When it comes to buying used, you’re generally going to make some sacrifices – whether it’s mileage, age or condition. In return, you’ll net huge savings against the price of a new car. However, there’s one thing you should never sacrifice: safety. The number of road traffic fatalities is down 2% compared to 2014, but there were still 1,732 reported deaths in the Department for Transport’s 2015 report.
Want safety on a budget? In today’s economy, a used car is a sensible purchase to make whatever your budget. Thanks to the success of the car market, there are lots of good cars available no matter how much money you have to spend. Of these, you want to select a model that is both reliable and safe.
Seem daunting? Don’t worry, Trade Centre Wales, providers of used cars in South Wales, has researched everything you need to know about the safest cars on the used market to match each and every budget.
The used cars to avoid at all costs
When you’re looking at bargain buys that are a few years old, here are the cars you should really avoid when it comes to safety, mainly designed for the American market but still available in the UK.
Cars that achieved a 1/5 or 1.5/5 star NCAP safety rating.
- Isuzu D-Max – 2008 model.
- Chevrolet Aveo – 2006 model.
- Chrysler Voyager – 2007 model.
Cars that achieved a 2/5 NCAP safety rating.
- Renault Trafic 2.0dCi Passenger ‘Expression’ – 2012 model.
- Jeep Compass 2.2 Diesel – 2011 model.
- Ford Ranger Pick Up – 2008 model.
Bargain safety: Between £1,000-£5,000
If your budget is tight, there’s no reason to skimp on safety. Here are some of the best cars you can pick up and still guarantee a good amount of safety.
- Honda Jazz – Best Family Car
The Honda Jazz has a ridiculously high scoring in reliability surveys across the internet and is commonly recommended by pretty much every car magazine as a rock solid family car. You can see why, with spacious interiors and good running costs. Models as far back as 2004 have a 4/5 star NCAP rating and cost as little as £1000 for older models, climbing to around £4,500-£5000 for the newer 2009 version, which gets you a full 5/5 star rating.
- Volkswagen Golf – Best hatchback
Want something a bit trendier to nip the family around in? Volkswagen is renowned for reliable engineering. The 2008 model of the Golf achieved a 5/5 star NCAP rating and carries a spacious interior as well as a range of good engines. £5,000 and under will get you a 2008 or 2009 plate car with around 80,000 miles on the clock.
- Mazda 3 – The sportier option
Want a family car that still looks stylish? The Mazda3 has plenty of attractive curves and lines to it, and at the £5,000 price point you’ll be spoiled for choice with a huge range of five door models you can get your hands on with mileages around 50,000. Aim for models built in 2009 and above for 5/5 star NCAP ratings.
Safety in style: £5,000-10,000
If you’re aiming to spend more than £10,000 on a car, you’re most likely going to be buying a post 2012/13 model, which usually sport high NCAP ratings.
However, if you’re wanting to stick to a budget and get something newer whilst still packing in safety, these are the models that hit the 5 star rating but are friendlier on your wallet.
- Ford Focus – Britain’s Favourite Family hatchback
This is the bestselling family hatchback in Britain, and for good reason. The Focus is a spacious car that has incredible safety features fitted as standard, including electronic stability control and brake assistance. You’ll need to pick up a 2011 model to achieve a 5 star NCAP rating, but at this price point your options are wide, with everything from a 1.6 petrol with top spec Zetec and titanium trims up to economical 2012 and 2013 TDCi diesel engines.
- Vauxhall Astra – Affordable at all budgets
Even 2004 Astra’s have scored 5 star NCAP ratings and can be bought on tiny budgets. However, if you’re spending a bit more and want a full range of features then Vauxhall might be your best choice. At around £8,000-9,000, you’ll get a 2015 reg model with cruise control and parking sensors. To put it simply, this is a safe family car you can tailor to any budget.
- Ford Fiesta – The bestselling used car in Britain
Not only is the Ford Fiesta Britain’s favourite used car, it’s also a perfect option for smaller families who live in more congested areas thanks to a range of small, economical engines and a ton of kit such as front windscreen heaters and emergency break assist. At this budget you can get your hands on anything from a fairly standard 2012 1.2 Zetec model for near £5,000 or a 2015 plate EcoBoost model for nearer £10,000. Either way, all the models are 5 star safety rated.
Of course, there are loads of cars that hit the 5 star NCAP rating – but deciding what you’ll go for when it comes to affordability and safety can be tricky. Take our suggestions on board, but make sure you test any vehicle before you buy. After all, only you know what your family needs.