These are the safest and most unsafe budget cars to drive in South Africa

Automobile Association (AA) has published a new Entry-Level Vehicle Safety Report assessing the safety features on entry-level vehicles in South Africa. It finds that more needs to be done in this segment, despite recent improvements.

The 2019 report considered the safety features of 27 vehicles available in South Africa currently priced under R180,000. This is 12.5% increase from the threshold in the previous report to account for an increase in inflation.

The ELVS report must be seen against the backdrop of South Africa’s official road fatality statistics, the AA said.

It said that the report aims to highlight the importance of safety features in new cars, understand how these features can save lives, and encourage new car buyers to consider safety in their decisions, and not only price.

“Price is, unfortunately, a driving factor in people’s decisions to buy vehicles. What we would like to see more of is people considering other elements of the vehicles they intend buying such as safety features, which can mean the difference between life and death,” the AA said.

The 27 vehicles surveyed for the 2019 report were evaluated against the number of active safety features they have (anti-lock braking systems, electronic stability control), and passive safety features (airbags).

The vehicles are then categorised into three groups based on their safety ratings according to the AA survey.

Seven vehicles are categorised in the ‘acceptable safety’ range – a marked improvement on the previous report which only had two vehicles in this category. Sixteen of the vehicles are ranked in the ‘moderate safety’ class, while four vehicles are classed as having ‘poor safety’.

Poor Safety: (Score ≤ 20)

  • Datsun GO+ 1.2 Lux
  • Nissan NP200
  • JMC 4×2 Boarding
  • Kia Picanto 1.0 Start

Moderate Safety: (Score 20-50)

  • Suzuki Celerio 1.0 GA
  • Datsun GOMid
  • BAIC D20 hatch 1.3 Comfort
  • Datsun GO+ Mid
  • Datsun GO+ Panel Van
  • Kia Picanto 1.0 Street
  • Suzuki Swift hatch 1.2 GA
  • Suzuki Swift DZire sedan 1.2 GA
  • Mahindra KUV100 1.2 NXT K4+
  • Honda Brio hatch 1.2 Trend
  • Hyundai i10 Grand 1.0 Motion
  • Renault Kwid 1.0 Expression 5 dr
  • Kia Picanto MT 1.0 Style
  • GWM M4
  • Nissan Micra Active 1.2 Visia+
  • Haval 1

Acceptable Safety: (Score > 50)

  • Volkswagen Take up!
  • Renault Sandero 66kw turbo expression
  • Toyota Aygo 1.0
  • Smart ForTwo
  • Toyota Etios Hatch 1.5 Xi HB
  • Honda Amaze 1.2 Trend
  • Suzuki Ignis 1.2 GL

“These results indicate a definite move to more safety features in vehicles, but also point to a dire need for these features to be standard instead of optional, particularly on entry-level vehicles. There is no doubt that safety features such as ESC and ABS save lives, and the motoring public should be given these tools as matter of course in the vehicles they purchase, not as ‘nice-to-haves’,” the AA said.

It said that these technologies should be standard on all new vehicles as their benefits for crash prevention and reduction of road injuries and fatalities are well-documented.

Three vehicle models, the Datsun GO1.2 Mid, the Hyundai i10 1.1 Motion and the Renault Kwid 1.0 Expression, moved from the poor safety/affordability score range in 2017 to the moderate safety/affordability score range in 2019 with the latest model of each vehicle sporting additional safety features.

The Toyota Aygo 1.0 moved from the moderate safety/affordability score range to the acceptable safety/affordability range.


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These are the safest and most unsafe budget cars to drive in South Africa