Blog Archives

Older car fatality rate four times higher

After many years of seeing the number of lives lost on our roads decreasing, sadly this trend has reversed. The number of Australians and New Zealanders dying on our roads is increasing. In 2017, 1225 lives were lost on Australia’s roads and 380 in New Zealand.

ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) has explored possible reasons for the reversal, with recent analysis of the Australian registered light vehicle fleet revealing older vehicles are over-represented in fatal vehicle crashes, and the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatal crash is increasing.

In 2017 the average age of a registered vehicle in Australia was 9.8 years, yet the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatality crash was 13.1 years – up from 12.5 years in 2015.

ANCAP’s research shows that the oldest vehicles (those built 2001 or earlier) accounted for 20 per cent of the fleet, but were involved in 36 per cent of fatalities. In contrast, the newest vehicles (those built 2012-2017) accounted for 31 per cent of the fleet, but were involved in just 12 per cent of fatalities.

The rate of fatal crashes per registered vehicle for the oldest vehicles is four times higher than that of the newest vehicles.

With older vehicles over-represented in fatal crashes, fleet renewal; address vehicle affordability; and incentivise the purchase of newer, safer vehicles must be encouraged. 

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Top safety ratings for four vehicles

ANCAP Safety

Four new European vehicles are hitting the New Zealand market with 5 star safety ratings from the Australasia New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP).

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class ute, Jaguar E-PACE and BMW X2 SUVs, and the Volkswagen Polo car, all performed well across various crash scenarios and tests, providing high standards of safety for drivers and passengers.

AA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks says it’s great to see safety being prioritised across vehicle types.

“We’re pleased Kiwi drivers are being offered a wide range of safety technologies as standard features, no matter the vehicle type they’re looking to buy,” she says.

“Safety technologies help to prevent crashes on our roads and are a key step towards improving New Zealand’s driving environment.”

The Mercedes-Benz X-Class has autonomous emergency braking (AEB), a standard for the X-Class series. AEB can go a long a way in preventing a crash by automatically engaging the brakes of a vehicle when it senses a hazard within critical range. When tested, the Mercedes-Benz X-Class’s AEB system performed well, detecting and either avoiding or mitigating crashes with other vehicles at low and high speeds.

“This is a game-changer for the ute market and puts pressure on competing brands,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, Mr James Goodwin.

The Jaguar E-PACE features a “pop-up” bonnet and external airbag to provide better support to struck pedestrians. The BMW X2 also has a “pop-up” bonnet, as well as an automatic emergency call function and a fatigue detection system. 

The Volkswagen Polo gained a particularly high 96% score for the safety it provides adult drivers and passengers. This was the result of it receiving multiple perfect safety test scores, such as for its AEB system and side impact safety.

The full list of ANCAP’s vehicle safety ratings, other vehicle safety information and the specifications of the rated vehicles are available online at or


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First safety rating for the year

Independent vehicle safety authority, ANCAP, today released its first safety rating for the year, awarding 5 stars to the Holden Commodore.

The first imported Commodore model arrives onto the Australasian market with high safety scores.

“The vehicle scored well, achieving solid results across all areas of assessment,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin. “Australian families and fleet buyers have long regarded the Commodore as a trusted local choice and the shift to overseas supply has further enhanced the model’s safety credentials,” he said.

“This next generation Commodore includes safety assist technologies not seen in its locally-produced predecessor, with standard-fit features such as autonomous emergency braking and active lane-keep assist.”

“This year we see a fresh approach to vehicle safety assessment and the presentation of results,” Mr Goodwin said.

The ZB Holden Commodore achieved the following scores across the four key areas of assessment:

93% – Adult Occupant Protection

85% – Child Occupant Protection

78% – Pedestrian Protection

77% – Safety Assist

The Commodore shares its structure with that of the Opel/Vauxhall Insignia supplied to Europe, with locally supplied variants offering comparable safety performance.

A 5 star ANCAP safety rating applies to all Commodore liftback, sportwagon and tourer variants available across Australia and New Zealand.

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Five stars for new Kia

The new Kia Niro has achieved a 5 star Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) rating, which is great for New Zealand as the small SUV is launching in the Kiwi market in the new year.

Kia Niro frontal offset test at 64km/h.

The Niro comes equipped a range of safety assist technologies as standard including all three grades of autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane keep assist, electronic stability control (ESC) and fatigue detection. 

However, results of the full width frontal crash test revealed that the rear passenger was poorly protected in the chest and pelvis. Crash readings indicated that the pelvis had slipped under the seatbelt and was not properly restrained. This resulted in a penalty to the crash test score.

“While overall the Kia Niro is a safe car, it’s worth looking into the details and seeing if it’s the best fit for your lifestyle and how you would use the car,” says AA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks.

“Consumers now have a wide range of options, particularly in the SUV market, so they’re in a position where they can pick a safe car that works for their lifestyle and their budget.”

The 5 star rating applies to 1.6 litre hybrid and PHEV variants of the New Zealand sold Kia Niro.

