According to the 2009 Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) consumers still have a wide choice of second-hand cars for under $10,000 that provide a high level of crash protection to occupants and other road users.
The study analysed data form crashes that involved more than 3.6 million vehicles between 1987 and 2006. The UCSR has become the largest study of its type in the world since it began in 1990.
The ratings take into account the combined protection of drivers and other road users. The results list the crash ratings of nearly 240 popular vehicles in 10 categories. The study showed 93 vehicle models scored as “good”, with another 25 models rating as “excellent”.
On average, newer vehicles provide their occupants with better protection in a crash, but a number of less expensive models rate well. The 1996-99 Chrysler Neon and 2001-07 Peugeot 307 are among the small cars that rated 5 out of 5 stars and yet are affordable.
In the compact SUV class the Subaru Forester (1997-02) also scored 5 stars. An older Forester in above average condition can be bought for less than $8,000.
Of those vehicles to achieve a 5 star rating, one was a light car, five were small, 10 were medium, two were people movers and one a commercial van. Another 6 SUVs rated 5 stars.
One star ratings were not common and were limited to Daihatsu Mira (1990-96) and Rocky/Rugger (1985-98), Subaru Sherpa/Fiori/700/rex (1989-92), Suzuki Alto (1985-2000) and Holden/Suzuki Scurry/Carry (1982-2000).
When you weigh it all up buyers in the market for a used car should consider choosing the best safety rated vehicles that their budget will allow.