Used Car Safety Rating shows the best and worst cars on the market

Cars driving through BallaratA new Used Car Safety Rating (UCSR) report will help people buy safe, affordable, second-hand cars. Based on more than seven million crashes from 1987-2014, cars are given a rating of one (Very Poor) to five stars (Safe Pick) depending on how well they protect their occupants and other road users.

The ratings indicate which makes and models to rule out when buying a car and show that safe cars don’t have to be expensive - many top rating vehicles come in under $10,000.

Based on police reports and work by the RACV, TAC, VicRoads and Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), the ratings cover more than 90% of popular vehicles in Australia.

Find out more about the 2016 Used Car Safety Rating report.

Key findings of the 2016 UCSR

Almost a third of vehicles tested in the 2016 UCSR scored Poor or Very Poor for occupant crash safety protection.

About 10% of vehicles were given a Safe Pick rating – ie. They scored five stars, are fitted with Stability Control and protect other road users in a crash.

Smaller cars

  • The light car category was the worst rated - 80% scored Poor or Very Poor. Only the VW Polo was better than a ‘Marginal’ rating
  • Many safety features are not available in smaller cars due to their size, weight and cost.

Medium cars and people movers

  • The medium car category has the broadest choice of five-star rated cars
  • The worst performing medium sized cars and people movers are also the oldest
  • Medium cars tend to be much cheaper second hand
  • People movers tend to be some of the best equipped cars on the market.


  • Some of the large SUVs previously risky to other road users and compact SUVs are now Safe Picks
  • Yet, half of the SUV category are rated Poor or Very Poor.

Large cars and commercial vehicles

  • Pre-2000 large cars are generally poorly rated
  • Local manufacturers in the large car category were some of the safest
  • Commercial vehicles are improving in safety; seven out of 11 vans and three utes scored excellent ratings
  • A lot of utes are still unsafe for vulnerable road users.

Find out which cars are Five Star Safe Picks and which scored Poor and Very Poor ratings.

Search for your car on How Safe Is Your Car