A few interesting highlights from the RACV used car crash safety ratings.
Ford's NA-NC Fairlane was one of only 3 cars in the 'luxury car' category to be rated as 'significantly better than average', the other 2 being the '86-98 Saab 9000 and '84-92 Volvo 700/900 series. The NF-NL was rated 'better than average'.
In the large car segment, the XE-XF and EA-ED Falcon rated 'better than average' and the EF-EL and AU series I rated 'significantly better than average'. Equivalent Holdens generally rated equal with their Ford rivals, with the exception of the 'average' VB
-VL Commodore. Aggressivity ratings - a measurement of the damage caused to other vehicles in a collision - were seperately judged in the same survey.
My opinion is that these ratings - which I gathered are based on real-world accidents, rather than lab crash tests - are more a reflection of the safety of the drivers of those cars, rather than the crash performance of the cars themselves.
I recall the EA-EB series got the top score the last time these ratings were released. It was ahead of the EB II-ED despite the fact that the EB II-ED is basically the same car with better safety features (seatbelt webbing clamps, ABS availability) and a more crashworthy body. The reason behind this was presumably the more conservative and older owners driving early E-series cars. The inferior EA-EB score this time around is obviously a reflection of changes in recent years, with younger, less experienced and less responsible drivers taking ownership.
Sheer commonsense dictates that the safest car will be the biggest, newest, strongest, best-built and best-equipped (airbags, ABS, IRS etc). But to my mind, the results here prove that a safe driver is even more important than a safe car.