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Crash test highlights high repair costs

Bumper to bumper: The Holden Barina comes out on top in a walking-pace collision test, but repairing a Toyota Yaris may prove more costly.

NRMA crash tests reveal disparity in repair costs for popular light cars

General News logo26 Jul 2012

THE Holden Barina is more than $10,000 cheaper to repair after a low-speed collision than a Honda Jazz or Toyota Yaris, according to a new crash test.

The test by NRMA Insurance was to determine the performance of both the front and rear bumper of a car in a typical rear-ender traffic crash at 10km/h.

The nine top-selling light cars tested by NRMA included the Holden Barina, Toyota Yaris, Honda Jazz, Nissan Micra, Ford Fiesta, Suzuki Swift, Mazda2, Hyundai i20 and Volkswagen Polo, with some costing up to 70 per cent of their purchase price to repair.

The results reflected not only the crash performance of the cars, but also the cost of replacement parts and ease of repair.

NRMA Insurance head of research Robert McDonald said the results were surprising, given the low speed of the test.

“Even travelling at only 10 km/h, we found many of the cars had poor-performing bumper design which resulted in high collision repair costs,” he said.

While some models fared better than others, the top-selling Toyota Yaris recorded the worst results of the test, with the Honda Jazz not far behind.

In a low-speed collision, the Yaris can cost up to $13,440, or 70 per cent of its purchase cost to repair.

Honda’s popular Jazz could set you back $13,754 – 69.5 per cent of the purchase cost.

Holden’s recently released Barina was the overall winner by a huge margin, costing the owner up to $2,574 in repairs or 14.3 per cent of the purchase cost.

Mr McDonald praised the Barina’s performance in the test, saying effective bumpers could protect expensive parts of the vehicle, such as the radiator and headlights.

“Poorly designed bumpers can slide under other bumpers on impact, causing more damage to both vehicles in a collision,” he said.

“Because of its effective bumper design, the Barina did not suffer structural damage and the damage was isolated to the bumper components.”

Holden vehicle structure and safety integration manager Steve Curtis said the result showed that cheaper cars did not have to compromise on safety.

“These results reflect the commitment Holden has made to make the Barina not only one of the most affordable small cars on the road but also one of the safest,” he said.

Nissan’s Micra – the equal-cheapest vehicle in the test at $16,990 – came in a distant second, potentially costing the owner $6,056 in repairs or 35.6 per cent of the original price.

Volkswagen’s Polo came in fifth place, challenging the belief that European cars could be more expensive to repair than their Asian counterparts.

The purchase prices of the vehicles tested ranged from $16,990 for the Micra and Hyundai i20 to $21,490 for the Volkswagen Polo.

A number of different countries of origin were represented in the test, with cars hailing from Thailand, Japan, South Korea, India, Spain, Germany and Indonesia.

The NRMA crash apparatus used a ‘roller-coaster’ like device to simulate the same conditions as a real-world 10 km/h collision.

Each of the vehicles tested have been awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating, except the Nissan Micra which received four stars.

NRMA collision test results
VehicleBumper repair costRepair cost by % of purchase price
Holden Barina$2,57414.3%
Nissan Micra$6,05635.6%
Ford Fiesta$8,85042.2%
Suzuki Swift$8,92948.6%
VW Polo$11,03751.4%
Hyundai i20$9,03153.2%
Honda Jazz$13,75469.5%
Toyota Yaris$13,44070.8%

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