We all get swept up in things like features, performance and how fast it goes when buying a new car, but the single most important aspect – that often goes under-appreciated – is safety.
Paradoxically, it’s the one feature of your car that you never want to use, but thankfully we can rely on independent research from the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) to determine just how safe each car is.
Read next: ANCAP crash testing explained
It keeps drivers up-to-date with information on the level of protection provided if vehicles were involved in a serious crash. All cars are given scores which is then turned into a star rating from one to five, with one being the lowest.
In the last year alone, ANCAP crash tested over 150 cars in the name of safety, and on average each test costs a whopping $650,000 dollars to produce a single ANCAP safety rating. Almost all cars on sale today each have their own ANCAP safety rating, so if you’re unsure on what yours is let’s get you up to speed.
If the marketing departments of car manufacturers are doing their jobs, you should already know how safe your car is. But fear not if you don’t, there are steps you can take to find out.
One of the simplest ways to check is to visit the www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au website and plug in your details into the fields. Whether you're looking for data on a car you already own or for information on one you're considering buying, you can search up the make and model or even put in your registration details and it'll find your car for you. If there’s crash test data on file you’ll be presented with how your car did and given a safety rating out of five stars.
It’s rare for new cars to score below five stars, and just because your car says it was rated five stars five years ago, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily rated five stars today. The tests change all the time as new safety features become available and cars are judged accordingly.