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Lower your car theft and safety risk

Overview

Published: November 2014

There is a lot to consider when buying a used car. The price, fuel efficiency, seating, aesthetics, functionality, storage and towing capacity may all be important to your needs.

Two very important features to consider are:

  1. Safety in terms of both avoiding and when involved in a crash
  2. The car's risk of theft

We've made that easy by putting our CARS theft risk rating together with the used car safety rating published by Monash University and the VSRG.

The ratings by vehicle segment on this page only show cars that have received a five star safety rating and their corresponding CARS theft risk rating. In simple terms, the more stars the better for both ratings.

When buying a used vehicle, look for those that provide high safety protection to its driver and other road users, and also have a low risk of theft.

Further information about the rating systems can be found in the tabs above, including links to the entire list of vehicles analysed by each rating system.


If buying a new car, refer to the ANCAP safety ratings and the IAG car security scores, both of which are ratings determined by laboratory tests.

Ratings by vehicle segment

Make model series year range VSRG
Used car safety rating
NMVTRC
CARS theft risk rating
Driver protection rating Safe pick
Honda Civic MY06_11 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 5 stars
Volkswagen Jetta 1KM MY05_11 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 5 stars
Holden Cruze JG MY09_11 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Holden Cruze JH MY11+ Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Peugeot 307 T5 MY01_05 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Peugeot 307 T6 MY06_09 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Subaru Impreza MY08_11 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Toyota Prius NHW20R MY03_09 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Volkswagen Golf 1K MY04_13 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Volvo S40 MY95_03 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Volkswagen Golf 1J MY98_04 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Volkswagen Bora 1J MY98_07 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Volvo V40 Pre_MY05 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Make model series year range VSRG
Used car safety rating
NMVTRC
CARS theft risk rating
Driver protection rating Safe pick
BMW 325i E93 MY07_14 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 5 stars
BMW 335i E93 MY10+ Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 5 stars
Mazda 6 GY MY02_05 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 5 stars
Saab 9000 Pre_MY99 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 5 stars
Audi A4 B7 MY05_08 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
BMW 323i E90 MY06_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
BMW 325i E90 MY05_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
BMW 335i E92 MY10+ Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Lexus IS300 JCE10R MY01_05 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Mazda 6 GG MY02_08 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Toyota Camry ACV40R MY06_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Honda Accord MY03_07 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
BMW 320d E90 MY06_10 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4 stars
Lexus IS200 GXE10R MY99_05 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4 stars
Toyota Camry ASV50R MY11+ Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4 stars
Volkswagen Passat 3B MY98_05 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4 stars
Holden Vectra ZC MY03_07 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Honda Accord MY98_03 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Honda Prelude MY97_02 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Saab 9-3 MY98_12 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
BMW 320i E90 MY05_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3.5 stars
BMW 335i E90 MY06_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3.5 stars
BMW 325i E92 MY06+ Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3.5 stars
Audi A4 B6 MY01_05 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3 stars
Saab 900 Pre_MY99 Excellent - 5 stars Medium risk - 3 stars
BMW 330d E90 MY09_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
BMW 330i E90 MY05_06 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
BMW 320d E91 MY09_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
BMW 320i E91 MY08_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
BMW 323i E91 MY06_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
BMW 323i E92 MY07_11 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
Make model series year range VSRG
Used car safety rating
NMVTRC
CARS theft risk rating
Driver protection rating Safe pick
Holden Statesman WL MY04_06 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Mercedes-Benz E230 W210 MY96_98 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick High risk - 4.5 stars
Mercedes-Benz E240 W210 MY98_02 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Toyota Aurion GSV40R MY06_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
BMW 530i E39 MY00_03 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4 stars
Ford Falcon FG MY08+ Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4 stars
Nissan Maxima J31 MY03_08 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4 stars
Mitsubishi 380 DB MY05_08 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
BMW 523i E39 MY96_01 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3.5 stars
BMW 525i E39 MY01_03 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3.5 stars
BMW 528i E39 MY96_01 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3.5 stars
Holden Statesman WK MY03_04 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3.5 stars
Mercedes-Benz E320 W210 MY96_02 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3 stars
Holden Caprice WK MY03_04 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 2.5 stars
Holden Caprice WL MY04_06 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick High risk - 2 stars
BMW 535i E39 MY95_04 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
BMW 540i E39 MY96_03 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
Mercedes-Benz E200K W210 MY00_02 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
Mercedes-Benz E270CDI W210 MY99_02 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
Mercedes-Benz E280 W210 MY99_01 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
Mercedes-Benz E36 W210 MY96_97 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
Mercedes-Benz E430 W210 MY98_02 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
Mercedes-Benz E55 W210 MY98_02 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
Make model series year range VSRG
Used car safety rating
NMVTRC
CARS theft risk rating
Driver protection rating Safe pick
Peugeot 4007 MY07_14 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 5 stars
Mitsubishi Outlander ZG MY07_09 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Mitsubishi Outlander ZH MY09_13 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Make model series year range VSRG
Used car safety rating
NMVTRC
CARS theft risk rating
Driver protection rating Safe pick
Subaru Forester MY08_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 5 stars
Mitsubishi Pajero NS MY06_09 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 5 stars
Mitsubishi Pajero NT MY09_11 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 5 stars
Mitsubishi Pajero NW MY11+ Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 5 stars
Holden Captiva CG MY06+ Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Mazda CX-7 MY06+ Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Nissan Pathfinder MY05_13 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Subaru Forester MY03_05 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Subaru Forester MY06_07 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Toyota RAV4 MY06_12 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Honda CR-V MY02_06 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Mitsubishi Pajero NP MY02_06 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Nissan Pathfinder MY99_04 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Jeep Cherokee KJ MY01_08 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4 stars
Mitsubishi Pajero NM MY00_02 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Nissan Terrano II R20 MY93_06 Excellent - 5 stars Medium risk - 3.5 stars
Nissan Pathfinder MY96_98 Excellent - 5 stars Medium risk - 3 stars
Make model series year range VSRG
Used car safety rating
NMVTRC
CARS theft risk rating
Driver protection rating Safe pick
Ford Territory SY MY05_11 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Toyota Kluger MY08_14 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series MY07+ Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Toyota Landcruiser Prado 90 Series MY96_03 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Toyota Landcruiser Prado 120 Series MY03_09 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Mercedes-Benz ML270CDI W163 MY00_05 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4 stars
Mercedes-Benz ML350 W163 MY03_04 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4 stars
Jeep Grand Cherokee WG MY01_05 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Ford Territory SX MY04_05 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3.5 stars
Mercedes-Benz ML320 W163 MY98_03 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3.5 stars
Ford Explorer UX MY03 Excellent - 5 stars Medium risk - 3 stars
Ford Explorer UZ MY03_08 Excellent - 5 stars Medium risk - 2.5 stars
Ford Explorer UT MY02_03 Excellent - 5 stars High risk - 0.5 star
Mercedes-Benz ML430 W163 MY99_01 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
Mercedes-Benz ML500 W163 MY01_05 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
Mercedes-Benz ML55 W163 MY01_05 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Not rated
Make model series year range VSRG
Used car safety rating
NMVTRC
CARS theft risk rating
Driver protection rating Safe pick
Honda Odyssey MY05_09 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 5 stars
Kia Carnival VQ MY06_11 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Toyota Tarago ACR30R MY00_06 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Toyota Estima MY00_06 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Kia Carnival KV MY03_06 Excellent - 5 stars Medium risk - 3 stars
Kia Carnival MY00_02 Excellent - 5 stars Not rated
Make model series year range VSRG
Used car safety rating
NMVTRC
CARS theft risk rating
Driver protection rating Safe pick
Mitsubishi Triton ML MY06_09 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Mitsubishi Triton MN MY09+ Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4.5 stars
Ford Ranger PK MY09_11 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Mazda BT-50 MY06_11 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Nissan Navara D40 MY05+ Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Low risk - 4 stars
Ford Ranger PJ MY07_09 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Toyota Hilux MY05_11 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Holden Commodore Ute VE MY07_13 Excellent - 5 stars Safe pick Medium risk - 3 stars
Make model series year range VSRG
Used car safety rating
NMVTRC
CARS theft risk rating
Driver protection rating Safe pick
Ford Transit VH MY00_04 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Volkswagen Caravelle T4 MY93_06 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4.5 stars
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter MY95_06 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Volkswagen Transporter T4 MY90_04 Excellent - 5 stars Low risk - 4 stars
Ford Transit VJ MY04_06 Excellent - 5 stars Medium risk - 2.5 stars