The full list of ANCAP’s vehicle safety ratings, other vehicle safety information and the specifications of the rated vehicles are available online at or

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Safety rating comes with warning

ANCAP safety ratings for three new market entrants demonstrate the role in ANCAP’s independent safety testing.The Hyundai Kona and Holden Equinox both achieved the maximum 5 star safety rating. The MG ZS scored 4 stars.

Frontal offset of the Holden Equinox.

“SUVs are now the top-selling vehicle segment in Australia and New Zealand and these ratings speak clearly that some are safer than others,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, Mr James Goodwin.

“We were impressed earlier this year with the safety performance of MG’s larger GS model – the very first Chinese vehicle to achieve the top safety rating – however its smaller stablemate, the ZS, does not perform as well. Its rating is held back to 4 stars due to sub-par performance in our head-on crash test.”

The MG ZS scored 10.46 points out of 16.00 points in the frontal offset crash test. Insufficient inflation of the passenger airbag caused ‘bottoming-out’ of the dummy head through the airbag and onto the dash, and a penalty was applied.

Protection for the driver’s knee area was also insufficient. The ZS does not offer any form of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) or lane support functions.

Frontal offset of the MGZS.

In contrast one of its segment competitors, the Hyundai Kona, saw higher levels of protection offered to vehicle occupants.

“The Kona offers good all-round safety,” Mr Goodwin said.

Hyundai Kona

“Its crash test performance was well within 5 star range, and AEB is offered for all variants though it must be optioned on the base variant in Australia. AEB is, however, a standard inclusion on all New Zealand variants.”

“The Equinox is also a good structural performer in all physical crash tests, but consumers will need to opt for higher-specced variants to receive the added safety benefits of AEB and lane keep assist,” he said.

A 5 star ANCAP safety rating applies to all Hyundai Kona and Holden Equinox variants. A 4 star rating applies to all MG ZS variants.

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Kiwi X3 offers extra safety features


The newly released BMW X3 has hit the New Zealand market with a 5 star safety rating from the Australasia New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP), with a special focus on the safety of Kiwi drivers.

“The new BMW X3 offers high levels of safety for all members of the family,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, Mr James Goodwin.

Furthermore, the New Zealand version of the new SUV comes equipped with more standard safety features than both European and Australian variants.

Lane departure warning and intelligent speed assistance systems are offered as standard inclusions on Australian and New Zealand models, but New Zealand models go one step further by also offering lane keep assist, automatic high beam and adaptive cruise control as standard.

AA Motoring Services General Manager Stella Stocks says it’s fantastic to see the safety of New Zealand drivers being prioritised.

“We’re pleased BMW is offering Kiwi drivers a wide range of safety technologies as standard features, which all work to prevent crashes on our roads,” Stocks says.

“Having a wide range of vehicles with a good mix of safety technologies available in New Zealand is a key step towards improving our driving environment here.”

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Top safety rating awarded to Volvo XC60

Volvo’s mid-size XC60 SUV has been awarded the maximum five star safety rating by independent vehicle safety authority, ANCAP, attaining class-leading scores in two key areas.

“The XC60 passed the assessment achieving not only 5 stars, but taking out the highest scores to date in the areas of Adult Occupant Protection and Safety Assist,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Goodwin.

“This model is fitted as standard with an autonomous emergency braking system which operates at high and low speeds and can detect pedestrians. Performance testing of this system earned the vehicle full points. It also has an intelligent speed assistance system which uses a camera to recognise and inform the driver of the local speed limit,” Mr Goodwin said.

“High levels of protection were recorded for occupants in all four crash tests, with only the chest of the rear passenger in the full width test and the lower legs of the driver in the frontal offset test seeing points deducted. “

The XC60 scored 98% for Adult Occupant Protection and 95% for Safety Assist.

The five star ANCAP safety rating applies to all D4, D5, T5 and T6 variants.

Volvo XC60 frontal offset test at 64km/h

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ANCAP releases its own safety app

ANCAP will officially launch a new app tomorrow that will provide users with an up to date, in hand tool that can be easily used to compare vehicles safety information.

While the official launch is tomorrow, the app is free and available to download now on iOS and Android.

A screenshot of the app comparing three different models.

The app has been developed to provide a new mechanism for consumers to access ANCAP safety rating information in the lead-up to a vehicle purchase, as well as provide additional safety-related content and features to see the safer vehicles conversation continue post-purchase.

Users will be able to select from a wide range of the most commonly available models, and compare up to three different cars at once.

The app has been developed in collaboration with the NZTA, AA New Zealand and a number of Australian road safety and automotive agencies.

“The road toll is increasing so we must work harder and do more to see this reversed. The ‘ANCAP Safety’ app will assist consumers make safer vehicle choices in an effort to reduce road trauma,” the agency said in a statement today.

ANCAP is Australasia’s leading independent vehicle safety advocate and provides consumers with advice and information on the vehicle safety.

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2017 car safety guide released

AA has published their User Car Safety Ratings guide, updated for 2017.

Released today, the guide is the result of in-depth analysis by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) of real-world crash data collected in both New Zealand and Australia.

