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Recent safety survey disputed


Was it a pack of lies?

A leading road safety campaigner has savaged a recently released list of safe and unsafe second hand vehicles.

The study, compiled by Australia’s Monash University, claims to have used actual crash data to determine whether a type of vehicle is safe or unsafe. A leaflet based on the study is being widely distributed by the government and the Automobile Association.

Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car buyer’s Dog & Lemon Guide, described the leaflet as “ a pack of lies without scientific basis.”

“What the researchers have done is to massage the facts to support an argument. For example, if this study is to be believed, the 1997-02 Mazda 121 is a very safe vehicle while the 1996-02 Range Rover is a very unsafe vehicle. This conclusion is flatly contradicted by the best scientific evidence.

“When the Mazda 121 was crash tested, it scored just 3.13 out of a possible 16 in its simulated head-on collision. The passenger compartment was substantially deformed. Protection from serious chest and leg injury was poor for the driver. Yet this same vehicle is being recommended as ‘very safe’ to an unsuspecting public.

“What’s even more astonishing is that the Mazda 121’s dismal crash test is listed on the same website that promotes this same vehicle as a ‘best performer’ for safety.” (

“By comparison, the 1996-02 Range Rover is a consistently good performer in road accidents and would annihilate a vehicle like the Mazda 121, yet the Range Rover gets listed as a ‘worst performer’.

“What Monash has done is to massage the data in order to discourage car buyers from buying vehicles like the Range Rover. As a result, the so-called scientific survey has become an exercise in deceiving the public."

Chris Coxon, the former technical head of the Australian New Car Assessment Program, which has crash tested most newer Australian cars, is equally horrified by the Monash study.

“Our job as scientists is to state the facts. It is not our job to massage the data to fit some political or social objective.

“The cold, hard fact is that heavier, larger vehicles are generally safer than small, lightweight vehicles.

“The report that Monash has put out is totally untrustworthy from a car buyer’s point of view.”

What do you think? Do you believe the study was "massaged" to discourage buyers from buying larger vehicles?

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Auto Trader New Zealand