001-2009
    Subaru Impreza2007-2011
    Volkswagen Golf/Jetta2004-2009
    Volkswagen Golf/Jetta2010-2013
    Volkswagen Golf (Mk7/7.5)2013-2019
    Mercedes-Benz B-Class (W246)2012-2018
    Audi A32004-2013★ – Safer Pick
    Audi A3/S3/RS32013-2019★ – Safer Pick
    BMW 1 Series2011-2019★ – Safer Pick
    Mercedes-Benz A-Class (W176)2012-2018★ – Safer Pick
    Subaru Impreza/XV2012-2016★ – Safer Pick
    Toyota Prius 32009-2016★ – Safer Pick

    Medium cars

    ModelYearStar rating
    Holden Vectra1997-2003
    Hyundai Sonata1998-2001
    Mazda 6261998-2002
    Toyota Camry1997-2002
    Audi A41995-2001
    BMW 3 Series (E46)1999-2006
    Ford Mondeo1995-2001
    Mazda 62002-2007
    Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W202)1994-2000
    Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W203)2000-2010
    Saab 900/9-31994-2002
    Subaru Liberty/Outback1999-2003
    Toyota Avalon2000-2005
    Toyota Camry2002-2006
    Holden Vectra2003-2005
    Honda Accord1999-2002
    Honda Accord2003-2007
    Honda Accord Euro2003-2008
    Honda Accord Euro2008-2015
    Lexus IS200/IS3001999-2004
    Mazda 62008-2011
    Subaru Liberty/Outback2003-2009
    Toyota Aurion2012-2017
    Audi A42001-2008
    BMW 3 Series2005-2013
    Ford Mondeo2007-2015
    Honda Accord2008-2013
    Lexus IS250/IS350/IS F2005-2013
    Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W204/C204)2007-2015
    Toyota Aurion2006-2012
    Toyota Camry2006-2011
    Volkswagen Passat2006-2015
    Toyota Camry2011-2017
    Audi A4/S4/RS4/Allroad2008-2015★ – Safer Pick
    Mercedes-Benz C-Class (W205/S205/C205/A205)2014-2019★ – Safer Pick
    Mercedes-Benz CLK (C209)2003-2009★ – Safer Pick
    Subaru Liberty/Outback/Exiga2009-2014★ – Safer Pick

    Large cars

    ModelYearStar rating
    Ford Fairlane/LTD (AU)1999-2002
    Ford Falcon (AU)1998-2002
    Holden Commodore (VT/VX)1997-2002
    Holden Statesman/Caprice (WH)1999-2003
    Mitsubishi Magna/Verada1996-2003
    Mitsubishi Magna/Verada2003-2005
    Ford Fairlane/LTD (BA/BF)2003-2007
    Holden Commodore (VY/VZ)2002-2007
    Holden Monaro2001-2005
    Jaguar XJ2010-2019
    Nissan Maxima2000-2002
    Nissan Maxima2006-2009
    Ford Falcon (BA/BF)2002-2008
    Holden Statesman/Caprice (WK/WL)2003-2006
    Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W210)1996-2002
    Mitsubishi 3802005-2008
    BMW 5 Series (E39)1996-2003
    BMW 5 Series (E60)2003-2010
    Holden Commodore (VE)2006-2013
    Holden Statesman/Caprice (WM/WN)2006-2017
    Ford Falcon (FG/FG X)2008-2016
    Holden Commodore (VF)2013-2017
    Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W211)2002-2009
    Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W212/C207/A207)2009-2016★ – Safer Pick

    Small SUVs

    VehicleYearStar rating
    Kia Sportage1998-2003
    Suzuki SX42007-2014
    Hyundai Tucson2004-2010★★
    Mitsubishi ASX2010-2016★★★
    Hyundai ix352010-2015★★★★
    Hyundai Tucson2015-2019★★★★
    Kia Sportage2010-2015★★★★
    Nissan Dualis2007-2013★★★★
    Volkswagen Tiguan2008-2016★★★★

