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Peter Anderson | Jul, 27 2012 | 0 Comments

A new study by insurer NRMA has revealed the high cost of repairing nine of Australia's top-selling small cars, based on low-speed collision tests.

The insurer tested the front and rear bumpers of each vehicle, simulating a low-speed collision - the most common type of road accident.

The study was carried out to show buyers that the cost of repairing a car can have an impact on their insurance premium costs.

“Even travelling at only 10 km/h, we found many of the cars had poor-performing bumper design which resulted in high collision repair costs," NRMA's Robert McDonald said.

Holden's Barina bested the field, with a front and rear bumper repair cost coming in at a combined total of $2574 - 14.3 percent of the car's RRP when new.

Behind the Barina is the Nissan Micra ST-L. The combined repair cost of $6056 represents 35.6 percent, rather more than double that of the Barina.

At the other end of the scale, the Toyota Yaris cost a substantial $13,440 to repair, or a tick under 71 percent of its purchase price.

The Honda Jazz wasn't far behind, with a greater dollar cost of $13,754 - 69.5 percent of the RRP.

“Poorly designed bumpers can slide under other bumpers on impact, causing more damage to both vehicles in a collision," McDonald said.

"Because of its effective bumper design, the Barina did not suffer structural damage and the damage was isolated to the bumper components."

McDonald added that it is possible to have effective bumpers on small cars that protect the more expensive parts like headlights and the radiator, but the design of many cars do not accommodate this need.

The crash test was performed by a 'roller-coaster' style apparatus to simulate a 10km/h collision. The impact surface is designed to behave like the bumper of another car, rather than an immovable concrete block.

The NRMA pointed out that the results of this test were no indicator of the overall safety of the vehicle - all of the cars tested, with the exception of the Micra, scored five ANCAP stars when tested.

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