The first six months of a new driver’s life are the most dangerous according to the Victorian Transport Accident Commission. Despite the mandated 120 hours behind the wheel, they are then 30 times more likely to crash when first starting on their P-Plates.
Younger people may have two aspects of car ownership in mind – does it look cool? Is it cheap?
But neither of those considerations will save their lives in an accident. Simply because a car is bulky – an SUV for example – doesn’t necessarily mean it is safer. Of course, cars that are more powerful tempt fate with higher acceleration and less control.
To help guide P-Platers and their parents toward better, safer cars, we’ve compiled five of the best choices for safety and fuel economy ( head to Gumtree to search thousands of cars) – so it at least ticks one of the boxes!
2016 Ford EcoSport Ambiente Manual
Picked up for a modest $15,000 or thereabouts, the EcoSport is a five-door compact SUV with a full complement of safety features, giving it the coveted 5-star ANCAP Safety Rating. It features electronic stability control (ESC), brake emergency display, and electronic brake force distribution (EBD) plus the full gamut of airbags. A fine choice as a cheap and cheerful manual-transmission vehicle.
Skoda Octavia 110 TSI 2016
A fully featured 2L sedan, the Skoda Octavia “Czechs” all the boxes when it comes to safety. It has a subtle style and is roomy inside. It only uses 5.7L/100km, which is a boon for penny-pinching p-platers. It too has a wealth of standard safety features, including autonomous emergency braking, active cruise control, EBD, ESC and all round airbags. All this from $22,990.
Another sub-20K car ($16,900) with a five-star ANCAP safety rating, this German compact includes the essential ESC, EBD and ABS plus their innovative city safety braking option, which stops the car in an emergency. It’s a 1.2L engine, but don’t let that deter you – it still packs plenty of acceleration wollop.
At this price point ($14,990) you can’t really go wrong. Fitted with seven airbags and $5,000 cheaper than the world’s most popular car, the Toyota Corolla, it’s an even better bet due to Toyota’s improvements to ride, handling and insulation. Standard inclusions include a rear-reverse camera, 6.1” touchscreen and cruise control.
Hyundai has packed in every safety feature you can think of into their flagship small 1.8L sedan. It features ESC, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist and Vehicle Stability Management. Adding to that is their standard seven airbags, rear-reverse camera and parking sensors for extra peace of mind. For all that kit, it’s well worth the $20,990 price tag.