Which are the safest second-hand cars?

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

AA General Manager Motoring Services, Stella Stocks, says major advances have been made in vehicle safety features and performance over the last 20 years.

“Our aim in releasing these findings is to provide used car buyers with information on which vehicles provide the best protection when they are selecting a used car.

“Twenty years of data has shown us that, on average, newer models provide occupants with better protection from injury in a crash than older ones. Motorists will see from the list that some of the most affordable used cars are in fact the safest too,” says Ms Stocks.

The Safe Pick rating tool, introduced last year, helps motorists choose a vehicle that protects them and other road users.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Chief Executive, Geoff Dangerfield, said a carefully selected group of 29 vehicles scored the Safe Pick rating, of which 19 were small, medium or large cars.

“Better designs such as more airbags, advanced seatbelt systems and high strength steel construction help reduce the risk of death or serious injury in the event of a crash,” says Mr Dangerfield.

“The overall result we hope for in collating and sharing this information is to reduce road trauma and encourage motorists buy the safest car they can afford,” he says.

Some Safe Pick examples include:

  • Volvo S40 1997-2004 from $5,000
  • Peugeot 307 2001-2009 from $8,000
  • Volkswagen Golf GL 1999-2004 from $7,500
  • Mazda 6 2002-2007 from $12,000
  • Honda Accord 2003-2007 from $15,000
  • Toyota Aurion 2006-2010 from $24,000

Monash University Accident Research Centre calculated the Used Car Safety Ratings by analysing over five million vehicles in police-reported road crashes in Australia and New Zealand between 1996 and 2010. The data is reassessed every year as more crash details become available, and the brochure is updated annually.

See also: Used Car Safety Ratings on the RightCar website (external link).