    Medium SUVs

    ModelYearStar rating
    Suzuki Grand Vitara1998-2005
    Toyota RAV41994-2000
    Ford Escape2001-2006
    Ford Escape2006-2012
    Holden Jackaroo/Isuzu Bighorn1998-2002
    Honda CR-V1997-2001
    Jepp Cherokee1996-2000
    Mazda Tribute2001-2006
    Mazda Tribute2006-2008
    Mitsubishi Challenger1998-2006
    Mitsubishi Outlander2003-2006
    Nissan X-Trail2001-2007
    Subaru Forester1997-2002
    Suzuki Grand Vitara2005-2008
    Toyota RAV42001-2005
    Holden Captiva2006-2018
    Nissan Pathfinder/Terrano/Regulus1995-2005
    Nissan X-Trail2007-2014
    Subaru Forester2002-2008
    Toyota RAV42006-2012
    Toyota RAV42013-2019
    Ford Territory2004-2010
    Honda CR-V2002-2006
    Honda CR-V2007-2012
    Honda CR-V2012-2017
    Hyundai Santa Fe2000-2006
    Jeep Cherokee2001-2007
    Jeep Wrangler2007-2018
    Mazda CX-52012-2017
    Mazda CX-72006-2012
    Mitsubishi Outlander2012-2019
    Subaru Forester2008-2012
    Suzuki Grand Vitara2008-2018
    Toyota Kluger2003-2007
    Ford Territory2011-2016
    Hyundai Santa Fe2006-2012
    Lexus RX2009-2015
    Subaru Tribeca2006-2014
    Toyota Kluger2007-2013
    Audi Q5/SQ52009-2016★ – Safer Pick
    BMW X32010-2017★ – Safer Pick
    Ford Kuga2013-2016★ – Safer Pick
    Hyundai Santa Fe2012-2018★ – Safer Pick
    Mitsubishi Outlander2006-2012★ – Safer Pick
    Nissan Murano2009-2015★ – Safer Pick
    Peugeot 40072006-2012★ – Safer Pick
    Subaru Forester2012-2018★ – Safer Pick
    Toyota Kluger2013-2019★ – Safer Pick
    Volvo XC60 2009-2017★ – Safer Pick

    Large SUVs

    ModelYearStar rating
    Kia Sorento2003-2009
    Land Rover Discovery1991-2002
    Lexus LX1998-2007
    Lexus LX2007-2019
    Toyota LandCruiser 100 Series1998-2007
    Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series2007-2019
    Toyota LandCruiser Prado1996-2003
    Mazda CX-9 2007-2015
    Mitsubishi Pajero2000-2006
    Nissan Patrol1998-2016
    Toyota LandCruiser Prado2002-2009
    Land Rover Discovery2009-2016
    Mitsubishi Pajero2007-2019
    Nissan Pathfinder2005-2013
    Nissan Pathfinder2013-2019
    Toyota LandCruiser Prado2009-2019
    Audi Q72006-2014★ – Safer Pick
    BMW X52001-2006★ – Safer Pick
    BMW X52007-2013★ – Safer Pick
    Isuzu MU-X2013-2019★ – Safer Pick
    Jeep Grand Cherokee2010-2019★ – Safer Pick
    Mercedes-Benz ML1998-2005★ – Safer Pick
    Mercedes-Benz ML/GL2005-2011★ – Safer Pick
    Mercedes-Benz ML/GLE and GL/GLS2012-2019★ – Safer Pick
    Volvo XC902003-2015★ – Safer Pick

    People movers

    ModelYearStar rating
    Honda Odyssey1995-2000
    Kia Carnival1999-2006
    Toyota Avensis Verso2001-2010
    Toyota Tarago/Previa/Estima2000-2006
    Toyota Tarago/Previa/Estima2006-2019
    Honda Odyssey2004-2009
    Kia Carnival2006-2011
    Kia Carnival2014-2019


    ModelYearStar rating
    Mitsubishi Express1994-2013
    Toyota HiAce/Liteace1996-2004
    Toyota HiAce2005-2019
    Volkswagen Caddy2005-2019
    Ford Transit2001-2007
    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter1998-2006
    Mercedes-Benz Sprinter2006-2018
    Hyundai iLoad2008-2019
    Mercedes-Benz Vito/Viano/Valente2004-2015
    Volkswagen Caravelle/Transporter/Multivan2004-2015


    ModelYearStar rating
    Holden Commodore Ute (VR/VS)1994-2000
    Holden Commodore Ute (VU)2000-2002
    Holden Rodeo1999-2002
    Mitsubishi Triton 1996-2006
    Ford Courier1998-2002
    Ford Courier2003-2006
    Ford Falcon Ute (AU)2000-2002
    Holden Rodeo 2003-2008
    Mazda B-Series1998-2002
    Mazda Bravo2003-2006
    Toyota HiLux1998-2002
    Toyota HiLux2003-2004
    Ford Falcon Ute (BA/BF)2003-2008
    Ford Ranger 2006-2011
    Holden Colorado2008-2011
    Holden Commodore Ute (VY/VZ)2002-2007
    Isuzu D-Max2008-2011
    Mazda BT-502006-2011
    Mitsubishi Triton 2006-2015
    Nissan Navara1997-2005
    Toyota HiLux2005-2015
    Ford Falcon Ute (FG/FG X)2008-2016
    Holden Commodore Ute (VE)2007-2013
    Nissan Navara2005-2015
    Ford Ranger2011-2015
    Holden Colorado2012-2019
    Mazda BT-502011-2015
    Volkswagen Amarok2011-2019

    MORE: ANCAP ratings: everything you need to know
    MORE: Australia’s best-selling cars without ANCAP ratings
    MORE: What’s next for ANCAP?

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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