The guide is updated annually and now provides safety ratings on 279 used vehicles built between 1986 and 2015. This year, it lists 106 of them as good or excellent, and a further 113 are categorised as poor or very poor. 60 are considered marginal.

Ahead of the general election on 23 September, the AA is calling for vehicle safety information to be provided at the point of sale, similar to fuel economy information already available.

The Ford Mondeo is one of the AA’s picks for superior safety features.

AA Motoring Services general manager Stella Stocks says New Zealand has a huge second-hand car market, and that the average age of used imports is increasing.

“This means the gap between the safety performance of used and new cars is widening.”

Stocks says that for many motorists the safety difference between cars is not immediately apparent, and there are important distinctions that consumer should have easy access to.

“Motorists, especially people buying cars for the first time, can easily be overwhelmed by what is available and can find it difficult to work out which factors they should consider most.”

Many of the poorest performing vehicles are often driven by novice drivers who are more likely to be involved in a crash.

Ministry of Transport data shows younger drivers are seven times more likely to crash than those with more experience behind the wheel.

Ms Stocks says while younger drivers will often have more modest budgets, they need the best protection.

“The guide shows which cars are the safest across all categories, which is why we want the information available at the point of sale. It enables buyers to consider safety performance of one vehicle against another before they get behind the wheel.

“Buyers can’t make the right choice without the right information.”

New car crash test results are provided by the Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP).

The work conducted by MUARC show that a driver of the worst-rated vehicle is more than 10 times as likely to be killed or seriously injured in the same crash as a driver in the best-rated vehicle.

Used Car Safety Ratings can be found on the AA’s website.

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G10 gets 3-star rating

Independent vehicle safety authority, ANCAP, has released a 3 star safety rating for the LDV G10 commercial van and people mover.

The Chinese-manufactured G10 is the second LDV model tested by ANCAP to offer a below-par level of structural safety and safety specification.

“This is a disappointing result for LDV and consumers with commercial buyers and families being let down in an important segment,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, James Goodwin.

“There were a number of serious concerns with the G10’s structural performance with the driver footwell rupturing and excessive pedal movement. Steering column and dash components were also a potential source of knee injury for the driver and passenger.”

“The G10 also lacks important safety features such as head- and chest-protecting side airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners which consumers today expect to be provided as standard – particularly in a vehicle which can carry up to nine passengers.”

“The safety standards of passenger and commercial vans remains well below those offered in other segments with 67 per cent of vans rated by ANCAP holding a rating of four stars or less so we urge all brands to ensure an emphasis on safety carries across all market segments”.

The 3 star rating for the LDV G10 applies to all petrol and diesel van and people mover variants sold in Australia and New Zealand from mid 2015.

  • The tested model of LDV G10 van was introduced in Australia and New Zealand in 2015. This ANCAP safety rating applies to all petrol and diesel van variants. A separate rating is available for G10 people mover variants.
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Land Rover Discovery awarded 5 stars

The latest Land Rover Discovery has achieved a 5 star ANCAP safety rating across all its diesel variants.

The large SUV not only performed strongly in adult and child occupant protection in the event of a crash, but also earning good results for pedestrian protection.

“While we expect a vehicle of this size to do well in terms of occupant safety, it’s great to see Land Rover adding safety features like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) for vulnerable road users as standard,” says AA motoring services general manager Stella Stocks.

“This helps protect pedestrians and cyclists by aiming to stop the vehicle before a crash can happen, helping to make our roads safer for everyone on them.”

In addition to AEB the Discovery comes with lane departure warning, which alerts the driver when the vehicle begins to move out of its lane, and reversing collision avoidance systems. Not included in New Zealand variants is intelligent speed limiting (ISA) and speed sign recognition and warning, but they are on European models.

“While the New Zealand variant of the Discovery is a good, safe car, we still urge manufacturers to give New Zealand motorists the same level of consideration when it comes to safety as our European counterparts,” says Stocks.
While the Discovery did well across the crash tests there was however insufficient pressure in the driver’s airbag which saw the dummy’s head hit the steering wheel and a penalty was applied in the scoring.

“Manufacturers are definitely coming on board to do their part in the safety stakes. Now we need drivers to do the same by ensuring safety is prioritised right up there with price when buying their next car,” says Stocks.

The Large SUV, which went on sale in New Zealand in May and launches in Australia this week, boasts strong scores in each of the four areas of safety assessment achieving 90 per cent for Adult Occupant Protection, 80 per cent for Child Occupant Protection, 75 per cent for Pedestrian Protection and a Safety Assist score of 73 per cent. 

“The Discovery earned its 5 star safety rating showing strengths in structure, design and equipment,” said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Goodwin.

“Crash test dummy readings indicated good levels of protection of all critical body regions in the side impact test as well as the more severe side pole test. Protection of the knees and femurs for both the driver and passenger in the frontal offset test was also good,”

This 5 star ANCAP safety rating applies to all Australian and New Zealand variants. The previous generation Discovery was unrated.

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