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Small fails to stand tall in crash ratings

Good protection: Toyota's 1999 Corolla.

Crash test data puts small cars under the spotlight

18 Aug 2004

NEW research into the crash performance of used vehicles on Australian roads has found small cars continue to be under-represented in the best-performing category.

Real-world crash data involving 255 vehicles built between 1982 and 2002, analysed by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), rates just three small cars as offering ‘significantly better than average’ protection for drivers.

They are the Holden Astra TR (1996-98), Peugeot 306 (1994-01) and Toyota Corolla (1998-01).

No light cars scored higher than ‘average protection’ and 55 models had ‘below average’ driver protection.

Only 73 models rated above the overall fleet average in driver protection.

Funded by the RACV, VicRoads and the TAC, thislatest research feeds into a MUARC database which holds results of more than 1.5 million on-road crashes that resulted in more than 400,000 drivers being injured.

The ratings also indicate how much harm a car is likely to inflict on the driver of another vehicle in a crash, with 30 vehicles – mostly large four-wheel drives and commercial utes – found to be the worst offenders.

The Best Performers*

Small cars – Peugeot 306 1994-01
Medium cars – Holden Vectra 1997-02
Large cars – Ford Falcon AU 1998-01, Holden Commodore VT/VX 1997-02, Mitsubishi Magna (TE-TJ) 1996-02
Prestige cars – Ford Fairlane/LTD 1988-94
Compact 4WDs – Subaru Forester 1997-02
Luxury cars – Saab 9000 1986-97
Medium 4WDs – Mitsubishi Pajero 1992-99
Large 4WDs – Toyota LandCruiser 1990-02
Utes – Holden Rodeo 1996-98
* Vehicles (not a complete list) offering significantly better than average crash protection. Source: RACV 2004.

The Worst Performers*

Light cars – Daihatsu Charade 1993-00
Small cars – Ford Laser/Mazda 323 1982-88
Medium cars – Holden Camira 1982-89
Sports cars – Nissan Exa 1983-86
People-movers – Mitsubishi Starwagon/L300 1983-86
Compact 4WDs – Daihatsu Rocky/Rugger 1985-98
Utes – Subaru Brumby 1982-92
Vans – Holden Scurry/Suzuki Carry 1982-00
* Vehicles (not a complete list) offering significantly worse than average crash protection. Source: RACV 2004.

Full details are available at www.motoring.racv.com.au or www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au.

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