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Which cars are safest in a crash?

Every year, the road toll in Australia is over a thousand. In 2015, it was 1,209. Pretty shocking, right? It’s no wonder that we’re all pretty concerned about the safety of our cars. We want to keep ourselves and our families safe, after all.

Safety is one of the biggest determining factors when it comes to buying a car. Your dream car might be a Ford Mustang, but it only scored 2 star safety rating from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).

Most people these days won’t even consider buying a car unless it has a 5 star rating from ANCAP, and with good reason. Here’s an explanation of the ANCAP rating system, along with three useful tips from the smash repairs experts at Melbourne’s Sheen Group.



ANCAP safety ratings explained

We all know that the 5 star ANCAP safety rating is the gold standard when it comes to safety, but how does the rating system work?

According to ANCAP, “You have twice the chance of being killed or seriously injured in a 3 star ANCAP safety rated car compared to a 5 star ANCAP safety rated car.”

To get a 5 star rating, a car needs to get a minimum combined score of 32.5 out of a possible 37 as well as meeting benchmarks in each type of crash tests. The crash tests include a frontal offset crash, side impact, and pole impact.

The car is given a score for each crash based on how well the car protected the driver and passengers from injury. ANCAP uses sophisticated crash test dummies to determine the likelihood of serious injury for each body part of each occupant to determine the score.


Which are the safest cars?

While any car with a 5 star ANCAP safety rating is extremely good at protecting its occupants, some of these cars achieved higher scores than others. Some even got close to perfect scores.

Some of the safest cars ANCAP has tested and their scores include:

Small & medium carsLarge carsUtility vehicles
2017 Skoda Octavia36.842017 Hyundai Genesis36.882017 Ford Ranger36.72
2017 Mercedes B18036.782017 KIA Sorento36.622017 Mitsubishi Triton36.22
2017 Honda Jazz36.58Nissan Qashqai36.562016 Toyota Landcruiser35.75
2016 Audi A336.412017 BMW 520d36.532017 Mazda BT-5035.72
2017 Mazda 336.42017 Volvo XC6036.532016 Holden Colorado35.09
2016 Mazda 236.352016 Mazda Cx-336.442015 Mercedes Vito30.66
2016 Renault Clio35.872016 Jeep Renegade36.412016 VW Caddy28.46


All scores sourced from


Almost all of these vehicles have a 5 star ANCAP ratings and are very safe, but you can see that some of them have higher scores than others. If you’re looking for the safest car there is, then make sure you check the ANCAP scores.

It’s also worth noting that the two vans on the list, the Mercedes Vito and the VW Caddy, both have 4 star ratings. They’ve made it onto this list of safest cars because there are currently no vans with a 5 star ANCAP rating, and these two have the highest scores on any vans.



Australia’s highest accident hotspots

The other aspect of staying safe while driving is to try and avoid accidents as much as possible. While you can only control your driving and not anyone around you, there are still things you can do to reduce your chances of getting into an accident.

Obviously, the first – and most common sense – step is to always drive safely and obey the law while driving. However, as AAMI’s annual Crash Index shows, each state has its own accident hotspots and incident trends, including:

  • Drivers in New South Wales struggle to give way, with accidents of this type 5 per cent higher than the national average
  • Victorian drivers reported the greatest number of nose to tail incidents, with over 30,429 claims
  • When it comes to giving way, Queenslanders boasted less incidents (20 per cent) than the other two big states NSW (29 per cent) and VIC (25 per cent) and the national average (24 per cent)
  • South Australian drivers had one of the least number of collisions while reversing, reporting only 792 incidents
  • Stationary objects proved the greatest challenge for Tasmanian drivers, accounting for 39 per cent of the state’s collisions
  • Canberrans and drivers in the ACT recorded the most accidents involving an animal
  • Western Australians behind the wheel had surprisingly little trouble with animals, only reporting 573 accidents statewide


Check out if you live or work near an accident hotspot here.



Just like eating lunch or checking your phone, putting on make-up while driving is a clear driver distraction.


Help reduce your risk of being in a crash by following these seven common sense tips from How Safe is Your Car:

  • Anticipating what might happen by looking ahead and closely observing the movement of other traffic wherever you drive
  • Expecting the unexpected especially in city driving and take extra care when changing lanes, overtaking, going through intersections and driving at night
  • Keeping a greater distance to the car in front especially when driving on rural roads and overtake only when safe – never rush or lose patience
  • Taking a 15 minute powernap whenever you feel drowsy or sleepy
  • Reducing your speed accordingly when driving conditions become difficult or extreme through rain, fog, snow or glare
  • Not driving after you have been drinking or have taken drugs
  • Not using a mobile phone while driving

Always take extra care when driving in these areas. You should also try to avoid driving while fatigued as much as possible. Aside from alcohol and speed, driver fatigue is one of the biggest risk factors while driving.

You can never take all the risk out driving, but with the right kind of car and safe, responsible driving, you can minimise your risks and (hopefully) walk away from an accident if one does happen.


Sheen Group’s top 3 repair tips

To ensure you get good value for money and not some cheap and nasty repair job, the panel beating experts at Sheen Group say there are three important things to ask for when calling around for quotes:

  1. Do you use genuine parts?
  2. Can you please tailor a quote specifically for my vehicle?
  3. Do you offer a courtesy car?

Motor Vehicle Insurance

Through its association with QBE Insurance, Homeloans’ Motor Vehicle Insurance provides peace of mind, knowing that should an incident occur, you can be back on the road without major expense or hassles. Check out the policy options here or call 13 38 39.

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Veda Dante

Veda Dante is an accomplished journalist, consultant and content creator who has nearly 30 years’ experience writing about everything from tourism, hospitality and health to architecture, pools and luxury goods. When she’s not producing copy for clients, this self-confessed word nerd is usually writing and photographing the Byron Bay region for her blog

The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Homeloans Ltd.