Need a safe and cheap car? AA safety check nails 23 out 25

Car headlight Picture: iStock Image
Car headlight Picture: iStock Image

Only two out of 25 car models currently priced under R160‚000‚ vetted by the Automobile Association in South Africa‚ have “acceptable safety”.

These are the Toyota Aygo 1.0 and the Nissan Micra 1.2 Visia+. Their score‚ in the 50 point range‚ is out of a possible 135 for vehicles with all of the safety features installed.

The AA hopes its research encourages “new car buyers to consider safety in their decisions‚ and not only price”.

The 25 vehicles surveyed for the latest instalment of the Entry-Level Vehicle Safety Report were evaluated against the number of active safety features they have — anti-lock braking systems‚ electronic stability control – as well as passive safety features such as airbags.

Ten (10) vehicles fall under the “poor safety” category and 13 vehicles were placed under the “moderate safety” category.

“Poor” status was given to the Renault Kwid 1.0 Expression‚ Kia Picanto 1.0 Start‚ Datsun Go+ 1.2 Lux‚ Kia Picanto 1.2 Start‚ Hyundai i10 1.1 Motion‚ Cherry QQ3 0.8 TE (aircon)‚ Datsun Go 1.2 Mid‚ Tata Indica 1.4 LGi‚ Tata Visit a 1.4 Ini Bounce‚ and Tata Manza 1.4 Ini.

Another finding in the AA report is that none of the vehicles in this year’s sample is EURO NCAP tested. “A commendable finding‚ however‚ is that 11 of the 25 identified vehicles have ABS and electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) installed‚ a positive step towards increasing the overall safety of vehicles‚” the AA said.

The association urged motor manufacturers to prioritise safety in vehicles produced for the South African market.

 “We call upon motor manufacturers to consider substituting luxury or convenience specification items with safety items. We believe this consideration must be weighed against the inexperience of the typical drivers of these vehicles‚ and the need to protect them against traffic hazards to the greatest extent possible.”

It noted: “A significant finding of the current report is that none of the vehicles under investigation comes equipped with electronic stability control (ESC). South African road conditions are often impacted by poor drainage‚ resulting in sand and debris on the road surface and‚ in turn‚ increasing the chances of a vehicle without ESC losing control‚ and being involved in a crash. Considering ESC’s lifesaving potential‚ it is critical to ask if this specification should not be a minimum safety standard in the South African market.”

The AA report offered this cautionary advice to potential car buyers: “Make sure the vehicle model you intend on purchasing comes with the safety features that are specific to that model and not advertised for the entire range”.

See the full report here