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The most unsafe cars in Australia, according to real crash data

If you’ve got one of these cars, you should seriously consider upgrading.

Every year, the government releases a Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) report. The study is done by the Monash University Accident Research Centre and ranks over 500 models based on real-world crash data.

We've taken data from this report to rank the most unsafe cars in Australia. For new models, we used data from the ANCAP. We didn't include vans.

The most dangerous cars in Australia

MakeModelYearOverall safety
DaewooLanos1997-2003★★★★★ 1/5
DaihatsuTerios1997-2005★★★★★ 1/5
Holden/IsuzuJackaroo/Bighorn/Monterey1998-2003★★★★★ 1/5
HondaIntegra1993-2001★★★★★ 1/5
HondaHR-V1999-2002★★★★★ 1/5
HyundaiLantra1996-2000★★★★★ 1/5
HyundaiAccent2000-2006★★★★★ 1/5
HyundaiSonata1998-2001★★★★★ 1/5
JeepCherokee1996-2000★★★★★ 1/5
JeepWrangler2019-2019★★★★★ 1/5
KIACerato2004-2008★★★★★ 1/5
KIASportage1998-2003★★★★★ 1/5
MahindraScorpio2023-Zero stars
MG52023-Zero stars
MitsubishiLancer/Cedia2002-2003★★★★★ 1/5
MitsubishiChallenger1998-2006★★★★★ 1/5
SubaruImpreza1993-2000★★★★★ 1/5
SuzukiGrand Vitara1998-2005★★★★★ 1/5
ToyotaMR21991-2000★★★★★ 1/5
ToyotaCamry1997-2002★★★★★ 1/5
ToyotaRAV41994-2000★★★★★ 1/5

The worst performers

Mahindra Scorpio - Zero stars

The ANCAP scored this 0 out of 18 for its safety assist features.

MG 5 - Zero stars

The ANCAP scored this 2.48 out of 18 for its safety assist features.

Jeep Wrangler - One star

The ANCAP scored the Jeep Wrangler 4.3 out 18 for its safety assist features. It also scored poorly for road user protection – 23.9 out of 49. The newer model has been given a 3-star rating.

Toyota MR2 - One star

Monash scored the Toyota MR2 1 out 5 for every single feature – driver safety, other road users safety and crash avoidance. Luckily, Toyota stopped making the vehicle in 2000.

KIA Sportage - One star

The Kia Sportage is still around today. Fortunately, this rating refers to the 1998-2003 model. It also scored 1 out of 5 for every safety feature.

Jeep Cherokee - One star

Be wary of an older Cherokee. Monash rated it 1 out of 5 for driver safety, other road users safety and crash avoidance. The model from 2014 onwards is rated 5 stars by the ANCAP.

Holden/Isuzu Jackaroo/Bighorn/Monterey - One star

Another model from the late 90s, Holden stopped making the Jackaroo in 2003. It scored 1 out of 5 for other road users safety and crash avoidance, and 2 out of 5 for driver safety.

Mitsubishi Challenger - One star

Older models of the Challenger weren't very safe. This model, retired in 2006, was rated 2 out of 5 for driver safety, and 1 out of 5 for other road users safety and crash avoidance.

Safety features to look for

Transport NSW says you should look for the following when buying a used vehicle:

  • Anti-lock brake system (ABS)
  • Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)
  • Airbags
  • Lane departing warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Reversing sensors and/or cameras

Does an unsafe car affect insurance?

Yes. Car insurers often take the age and safety rating of a car into consideration when calculating your premium.

Older cars are more likely to be broken into as well – usually because they don't come with the same level of security as a newer model.

This doesn't mean insurance will cost you more for an older car though. New cars are typically more expensive and might cost more to repair, so insurance is still likely to cost you more.

For example, we got quotes for a 2006 and 2015 Mitsubishi Challenger. The 2006 model was over $250 cheaper.

Vehicle theft is also less common. It's been gradually declining in Australia since the beginning of the century. However, in March 2023 the number of vehicles stolen in NSW was greater than in any month since January 2017.

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