Used car safety rating

Driver protection rating
Excellent Excellent - 5 stars
Good Good - 4 stars
Marginal Marginal - 3 stars
Poor Poor - 2 stars
Very Poor Very Poor - 1 star
Only vehicles which provide excellent protection to their own driver, cause less serious injury to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists in a collision and are fitted with ESC achieve a Safe Pick rating. ESC helps avoid a crash and can reduce the severity of the crash if it cannot be avoided. Safe pick

The VSRG used car safety ratings are published by the Vehicle Safety Reference Group (VSRG) and show how well each vehicle protects its driver from death or serious injury in a crash. It is also important that a vehicle offers good protection to other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, or drivers of other vehicles. Vehicles that provide excellent protection from injury for their driver as well as other road users in a crash receive a 'safe pick' rating.

The rating show that, on average, newer models provide their drivers with better protection from injury in a crash. These improvements come from better structural designs, an increase in the fitting of safety features such as front, side, curtain and knee airbags, more advanced seat belt systems and vehicle interiors built with more energy-absorbing materials.

Another consistent trend is that there is significant variation in the ratings within vehicle categories, even between vehicle models of the same age. Furthermore, some vehicle models, including recent ones, provide good protection for their drivers but present a high risk of injury to other road users in a crash. The rating assists buyers to select vehicles that provide the best protection for all road users including themselves.

