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Small cars - walking pace wrecks

 A range of top selling small cars cost up to 70 per cent of their new purchase price to repair when involved in a walking-pace speed collision.

NRMA Insurance put the spotlight on the nine top selling small vehicles in Australia to see how their bumpers performed when involved in a collision.

The insurer is urging consumers to consider repair costs when looking for a new car as they can have an impact on their insurance premium.

“We tested the front and rear bumpers of each vehicle by simulating a low speed crash which is the most common type of crash on our roads,” NRMA Insurance Head of Research Robert McDonald said.

“Even travelling at only 10 km/h, we found many of the cars had poor-performing bumper design which resulted in high collision repair costs.

“Our test shows the importance of insurance, as well as serving as a reminder that your car choice could impact your premium. We determine whether it is economical to repair a car after a collision based on the damage and the percentage of the new purchase price it costs to repair the car.”

Mr McDonald said the test revealed a vast difference in repair costs across the range of top selling small vehicles.

“Of the vehicles tested, repair costs for a rear collision range from around $1,200 on one car to more than $7,600 on another.”

When comparing damage for a front and rear collision, the Toyota Yaris and the Honda Jazz were the most expensive to repair. The Yaris cost $13,440 to repair — 70.8 per cent of its new purchase price — and the Jazz cost $13,754 — 69.5 per cent of its new purchase price.

The best performer in the test was the Holden Barina, which had a repair cost for a front and rear collision of $2,574 or 14.3 per cent of its new purchase price.

“Poorly designed bumpers can slide under other bumpers on impact, causing more damage to both vehicles in a collision. Because of its effective bumper design, the Barina did not suffer structural damage and the damage was isolated to the bumper components,” Mr McDonald said.

“It is possible to have effective bumpers on small cars that protect the more expensive parts like headlights and the radiator.”

The NRMA Insurance low speed crash test program was designed to urge car manufacturers to make improvements to bumper bar design to help keep the cost of collision repairs affordable.

The crash apparatus uses a 'roller coaster' type device to simulate a 10 km/h collision which replicates impact with another car, allowing NRMA Insurance to accurately compare the costs of repairs. The tests were completed at the NRMA Insurance Research Centre in Sydney.

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 five stars in ANCAP safety rating.

Small car front and rear bumper collision test results

Type of vehicle Front and rear bumper repair cost Repair cost as percentage of purchase price

Holden Barina (5 door hatch)

$2,574

14.3%

Nissan Micra ST-L (5 door hatch)

$6,056

35.6%

Ford Fiesta LX (5 door hatch)

$8,850

42.2%

Suzuki Swift GL (5 door hatch)

$8,929

48.6%

VW Polo 77TSI Comfortline (5 door hatch)

$11,037

51.4%

Hyundai i20 Active (3 door hatch)

$9,031

53.2%

Mazda2 Maxx (5 door hatch)

$11,320

58.5%

Honda Jazz VTi (5 door hatch)

$13,754

69.5%

Toyota Yaris YRS (5 door hatch)

$13,440

70.8%

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

 

 

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