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News Room

SA’s Unsafest Car Is…

Melissa Cohen
The AA has released the 2017 ‘Safest Entry-Level Vehicles in SA’ . We breakdown all the info and find out that cheap isn’t always safe!
With South Africa's current financial state the way it is, many opt for the cheapest option. But when it comes to motor vehicles,  is this the safest? The Automobile Association of South Africa (AASA) has just released their 2017 "entry-level vehicle" safety report. The report compares entry-level vehicle models to the current safety standards in South Africa. We take a look at the findings and expose the truth about entry-level vehicles in South Africa.
Worried that you might lose your car in an accident? Make sure you have the proper cover today!

Highlights Of The Report

According to the AASA's report, the entry-level motor vehicle still remains the most popular vehicle choice among consumers.  Although the cheapest vehicles might be the most affordable and perfect for nipping around the city, many may be deathtraps.  The AASA released the first "entry-level vehicle safety report" last year, and the similar, if not the same, models are still listed as being unsafe. Even though the safety rating of these vehicles were highlighted, not much has changed. Many vehicle manufacturers refuse to change the safety features of their vehicles, as this is too expensive. According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation's 2016 Traffic report, motor vehicle crashes have cost the government a whopping R142 billion annually. This equates to 3.4% of South Africa's total Gross Domestic Profit. Last year's report considered R150 000 to be the maximum value for entry-level vehicles in South Africa. This number has increased to R160 000 this year.

Active Vs Passive Safety Features

The report analysed the various safety features found in the vehicles that qualify as entry-level. In November 2014, it became mandatory for all European Union vehicles to come standard with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC). This is not compulsory in South Africa and this could be the reason for a high number of accidents. The AASA say that vehicles should come with, both active and passive safety features. Here is a breakdown of the difference between the two:

Active Safety Features

According to the AASA's report, "Active safety features refers to devices and systems that assist in keeping a motor vehicle under control and possibly prevent a crash from occurring." The RTMC's report highlights that last year, 77.5% of fatal crashes were as a result of human error. The anti-lock braking system as well as electronic stability control are both classified as active safety features.
  • ABS brakes ensure that the wheels don't lock if a vehicle is travelling at high speed and needs to brake. This allows the driver to still be able to control the vehicle while braking, instead of it losing complete control;
  • ESC  "Works by detecting if the steering inputs of the driver are inconsistent with the vehicles direction of travel, and then applies the appropriate brakes to prevent the wheels from slipping, keeping the vehicle under control and on the road in hazardous conditions. "

Passive Safety Features

These features are designed to protect the driver from injury in the event of an accident. The report focuses on the secondary restraint system (SRS), mainly being airbags, that provide a cushion upon impact.

Ratings And Prices

The Euro NCap safety test is the template that the AASA has used to determine the safety ratings. This is a point system that each vehicle is marked on and their safety ratings is then determined by the number of points the vehicle obtains. The following table shows the motor vehicles that are considered "entry-level", as well as their prices.
Brand And Model Price
Chery QQ3 0.8 TE (aircon) R99 995
Datsun Go 1.2 Mid R106 900
Chery QQ3 1.1 TXE R114,995
Tata Indica 1.4 LGi R118,995
Renault Kwid 1.0 Expression R124,900
Suzuki Celerio 1.0 GA R133,900
Kia Picanto 1.0 Start R134,995
Tata Vista 1.4 Ini Bounce R134,995
Datsun Go+ 1.2 Lux R139,900
Chevrolet Spark 1.2 Curve R140,700
Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 GL R149,900
BAIC D20 hatch 1.3 Comfort R149,990
Chery J2 1.5 TX R149,995
Kia Picanto 1.0 Street R149,995
Kia Picanto 1.2 Start R150,995
Hyundai i10 1.1 Motion R154,900
Suzuki Swift hatch 1.2 GA R154,900
Mahindra KUV100 1.2 G80 K4+ R154,995
Tata Vista 1.4 Ignis R154,995
Suzuki Swift DZire sedan 1.2 GA R155,900
Honda Brio hatch 1.2 Trend R156,100
Tata Manza 1.4 Ini R156,995
Tata Bolt hatch 1.2T XMS R157,995
Toyota Aygo 1.0 R159,100
Nissan Micra 1.2 Visia+ (audio) R159,900
  Read More about the Datsun Go being illegal all over the world!

Safety Scoring

In this research, the AASA has used a point-based system, where active features are given more points (30 points). Below is a table showing the points system and what each feature has been scored:
Active Safety Features Number Of Points
Anti-lock Brakes 30 points
Electronic Stability Control 3 points
Passive Safety Features Number Of Points
Driver's Airbag 10 points
Front Passenger Airbag 10 points
Side Airbags 10 points
Head/ curtain Airbags 20 points
Crash test rating - Frontal Impact (five points awarded per star) 25 points
Total Points Achievable 135

And The Safest Car Is...

According to the AASA's report,with 60 points, the Toyota Aygo 1.0 has been named as the safest entry-level motor vehicle in South Africa. The Nissan Micra 1.2 Visia+ (audio) comes closely behind in second place. The following vehicles have tied for the title of 'Most dangerous Entry-Level Car In SA':
  • Tata Vista 1.4 Ini Bounce;
  • Chery QQ3 0.8 TE (aircon);
  • Tata Indica 1.4 LGi;
  • Datsun Go 1.2 Mid;
  • Tata Manza 1.4 Ini.
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