These ratings are based on real-world crash data up until 2012, the latest available for producing these ratings. Many new vehicle models and some very low sales volume models of all ages are not covered by the rating due to the need for sufficient real-world crash experience to accumulate before a model can be rated accurately. Buyers considering a new or late model vehicle not listed in the rating, particularly in the light and small categories where safety performance has improved dramatically in recent years, should check the ANCAP safety ratings and look for a vehicle which holds the maximum 5 star ANCAP safety rating.

How are the used car safety ratings calculated?

Records from over 7 million vehicles in police-reported road crashes in Australia and New Zealand between 1987 and 2012 were analysed by Monash University’s Accident Research Centre. The ratings were calculated using an internationally reviewed method and are influenced by the vehicle's mass, the structural design of the body, and the safety features fitted to the vehicle, such as airbags and types of seat belts.

Each of the driver protection ratings in the 2014/15 update has been recalculated based on the most recent crash data available, so they are not comparable with the ratings published in previous years.

The score for each individual model can be compared against the ratings for all other vehicles.

The driver protection ratings are about the risk of death or serious injury to the driver of the vehicle in the event of a crash. The ratings are not about the risk of being involved in the crash in the first place, which is generally determined by a range of factors including vehicle technology, driver behaviour, vehicle condition and the road environment.

Won't certain vehicles score a good rating because of the types of people who drive them or where they are driven?

These factors were taken into account as much as possible when the data was analysed. The ratings were adjusted for factors such as driver gender and age, type of road user involved, speed limit at the crash location, number of vehicles involved, crash configuration, and year and location of crash. As far as possible the ratings are about the contribution of the vehicle to injury outcomes in a crash and not who was driving the vehicle or where it crashed.

What's the difference between used car and ANCAP safety ratings?

ANCAP safety ratings are determined based on data obtained through the simulation of common crash scenarios undertaken on new vehicles in a controlled laboratory. ANCAP safety ratings demonstrate a vehicle's level of occupant and pedestrian protection as well as their ability, through technology, to avoid a crash. The used car safety ratings are calculated using data from millions of police reports on actual crashes involving a range of drivers and all types of driving conditions.

The Used Car Safety Ratings listed are all calculated on a consistent set of criteria and all updated annually based on the most recent real world data. They can therefore be compared across all categories.

Any vehicle safety rating system can only provide an indication of the relative levels of protection between vehicles you can expect in the event of a crash. Whether or not you die or are seriously injured in a crash also depends on how safely you drive your vehicle and the particular crash circumstances.

CARS theft risk rating

Risk rating Theft rate Risk category
Low risk - 5 stars < 1 Low risk
Low risk - 4.5 stars >=1 and < 2 Low risk
Low risk - 4 stars >=2 and < 3 Low risk
Medium risk - 3.5 stars >=3 and < 4 Medium risk
Medium risk - 3 stars >=4 and < 5 Medium risk
Medium risk - 2.5 stars >=5 and < 6 Medium risk
High risk - 2 stars >=6 and < 7 High risk
High risk - 1.5 stars >=7 and < 8 High risk
High risk - 1 star >=8 and < 9 High risk
High risk - 0.5 star >=9 High risk

There were 42,631 PLC vehicle thefts in Australia in 2013/14.

The theft risk star rating is based on the theft rate per 1,000 registered PLC vehicles manufactured from 1993 onwards, with each vehicle requiring at least 1,000 registrations nationally at 31 December 2013 to be included.

Vehicles with the lowest risk of theft during 2013/14 scored five stars and those with the highest risk received half a star. The medium risk category has a theft rate between 1 and 2 times the low risk category, while the high risk category is more than 2 times the low risk category.

It is important to note that the CARS theft risk ratings are based solely on car theft rates and do not reflect the security features of individual vehicles.

How are IAG’s car security scores different?

The IAG car security scores are published each year by Insurance Australia Group’s (IAG) Research Centre for new PLC vehicles currently on sale in Australia. IAG assign vehicles a score out of 100 based on three main criteria:

Criteria Description Score
Entry Doors, ignition locks, alarms, rear seat/boot access and glazing Up to 10
Immobiliser Higher technology immobilisers attracting higher scores Up to 50
Vehicle ID Body stamping, security labelling and micro-dotting Up to 40

These scores are based on various tests performed on the vehicles and its security and identification features built into the vehicle. They provide a valuable guide for drivers wishing to purchase a new car.

The CARS theft risk rating is a useful when purchasing a used vehicle as it is based on theft rates once vehicles 'hit the road' and take into account the number in the Australian registered vehicle fleet. It also provides separate theft rates for each State or Territory where there are sufficient registrations.

In both cases, it should be remembered that vehicles with the best security features can be stolen if the owner does not protect their keys. More key security information is available at car-security-begins-at-home.


The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (NMVTRC) acknowledges all police services, registration authorities, participating insurers, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Glass's Information Services and Insurance Australia Group for the supply of the data on which this report is complied. Theft incident data may be subject to later revision by the data providers. This work is copyright. Material may be reproduced for personal, non-commercial use or for use within your organisation with attribution to the NMVTRC. © 2016 NMVTRC. All rights reserved.