New Zealand's fleet of second-hand vehicles is growing safer as revealed in the latest release of the Used Car Safety Ratings guide today.
The Used Car Safety Ratings guide is updated every year and provides guidance on the performance of more than 220 models based on real world crash data in New Zealand and Australia.
The 2014 Used Car Safety Ratings guide shows that a record 51% of the 227 second-hand cars listed scored an Excellent or Good rating for driver protection in a crash - seven more vehicles in those categories than 2013.
AA General Manager Motoring Services Stella Stocks says the better overall crash performance in used cars reflects the general improvement of the fleet in both New Zealand and Australia with the addition of sophisticated safety features in new cars eventually reaching the second-hand market.
"As more data is collected on each of the vehicles in the guide, we're able to provide motorists with the best information possible enabling them to buy the safest car they can afford," Ms Stocks says.
NZ Transport Agency's General Manager Access and Use Celia Patrick urges used car buyers to buy the safest car they can afford.
"Motorists have a number of decisions as they consider the options for their next car and for many price and functionality for how they intend to use it are usually at the top of the list. The Used Car Safety Ratings guide enables motorists to consider crash performance and driver protection across a variety of cars in a specific category," she says.
The guide also provides Safe Pick grades in most of the categories. These are cars which provide excellent protection to the driver and cause less serious injury to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists in a crash. They are also fitted with electronic stability control (ESC) which helps avoid a crash and can reduce the severity of the crash if it cannot be avoided.
Ms Stocks says there are some very affordable options among the Safe Pick choices with some well under $10,000."
About 15% of the vehicles listed in the guide earned a Safe Pick rating. At the other end of the scale, 75 models were in the Poor or Very Poor categories.
"Buyers should be looking for safety features like ESC and airbags throughout the car at a minimum. These devices save lives."
Ms Stocks says in the years to come the range of active safety assist technologies (SATs) installed on new cars today will mean the second-hand market will have ever increasing driver protection performance.
The Used Car Safety Ratings guide is based on reports from more than seven million actual crashes between 1987-2012 reported to police in New Zealand and Australia. They cover about 90% of all popular passenger and light commercial vehicles manufactured between 1982 and 2012.
Used Car Safety Ratings can be found at rightcar.govt.nz.