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What are safer cars for new drivers on small budgets

What are safer cars for new drivers on small budgets

Ok you’ve just got your drivers licence, you’ve got the money, and you think you’ve found the perfect car.

It’s priced right, and it’s everything you think you need.

Before you buy it there are some other important factors you should consider.

Buying a car is an economic and safety decision and finding the right one can be difficult.

Whether it’s a new or used car it’s important to do the research to check out the safety features so that you, your family and friends are protected.

New doesn't mean safe

Howsafeisyourcar.com.au is an online service that has been developed to provide car buyers with independent information about the safety of the new and used cars on the Australian market and is an initiative of the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) Victoria.

TAC research shows that a new car is not necessarily safer than an older one and many second hand cars rate well in terms of safety and affordability.

Older cars, particularly those with the right safety features, can be just as safe or even safer than some new cars.

When shopping for a car on a budget, there are a number of vehicles that can provide good levels of safety.

It’s important to choose a vehicle equipped with the right safety equipment.

Important features include:

  • 5-star ANCAP rating,
  • dual front, side curtain and head airbags, and
  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC).

Our safety experts at the IAG research centre recommend the following list of vehicles that meet the above criteria and can be found for around $10K.

Ford Focus (July 2007-)

  • CL with optional Safety Pack (adding side airbags, curtain airbags, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Traction Control (TC) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA))
  • LX/CDTI with optional Safety Packs (adding curtain airbags, Dynamic Stability Control (DSC), Traction Control (TC) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA))
  • Zetec/Ghia with optional curtain airbags

Holden Astra AH Series (June 2008-)

  • CDX, CDTI and SRI

Hyundai i30 hatchback (June 2008-)

  • SX with Protectz pack (adding ESS, front side and curtain airbags)
  • SLX with Protectz pack (adding ESC)
  • SR

Mitsubishi Lancer sedan MY08 onwards CJ Series (2007-)

  • ES with optional side and curtain airbags
  • VR/VRX

Toyota Corolla (Jan 2009-)

  • Ascent hatch/sedan with optional Enhanced Safety pack
  • Levin SX hatch with optional Enhanced Safety Pack
  • Conquest/Levin ZR/Ultima

If the budget can extend into the $10-$15K range, the following vehicles become available:

Ford Falcon (Petrol from Jul 2008-, LPG variants from May 2009)

  • XT with optional side curtain airbags
  • All other models

Holden Commodore sedan and Sportwagon (VE Series)

  • Omega (October 2008-)
  • Rest of range (September 2009-)

Mitsubishi Lancer hatchback CJ Series (2008-)

  • ES with optional side and curtain airbags
  • VR/VRX

Mitsubishi Outlander ZH (2008-)

  • LS with optional side curtain airbags

Nissan Dualis (2008-)

  • ST with optional pack (Adding ESC and side curtain airbags
  • Ti

Skoda Roomster (2008-)

  • All models

Toyota Camry Series ASV50R/AVV50R (May 2011-)

  • All models

Whatever car you choose make sure it’s thoroughly checked for mechanical defects and accident repairs as some repairs can compromise the safety rating.

Also check with your state or territory motoring association for pre-purchase inspections or have it inspected by your family mechanic.

Happy shopping!

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Disclaimer: Insurance issued by Insurance Australia Limited trading as NRMA Insurance. To see if a product is right for you, always consider the Product Disclosure Statement available from NRMA Insurance.

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