THE NUMBER OF VEHICLES in the Australian market carrying a 5-Star ANCAP crash safety rating is on the rise, as shown by 2009 crash test results.
Almost two-thirds of the vehicles tested (33 out of 51) in 2009 by ANCAP and sister organisation Euro NCAP earned 5-Star ratings. A further 12 vehicles achieved 4-Star ratings.
The NRMA's Jack Hanley said that, to gain their star ratings, each car is given a score out of 40. Eight of the 33 5-Star cars scored over 35.
"The Volvo XC60 scored 36.53, while at the other end of the safety spectrum the Proton Jumbuck just edged out the Nissan Urvan to be bottom of the list with 8.39. Both these vehicles received a 1-Star rating.
"The class of 2009 gives new car buyers plenty of options in every class of vehicle.
"It is encouraging to see some manufacturers like Kia have greatly improved their scores over the last several years."
At the top end of the chart, the highest-scoring 5-Star vehicles include the Volvo XC60, the Alfa Romeo Mito, the Peugeot 308CC, VW Golf, Toyota Prius, Audi Q5, Ford Mondeo and the Holden Cruze - each achieving scores higher than 35 out of 40.
The bottom of the chart features the 1-Star Nissan Urvan and Proton Jumbuck with 8 points each, while Great Wall Motors' SA220 and V240 both achieved a 2-Star rating and 16 points a piece.
Dr Soames Job, Director of the NSW Centre for Road Safety described the number of 5-Star vehicles in 2009 as "encouraging."
"The car manufacturers are now making 5-Star vehicles that are very affordable. Car buyers owe it to themselves and to their loved ones to only consider 5-star safety," Dr Job said.
"Some new entrants, such as the Great Wall utes that earned only 2-stars, have performed poorly and we hope to see much better results in the future.
"Commercial vehicles are no longer the poor cousin in the safety stakes. The locally-built Holden Commodore ute and the Mercedes Vito and Viano are now 5-stars and provide tradespeople with much safer options."
This year, the previously 4-Star Ford Territory earned a 5-Star rating, thanks to the addition of an audible passenger seatbelt warning.