Small cars, low speed wrecks

 Apr 2, 2014

If your car was in a collision at just over walking speed, you might think it wouldn’t cost much to fix. But our research has shown small cars can cost up to 70% of their new purchase price to repair after a low speed crash. Repair costs impact your insurance premium, so facts like these are worth considering when you’re buying a new car.

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We wanted to encourage car manufacturers to improve bumper designs and help keep the cost of repairs affordable. So we put the spotlight on nine top-selling small cars, testing their front and rear bumpers by simulating a low speed crash. This is the most common type of crash on our roads.

Even at only 10 km/h, we found many of the cars had poor-performing bumpers, leading to high repair costs. Plus costs varied hugely. See the results below.

The best performer was the Holden Barina. Because of its effective bumper design, the car didn’t suffer structural damage. Any damage was isolated to the bumper itself, leaving more expensive parts like the headlights and radiator untouched.

Small car front and rear bumper collision test results

Type of vehicle / Repair cost as percentage of purchase price*

Holden Barina (5 door hatch) / 14.3%

Nissan Micra ST-L (5 door hatch) / 35.6%

Ford Fiesta LX (5 door hatch) / 42.2%

Suzuki Swift GL (5 door hatch) / 48.6%

VW Polo 77TSI Comfortline (5 door hatch) / 51.4%

Hyundai i20 Active (3 door hatch) / 53.2%

Mazda2 Maxx (5 door hatch) / 58.5%

Honda Jazz VTi (5 door hatch) / 69.5%

Toyota Yaris YRS (5 door hatch) / 70.8%

Note: The NRMA Insurance low speed crash test program is a collision repair cost test and is not an indicator of vehicle safety features. All of these cars, except the Nissan Micra, have been awarded an ANCAP 5 star safety rating.

*Purchase price based on Recommended Retail Price (including GST) as quoted from Glass's Guide July 2012 publication.

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