Ten safest budget cars revealed

A new study carried out by Co-op Insurance and Thatcham Research has revealed the safest budget cars around, all available new or second-hand for under £15,000, meaning that keeping your loved ones safe as you travel need no longer come at a high cost.

However, the study also found that safety is often one of the factors least considered when it comes to what car to buy. More than half of drivers (54%) have never asked their dealer or private seller about the safety features included with a car, while an even higher proportion (68%) did not know the safety rating of their current car. Many other factors, such as price, value for money and brand, were considered more important among buyers.

James Hillon, director of products for Co-op Insurance, said about the study: “Our research has found that price dominates buying decision and safety just isn’t front of mind when consumers shop for a used car.

“By knowing more about the safety options that are available, we hope that this will lead to more informed buying decisions and, hopefully, safer choices leading to safer roads.”

Thatcham Research also underlined the importance of having a car with a high safety rating, as drivers and passengers are 60% more likely to walk away from a car crash in a 5-star rated car than in a 1-star rated car. The company’s director of research, Matthew Avery, said: “What is clear is that if you have £15.000 to spend, there is a good choice of new and used cars that have excellent safety features to choose from.”

If you consider both safety and cost to be important factors, below are the ten cars which best met the demands of the UK’s official crash test centre, Euro NCAP, all available for under £15,000.

10. Fiat 500L – Fiat’s multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) model and the larger version of the Fiat 500, the Fiat 500L was awarded a 5-star rating when tested in 2012, scoring 94% for adult occupant safety.

9. Mazda CX-5 – The Mazda CX-5 is the largest vehicle currently made by the Japanese manufacturer, and achieved a 94% adult occupant protection rating when tested in 2012, as well as an 86% rating for safety-assist features.

8. Honda Civic – Honda’s flagship family hatchback, the Civic matched Mazda’s ratings for adult occupant safety and safety assist features. However, it is slightly ahead after receiving an 83% child occupant safety rating.

=6. Mercedes-Benz A-Class – The Mercedes A-Class also performed well during its 2012 tests, scoring a 93% rating for adult occupant safety, 81% for child occupant safety and 86% for safety assist features.

=6. Mazda 3 – The second Mazda model to make the list, the family hatchback matched the ratings of the Mercedes-Benz A-Class to take joint 6th place.

5. Vauxhall Astra – Vauxhall’s newest Astra model was tested last year, scoring extremely respectable ratings such as 83% for pedestrian safety and 80% for both child and adult occupant safety.

4. Peugeot 308 – This family hatchback took fourth place thanks to ratings such as 92% for adult occupant protection and 81% for safety assist features.

3. Nissan Qashqai – The nation’s best-selling SUV, the Nissan Qashqai also performs well when it comes to safety. It not only scored high adult and child occupant protection ratings but also a 79% safety assist rating.

2. Volkswagen Golf – When tested four years ago, the Golf, among other ratings, achieved scores of 94% for adult occupant safety and 89% for child occupant safety.

1. Volvo V40 – Volvo as a brand have long been synonymous with safety, with the V40 going above and beyond what the manufacturer has become famous and respected for. It was recognised as the safest car ever when tested in 2012, achieving for the first time ever a 100% rating for safety features. It also scored an extremely high 98% rating for adult occupant protection as well as an 88% pedestrian safety rating.

If you’re looking in investing in a safer car for you and your loved ones, why not see how much you can earn from selling your current car? Wizzle’s car evaluation service is coming soon and will help you to achieve the best possible price when selling your car.

Image: Volvo OTRS/Volvo Nederland, available under Creative Commons