From the Canberra Times
A Daihatsu Sirion earns its three stars in a crash test by the Australian New Car Assessment Program. Twelve small cars scored four stars. Picture: AAP
ADELAIDE: Small cars are becoming safer with 12 now scoring four out of five stars in crash testing.
The latest results from the Australian New Car Assessment Program also found that six more models were worth three stars and a further three rated two stars.
Only one model rated just one star, the Korean-built Daewoo Lanos.
The results compared with the first ANCAP tests on small cars in 1994 when most scored the equivalent of just two stars.
The cars scoring four stars
yesterday were the Peugeot 307, Toyota Echo, Holden Barina
, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Corolla, Mercedes Benz A Class, Honda Civic, Volkswagen Beetle, Audi A3, Holden Astra
, Peugeot 206 and Volkswagen Golf.
Those scoring three stars
were the Daihatsu Sirion, Hyundai Accent, Alfa Romeo 147, Hyundai Elantra, Kia Rio and Ford Laser
Two-star rated were the Nissan Pulsar, Mazda 121, Mitsubishi Lancer and Daewoo Nubira.
Airbags were a key to the improved results with 22 of the 23 cars fitted with a driver airbag, 14 fitted with driver and passenger airbags and six fitted with driver, passenger and side airbags.
But ANCAP spokesman Mark Borlace said car companies had made safety improvements in many areas.
"The improvements in safety aren't just about one thing," he said. "It's about better design, it's about the equipment they put in the cars.
"But it's also about the investment they put into safety development."
Mr Borlace said it was hoped consumers would use the star ratings as a guide when buying a new car.
"Many of the four-star-rated vehicles are very affordable, so if new car buyers choose these instead of the poorer-performing models then the Australian fleet will gradually become much safer," he said.
In the tests each car is subjected to an offset crash into a barrier at 64km/h and a side impact where the driver's door is struck at 50km/h.
The cars were also tested to determine the chance of a pedestrian suffering serious or fatal injuries in an impact at 40km/h.