Some of Australia’s top-selling new cars will be stripped of their 5-star safety ratings, ruling them out for fleets that mandate top marks. However, the vehicles will remain on sale.
The 5-star safety ratings for popular models such as the Nissan Navara, Mitsubishi Triton, Toyota Prado, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Mitsubishi ASX, Mazda 2, Mazda CX-3, Suzuki Vitara, Volkswagen Passat, and others, expire from 1st January 2023.
5-star ratings in Australia were created three decades ago to give consumers more detailed information about the varying levels of safety of new cars in showrooms. Crash tests have consistently demonstrated that one cannot determine the true level of safety of a new car based on the number of airbags alone; rather it is how the airbags, the body structure, and other safety systems perform during a crash that can impact, or protect the occupants.
In addition to being a safety guide for consumers, 5-star safety ratings have been mandated by fleet operators, mining companies as well as large and small businesses for the better part of a decade due to stricter occupational health and safety guidelines. The independent watchdog, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has since introduced 6-year expiry dates on safety scores so consumers have a better chance to compare like-for-like results.
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Before the expiry dates were introduced, there was nothing to stop car companies from advertising a 5-star result that was 10 or more years old – alongside a new car that had earned a 5-star rating against more recent and more stringent criteria. The first deadline under the new guidelines (31 December 2022) has wiped the oldest safety ratings of more than a dozen new vehicles still on sale in Australia today.
Under the new system which comes into effect from 1st January 2023, a 5-star safety score is valid for 6 calendar years (plus the year in which the vehicle was tested) rather than being endless. Now automakers will have to resubmit their vehicles which are no longer covered by ANCAP rating, for a new round of tests.
A 3d animation professional with over 20 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations & production facilities of Pakistan, an avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver writings to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com