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Safe cars for first-time drivers on small budgets

24 October 2021

Safe cars for first-time drivers on small budgets

What are the safest new and used vehicles in Australia?

Securing your driver’s licence and scouting car yards or online dealerships to buy your first vehicle can be an exciting time. Not to mention the satisfaction that comes with finding the right make and model for your lifestyle.

But with many serious injuries and road accidents resulting in 1,125 deaths nationwide in the year to May 2021, one key consideration to a clever car purchase is knowing how safe a vehicle is.

Avoid the worst by putting safety first

It’s important to do the research to understand important safety features of a vehicle so that you, your family, and friends are all protected on the road. Keep in mind that just because a car is new, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe. So, whether it’s a new or used car you’re planning to purchase, check how safe it is before committing to buy. is an online service for car buyers that provides independent information about the safety of 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 – many used cars rate well in the safety and affordability department. In fact, older cars (particularly those with the right safety features) can be just as safe or even safer than some new cars.

When you’re shopping for a car on a budget, it’s important to choose a vehicle equipped with the right safety features, including:

  • 5-star ANCAP rating

  • Dual front, side curtain and head airbags

  • Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

Our safety experts at the IAG Research Centre have rounded up a dozen vehicles for around $10,000 to $15,000 that meet all three of the safety features listed above. Below are the recommended vehicles:

  1. Toyota Camry Series ASV50R/AVV50R (2011)

  2. Toyota Corolla (Jan 2009)

  3. Ford Falcon (Petrol from July 2008, LPG variants from May 2009)

  4. Mitsubishi Lancer hatchback CJ Series (2008)

  5. Mitsubishi Outlander ZH (2008)

  6. Nissan Dualis (2008)

  7. Skoda Roomster (2008)

  8. Holden Astra AH Series (2008)

  9. Hyundai i30 hatchback (2008)

  10. Ford Focus (July 2007)

  11. Mitsubishi Lancer sedan MY08 onwards CJ Series (2007)

  12. Holden Commodore Sedan and Sportwagon (VE Series)

Bear in mind that if you purchase a used car and it’s been involved in an accident and needs repairs, that can compromise its safety rating. So, it’s important to thoroughly check your next potential car for mechanical defects before you buy. Check with your state or territory motoring association for pre-purchase inspections or have it inspected by your trusted mechanic.

Protect your car with helpful cover

If you need to get your new car insured you can compare cover on the NRMA Car Insurance comparison table. We now offer comprehensive car insurance in most states and territories across Australia. Before you lock in insurance for your four wheels, make sure you understand the terms and conditions and the inclusions and exclusions of your cover.

Get a car insurance quote online today or call 132 132 to speak to a helpful consultant.

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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