Used Car Safety Rated

New safety ratings for used cars show large utes and SUVs are more likely to cause significant harm to other road users in crashes.

The 2006 list compiled by Land Transport New Zealand and the Automobile Association rates vehicles on how well they protect drivers and how much damage they can cause to pedestrians and others.

LTNZ says large cars are more likely to protect drivers and passengers in an accident.

Of the 305 models assessed for driver protection, 35 vehicles were rated 'much better than average', 87 were 'better than average', 44 were 'much worse than average' and 77 were 'worse than average'.

Of the 22 large cars rated, 14 scored above average and only two below average.

While no light cars had a 'better than average' driver protection rating, five small cars achieved this rating, including three rated 'significantly better than average' - the 1994-2001 Peugeot 306, the 1999-2004 VW Golf and the 1998 2001 Toyota Corolla.

But large cars are more likely to injure other road users such as pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists or another car driver.

Of the 305 vehicles surveyed for driver protection, 284 were also rated on the amount of potential harm to other road users in the event of a crash. Of those 74 rated above average and 56 rated worse than average.

No medium or light cars - and only one small car - were rated as causing 'more harm than average'.

Large 4WD vehicles and utes however, fared poorly in this category. All but one of the large 4WDs were found to put other road users at a higher risk.

But, the editor of New Zealand's largest car buying guide says the 2006 used car safety ratings aren't accurate.

Editor of the Dog and Lemon guide, Clive Matthew-Wilson, says the test would give more accurate readings if they only measured driver deaths, like American tests do.

Matthew-Wilson says consumers should combine the New Zealand test results with American used car data to get a better indication of which cars are safer.

The full test results can be found on the LTNZ or AA websites.