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Guide to ANCAP Safety Ratings & our favourite 5-star cars

What do you want in a car more than anything? For us, the answer is easy – to arrive safely. Safety may not be as exciting as V8 engines, leather seats, or Bose sound systems, but it’s far more important.

Luckily, thanks to ANCAP, figuring out whether a car is safe or not is easy. All you have to do is Google the vehicle’s ANCAP safety rating and you’ll have your answer right away.

What is an ANCAP Safety Rating?

ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) assign cars a star rating from 0 to 5 indicating the level of safety they may provide in a crash. More stars means a safer car and only vehicles that achieve the highest standards are awarded 5 stars.

To determine the star ratings, ANCAP evaluates vehicles in the following criteria:

  1. Adult Occupant Protection
  2. Child Occupant Protection
  3. Vulnerable Road User Protection
  4. Safety Assist (SA)

A number of tests are carried out to discern a car’s competence in each area, including physical crash tests, testing of performance of active safety systems, and more. Each year, ANCAP performs thousands of tests and destroys hundreds of cars worth millions of dollars.

Criteria are regularly updated and get stricter every year. That means an older vehicle that’s rated 5 stars may not be as safe as a brand new 5-star car.

5-star ANCAP safety rated cars

When you buy a car, its ANCAP safety rating should be the first thing you check. Avoid 1 or 2-star cars and always go for a 5-star if you can. To get you started, these are a few of our favourite vehicles with 5-star ANCAP safety ratings:

Anything by Mazda

Mazda is renowned for building solid, safe cars. In fact, every model in their new range that ANCAP tested received a 5-star safety rating, including all variants of the Mazda 2 from 2014 onwards. Not bad right?

The new model Mazda 2 has a bunch of impressive smart features that keep drivers safe. Lane keep assist will gently nudge you back into your lane if you veer off course. Traffic sign recognition displays the speed limit on your dash. Mazda radar cruise control automatically brakes and accelerates to keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.

If you’re on a budget, look for used Mazda 2s from 2014 or 2015 – these may be NZ’s cheapest cars with 5-star safety ratings.

Kia Sorento

If you’re after an SUV that’ll keep the family safe, Kia has several 5-star rated models.

The range of safety features on these things is mind boggling. Our favourite is definitely the Sorento, which has been awarded 5-star ratings for all models from 2017 onward.

They’ve got blind spot collision avoidance, forward collision avoidance assist that automatically brakes if you’re about to hit an obstacle, and even trailer stability assist to make towing easier.

Suzuki Swift

Suzuki Swifts are the perfect combination of affordability, safety and fun. In fact, every model except for the GL has been awarded 5-star safety ratings from 2017 onward.

Their advanced forward detection system helps you avoid collisions and includes a range of high tech features like headlamp high beam assist, dual sensor brake support and adaptive cruise control.

Nissan Navara

If you’re after a ute that’s safe and gets the job done, the Nissan Navara is your best bet. The grunty 450 dual cab model has a reversing camera, several airbags, hill descent control and countless other features that make it one of the safest utes on the market.

Are you in the market for a safe used or new car? Get in touch with the team at Niccars for help choosing, or drop into one of our local dealerships today.

 

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