What to ask when buying a car

ANCAP, AEB, ESC… it may sound like jargon, but these are the safety features you should first ask about when you check out a car. That way you’ll avoid being sidetracked by unnecessary options and drive away with a safe choice.

1. What’s the ANCAP star rating of this model?

ANCAP recommends only buying cars with a 5 star safety rating.

2. Is it fitted with side airbags?

If not, is there a variant in the range that is? Head-protecting side airbags, such as curtain airbags, help protect against severe injury in side impact and rollover crashes.

3. Does it have side airbags in the rear as well?

Back seat passengers need protection too.

4. If you’re buying a ute or van, does it have ESC?

Electronic Stability Control is a valuable safety feature that’s mandatory on new passenger cars sold, but won’t be compulsory for new light commercial vehicles in Australia until November 2015.

5. Does this model have AEB fitted as standard?

If not, is there a variant in the range that does? Autonomous Emergency Braking or AEB uses radar, lidar (laser) or video technology to warn you of an impending frontal collision before applying the brakes if you don’t take action.

6. Does it come with a reversing camera?

And if not, can one be fitted? Our testing shows all cars have a “blind spot” that could easily hide a child or object. A reversing camera can greatly improve visibility for all types of vehicles, from 4WDs to small sedans.

7. Does it come with parking sensors?

Again, if not, can these be fitted?

More safety terms and features explained.