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Safety is sixth consideration in UK’s used car survey


Two fifths, (41%) of young drivers have been involved in a road traffic incident where they were the driver, according to a new study (of 1,000 UK drivers age 17-24) released today by Co-op Insurance in the UK.

The Volvo V40 (with safety pack) is named the safest used car for families in the UK for the second year running.

Of the 17-24 year-old drivers surveyed, almost a third (29%) say their accident happened in the first six months of passing their test and over a tenth (15%) had only been driving between 6 and 12 months when the incident occurred.

The study reveals that three quarters (76%) of young drivers aged 17-24 own a second hand car, yet despite this, safety is not a priority for these drivers when purchasing a vehicle.

Furthermore, the study reveals that just a tenth (11%) of young drivers ask questions about safety when choosing their first car.

Highlighting a willingness to compromise on safety, price (75%), the cost of insurance (63%) and whether a car is cheap to run (43%) are the top three selling points when buying a first car, according to young drivers.

Top 10  first time car buyer considerations
1 Price 75%
2 Cost of insurance 63%
3 Cheap to run 43%
4 Age of vehicle 39%
5 Colour 31%
6 How safe it is 31%
7 If it’s a well-known brand 24%
8 Interior of vehicle 13%
9 How eco-friendly it is 12%
10 Parts are easy to find 11%

Research was conducted by Thatcham Research on behalf of Co-op Insurance. The criteria meant that all cars needed to be in the supermini category, have a five-star Euro NCAP rating, CO2 emissions of 120g/km or less, available to purchase on the second-hand market for £5.000 or less, and to have a low insurance group rating score.

The cars were then evaluated further on crash worthiness, including ratings for adult and pedestrian protection, Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as standard and the availability of Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).

This study, resulted in their ‘Top 5 Safest Used First Cars for young drivers, with Skoda Citigo topping the list, followed by the VW Up! And Seat Mii.

Co-op Insurance’s Top 5 Safest Used First Cars 2017
1 Skoda Citigo
2 VW Up!
3 Seat Mii
4 Toyota Yaris
5 Kia Rio

The First Used Car award, is the UK first in the used car market, and is based on a formula ranking devised by the Co-op and Thatcham Research. Cars had to be in the Supermini category, have a five-star Euro NCAP rating, CO2 emissions of 120g/km or less, available to purchase on the second-hand market for £5.000 or less, and to have a low insurance group rating score.

Quentin Willson, Motor Journalist and Road Safety Campaigner commented: “I’m really pleased that Co-op Insurance is revisiting their safest used car campaign and even more so that they’re focusing on safety on second hand cars for young drivers.

“Generally, first time drivers have less disposable income to spend on first cars and so price does become a priority, but just because they’re buying second hand doesn’t mean that they should compromise on safety.”

Further highlighting a lack of awareness among young drivers in this space, over half (54%) don’t know what accredited vehicle safety rating (EuroNCAP) their car has and when asked, a quarter (25%) didn’t know this rating even existed.

When tested on key inbuilt car safety devices, three quarters (75%) of young drivers didn’t know what AEB (Autonomous Electronic Braking) stood for and a further three quarters (74%) had no idea what ESC (Electronic Stability Control) was.

Matthew Avery, Director of Research, Thatcham Research commented: “Autonomous Emergency Braking and Electronic Stability Control are second only to the seatbelt in terms of being life savers. They are critical in preventing the most common crashes that young drivers have.

“ESC works by preventing the vehicle going into a skid and possibly hitting a tree by automatically braking one wheel momentarily to steer the car back into line.

“AEB uses lasers, radars or cameras to sense if a collision might occur and warns the driver to brake. If the driver doesn’t react, the car will automatically brake to prevent or mitigate the collision. AEB is reducing rear-to-front crashes by about 40% and ESC is reducing fatalities from single vehicle crashes by 25%.”

“My advice to parents buying their child a first used car: do not buy the oldest or cheapest car you can find. There are plenty of good deals out there for newer second-hand cars that have a five-star Euro NCAP test rating and are fitted with ESC and AEB as standard.”

Furthermore, today Co-op has also announced the top 10 Safest Used Cars for families with the Volvo V40, with safety pack, being crowned as the winner for the second year running. Highly commended in second and third place are Mazda 3 and Toyota Auris.

The award, which was a UK first in the used car market when Co-op launched it last year, is based on a formula ranking devised by the Co-op and Thatcham Research.

The criteria meant that all cars needed to have a five-star Euro NCAP rating, have CO2 emissions of 120g/km or less and be available to purchase on the second hand market for £15.000 or less.

Compared to Co-op’s 2016 Awards – Top 5 Safest Used Cars 2017
1 Volvo V40 with safety pack – Non-mover
2 Mazda 3 – Up 4 places
3 Toyota Auris – New entry
4 Volkswagen Golf Sportsvan – New entry
5 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer – New entry