Safe Cars

Reporter: Graeme Butler

How times have changed. Motoring Journalist from the West Australian Steven Williams has been a long time campaigner for safer cars for young drivers. He recently re-visited how small cars stacked up in the safety stakes and he was in for a big surprise. "Prices of these cars haven't budged since 1995 they were about 15 or 16 grand then and they've the same now, safety's gone through the roof that 1995 car had one airbag and a 1 star crash rating all ten of these cars got at least 6 airbags and five star crash ratings"

This is how safety ratings are measured the Australasian new car assessment program or ANCAP - this is the Toyota Yaris 1.3 litre and is the most affordable on Steven Williams pick of ten 5 star rated cars under $18,000 - it shares the top spot along with the Honda Jazz. "The Honda Jazz is also $14,990 plus on road costs and if you're looking for the most spacious safe little car if i can say all that at once it's defiantly the jazz you can fit all sorts of gear in the jazz and it's a great little run around"

The RIO 1.4litre is $15,290 plus on road costs - it won Australia's Best Cars - best light car last year.

"The Kia Rio that's a really flash bit of kit it's been designed by a former Audi designer Peter Schreyer and it looks like an Audi believe it or not it's a Kia and it's a really great car and extremely safe and very stylish"

Like the Kia Rio, the Hyundai i20 is also a Korean car which is both proving extremely popular...

GFX - the i20 1.4litre 5 door hatch is $15,490

The Mazda2 Rounds out the lowest priced 5 star safety rated cars its $15,790

The safety features which come standard on cheaper small cars today were not so long ago only found on top of the range European cars for this reason Stephen Williams says parents who can afford it should consider buying one of these late model cars for their teenage drivers- rather than a second hand older models. "If they can possibly afford a new car well definitely go new because that's where the revolution is, if they can't just got to look for the highest star rating that you can find that's the simplest advice i can give"

Rounding out Stephens pick of ten cars under $18,000 with five star ratings are

the Holden Barina at $15,990 - The Suzuki Swift also at $15,990 plus on road costs, the VW Polo at $16,990 is the only European badged car on the list - followed by the Hyundai Accent also at 16,990 - and finally just scraping in under $18,000 is the ford Fiesta - but Stephen says you must include the safety pack above the base model. "The fiesta probably gives the sportiest drive of all the cars and with some males perhaps not being interested in these little cars maybe that's a car that might appeal to a young fells and it's extremely good looking as well"



10 five-star-safe cars under $18,000

Toyota Yaris 1.3-litre 3-dr hatch ?$14,990

Honda Jazz 1.3-litre 5-dr hatch ?$14,990

Kia Rio 1.4-litre 3-dr hatch ?$15,290

Hyundai i20 1.4-litre 3-dr hatch ?$15,490

Mazda2 1.5-litre 5-dr hatch ?$15,790

Holden Barina 1.6-litre 5-dr hatch ?$15,990

Suzuki Swift 1.4-litre 5-dr hatch ?$15,990

Volkswagen Polo 1.4-litre 5-dr hatch ?$16,990

Hyundai Accent 1.6-litre 5-dr hatch/sedan ?$16,990

Ford Fiesta 1.6-litre 5-dr hatch (with safety pack) ?$17,590


* All five-star-safe manual models; add on-road costs to prices.

Four-star cars: Nissan Micra ($13,490), Holden Barina Spark ($12,490), Suzuki Alto ($11,790)

Three-star cars: Chery J1 ($9990), Proton S16 ($12,490), Mitsubishi Colt ($16,490)