Car Safety Ratings Explained.

Be guided by the stars.

ANCAP awards a star rating from 1 to 5 for each vehicle following independent crash tests by independent specialist laboratories.

New vehicles are awarded or deducted points based on a combination of test categories and scientific criteria. All vehicles are assessed under identical testings standards and conditions.

In all tests, dummies are used to measure the various forces on the occupants in a crash. The data gathered is then assessed, using internationally recognised protocols and star-ratings are determined for each crash test.

Observations are also made on the displacement of dummies during the crash, as well as the structural impact on the vehicle's occupant compartment.

Points are also awarded if the vehicle is fitted with safety features such as Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and seat belt reminders.

To achieve an ANCAP 5 Star rating, a vehicle must achieve the highest international recognised standards in all test categories.

The more stars, the better.

Occupants have twice the chance of being killed or seriously injured in an ANCAP 1 Star rated vehicle compared to an ANCAP 5 Star rated vehicle.

The diagrams below show typical injuries to the drive and passenger for each ANCAP Star rating in Frontal Offset Testing, conducted at 64 km/h.

In interpreting the colour results on the dummy diagrams for each star rating, it is important to note that a red and brown result (Poor & Weak respectively) on any limb or part of the body indicates that there is a high risk of serious injury or death resulting from that injury alone. Consumers should therefore not assume that an injury to the foot area - shown as red in both ANCAP 1 and 2 star rated vehicles - is necessarily less serious, or less life threatening, than the same crash result in other parts of the body.

1 Star Vehicle

ANCAP - 1 Star

In an ANCAP 1 star rated vehicle, there is a very high risk of death or serious injury, with low levels of protection for both occupants, particularly resulting from injury to the head of both driver and passenger, and lower limbs of the driver. While the passenger fares better than the driver, the risk of serious injury or death is high from head injury. Occupants are likely to die from the injuries sustained in a 1 Star rated vehicle.

You have twice the chance of being killed or seriously injured in an ANCAP 1 star rated vehicle compared to an ANCAP 5 star rated vehicle.

1 Star Rating - diagram

2 Star Vehicle

ANCAP - 2 Star

In an ANCAP 2 star rated vehicle, there is a high risk of serious injury or death resulting from injury to the head and right leg of the driver. Red (Poor) in the head, lower right leg and both feet of the driver indicate that these injuries are likely to be serious and life threatening. Brown (Weak) shown on the body of the driver also indicates high levels of exposure to serious injury or death.

ANCAP does not recommend purchasing vehicles with less than 4 stars.

2 Star Rating - diagram

3 Star Vehicle

ANCAP - 3 Star

In an ANCAP 3 star rated vehicle, the prominence of Orange (Marginal) in the driver's head, chest, upper legs and lower right leg indicate a moderate risk of serious injury or death. The passenger fares better than the driver, with good protection of the head and lower left leg (Green). Yellow (Acceptable) in the torso, upper left leg and right lower leg of the passenger indicates a lower risk of serious injury.

ANCAP does not recommend purchasing vehicles with less than 4 stars.

3 Star Rating - diagram

4 Star Vehicle

ANCAP - 4 Star

In an ANCAP 4 star rated vehicle, Green (Good) illustrates a high level of protection of the head and neck, greatly reducing the risk of serious injury or death resulting from impact to these areas. Orange (Marginal) indicates that there is moderate risk of serious injury to the chests of both driver and passenger, as well as the upper and lower right leg of the driver. The left upper leg of the driver coloured Brown (Weak) is more susceptible to serious or life threatening injury.

ANCAP 4 and 5 star rated vehicles offer the highest levels of occupant protection.

4 Star Rating - diagram

5 Star Vehicle

ANCAP - 5 Star

In an ANCAP 5 star rated vehicle, the prominence of green (Good) in the head, body and legs, illustrates a high level of protection and survivability for both driver and passenger occupants. Yellow (Acceptable), on the lower legs, and the chest of the passenger, shows only a slight chance of serious injury to these areas, which are not likely to be life threatening.

ANCAP recommends consumers look for 5 star
rated vehicles when buying a new car.

5 Star Rating - diagram

Every fifteen minutes, someone in Australia and New Zealand is killed or seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash - that's 35,000 adults and children every year.

While road deaths have been declining, about 5 people per day still die each year on the roads.


Compare these three vehicles, all crash tested at 64 km/h:

Star Rating comparison video

When it comes to survival, not all cars are created equal.

Choosing a car that could save your life is as easy as five stars.

Check the star rating of your next vehicle or look for the ANCAP 'Stars on Cars' label at your local dealership.

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