Are You Driving A Deathtrap On Wheels?

Picture the scene; you are shopping for a new car and you only have a certain budget. Let’s face it, isn’t too high because life has become really expensive lately.

You walk into the dealership, tell the salesman what your budget is and basically what you are looking for. It usually goes something like “it needs to get me from A to B”.

The salesman takes you to your bracket and starts chatting about the pros of the car and lets you go for a test drive.

But wait. Have you ever stopped and asked how safe the car is? Have you ever enquired about the safety rating of a car?

There is a really big chance that you haven’t because this shouldn’t really be something that we should ask about right?

You don’t really think to ask the question; if I hit a curb, could I potentially die?

We have all seen the adverts and testing videos on TV with the crash test dummies and shuddered at the thought of that being us. But we all think those cars are instantly scrapped and the manufacturer goes on to make better safer cars.

Right? Well, not entirely.

The shocking fact is, that cars that have not passed international safety tests are actually driving on SA roads as we speak!

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South Africa Has No Basic Safety Standards!

South Africa is one of several countries in the world who has not instituted basic safety standards for cars to comply to.

The truth is, cars that have failed the basic safety ratings in Europe, Australia, the US and South East Asia are actually driving here. Manufacturers find countries like ours, who don’t bother with standard safety ratings and push the stock there.

Europe, for example, has a set of standards in place, called the Euro NCAP Ratings, Australia has ANCAP and the US; FMVSS.

The AA in South Africa have recently been calling for these standards to be put into place, but there has been no move to actually get this installed in the country.

A Closer Look At The Euro NCAP Ratings

So, how are cars rated? In Europe, cars are rated on four different factors.  The cars are assessed on adult protection (for the driver and passenger); Child protection; Pedestrian protection and Safety Assist technologies. The overall star rating was introduced to add more flexibility to the ratings’ scheme, which had been used since 1997.

Adult Protection

The Adult Occupant Protection score is determined from frontal impact, side impact and whiplash tests, which are carried out to evaluate the protection of adult driver and passengers offered by the vehicle.

Child Protection

The assessment of Child Occupant Protection covers three aspects: the protection offered by the child restraint systems in the frontal and side impact tests; the vehicle’s ability to accommodate child restraints of various sizes and designs; and the availability of provisions for safe transport of children in the car.

Pedestrian Protection

The Pedestrian Protection score is determined from tests to the most important vehicle front-end structures such as the bonnet and windshield, the bonnet leading edge and the bumper.

In these tests, the potential risk of injuries to the pedestrian’s head, pelvis, upper and lower leg are assessed. Cars which perform well can gain additional points if they have an autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system which recognises pedestrians.

Safety Assist Technology

The Safety Assist score is determined from tests of the most important driver assist technologies that support safe driving. These avoid accidents and mitigate injuries. In these tests, Euro NCAP tests system functionality and/or performance during normal driving and in typical accident scenarios.

Star Ratings

The NCAPs have published over 680 ratings. The ratings of the cars are broken into star categories and each car is given a star rating out of five.  

  • 5 stars safety: Overall good performance in crash protection. Well equipped with robust crash avoidance technology
  • 4 stars safety: Overall good performance in crash protection; additional crash avoidance technology may be present
  • 3 stars safety: Average to good occupant protection but lacking crash avoidance technology
  • 2 stars safety: Nominal crash protection but lacking crash avoidance technology
  • 1 star safety: Marginal crash protection

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The Most Dangerous Cars To Drive In SA

So which cars simply have not made the cut with these ratings and which could you potentially be driving at this time. We have taken a look at the entry level cars which cost under R150 000 in this analysis. 

The AA has developed a point system in which vehicles can reach a maximum of 135 points by meeting the safety criteria. Each safety point will count toward points.

The list has been broken down below.


Make and Model ABS brakes Electronic Stability Control Driver Airbag Front Passenger Airbag Side Airbags Curtain Airbags Crash Test Rating (NCAP) Total
Citroen C1 Vti 51 kW Feel 30 30 10 10 10 20 25 130
Renault Sandero 66kW turbo Expression 30 30 10 10 0 0 0 80
FAW V2 1.3 DLX 30 0 10 10 0 0 0 50
FAW V2 1.3 Like 30 0 10 10 0 0 0 50
Suzuki Celerio 1.0 GA 30 0 10 10 0 0 0 50
Chevrolet Spark 1.2 Campus 30 0 10 10 0 0 0 50
Suzuki Swift Hatch 1.2 GA 30 0 10 10 0 0 0 50
Suzuki Celerio 1.0 GL 30 0 10 10 0 0 0 50
Mitsubishi Mirage 1.2 GL 30 0 10 10 0 0 0 50
Honda Brio Hatch 1.2 Trend 30 0 10 10 0 0 0 50
Chevrolet Spark 1.2 L 30 0 10 10 0 0 0 50
Chery J2 I.5 TX 30 0 10 10 0 0 0 50
Chery QQ 1.1 TXE 0 0 10 10 0 0 0 20
Datsun Go 1.2 LUX 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 10
Kia Picanto 1.0LS 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 10
Kia Picanto 1.2 LS 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 10
Geely GC2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Chery QQ0.8 TX 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tata Indica LW AC 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tata Indica LGi Sport 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tata Vista Ini Bounce 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0





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