The real difference between a 3 & 5 star safety rating

When looking at purchasing a car, we review performance, looks, features, colours and a whole range of important issues – and how safe it is.

All cars receive a safety rating. But what do all those stars really mean – and who is responsible for awarding them.

Thankfully, it’s not the car manufacturers, but an independent body.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) is Australasia’s independent vehicle safety advocate. ANCAP provides consumers with transparent advice and information on the level of occupant and pedestrian protection provided in the most common types of crashes, as well as the vehicles ability – through technology – to avoid a crash.

ANCAP recommends 5 star rated cars. ANCAP believes:
You have twice the chance of being killed or seriously injured in a 3 star ANCAP safety rated car compared to a 5 star ANCAP safety rated car.

How safe is safe?

To achieve the maximum 5 star ANCAP safety rating, a vehicle must perform to the highest level across all crash tests and assessments.

How are stars awarded?

ANCAP safety ratings are published using a rating system of 1 to 5 stars – with 5 stars being the maximum safety rating.

To obtain an NACAP star rating, vehicles undergo a range of tests and crashes [using crash test dummies of course]. Data is analysed and based on the results.

In all physical crash tests, dummies are used to measure the forces and likely injuries a driver, passenger or pedestrian may sustain during a crash. Observations are also made on the displacement of dummies during the crash, as well as the structural impact on the vehicle’s occupant compartment.

Vehicles must achieve minimum scores across all physical crash tests (for each ANCAP safety rating level), as well as meet minimum requirements for the inclusion of safety equipment and technologies.

For more details, visit their website.


Brighton Panel Works specialises in prestige car repairs, providing services ranging from panel beaters and paintless dent removal to courtesy cars. We are experienced in repairing all prestige car models, including Range Rover, Audi, Volkswagen, Lexus, Volvo, Porsche, Mercedes and BMW. Our clients come from all across Melbourne, including Hampton, Glen Iris, Toorak, Armadale, Malvern, Brighton, Elwood, Elsternwick, Bentleigh East and more.