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Top 10 car buying considerations

Car safety is not on the shopping list for the majority of car buyers, according to new research from the Co-op Insurance.

Only 4% of UK motorists placed car safety at the top of their buying criteria, in the survey of UK motorists.

However, despite this, nore than three-quarters (77%) of drivers are calling on the motor industry to be more proactive when it comes to highlighting both new and used vehicle safety features.

The research revealed that whilst 79% of consumers describe car safety as very important when buying a car, 71% don’t place safety in their top five buying criteria, with price, value for money and car brand  taking precedence in the buying process.

The Top 10 things that prospective car buyers prioritise when choosing a car are:

  1. Price
  2. Value for money
  3. Brand
  4. Mileage
  5. Colour
  6. Appearance (if there are scratches)
  7. Performance (how fast it goes)
  8. Fuel economy
  9. Size
  10. Safety

When it comes to safety, more than half of drivers (54%) did not ask any questions about safety when they were making their car purchase, despite the fact that features such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), Lane Keep Assist and Blind Spot Detection now being widely available on many affordable used cars.

This may be because motorists are left confused by a deluge of jargon, acronyms and a lack of quality information when it comes to understanding car safety according to the new research released by Co-op Insurance and safety experts Thatcham Research.

Over two thirds (68%) have no idea what the safety rating of their own car is, and more than half (54%) didn’t ask about car safety at all when making a purchase.

The used car market is changing dramatically, as newer models are often made to a higher quality than in decades gone by.

Two thirds (66%) of motorists believe that a new car is automatically safer than a used car, however many older cars can often be a safer option. According to Thatcham Research, a driver of a Euro NCAP 5 Star rated car, has a 60% greater likelihood of walking away from a crash compared to someone driving a 1 Star car.

Buying a new car? Key safety considerations…

  1. Check what Euro NCAP safety rating the car has – this gives a guide on the crash worthiness of the car and its ability to avoid a crash in the first place. A 5 Star rating is what you should be looking for.
  2. Does it have AEB (autonomous emergency braking) fitted – AEB is a safety technology first used on production cars in 2008 that monitors the traffic conditions ahead and automatically brakes the car in an emergency situation if the driver fails to respond. It is proven to prevent crashes and is a feature fitted to many widely available used cars
  3. What additional safety features are available – look for cars that have an additional safety pack that can include technologies like lane keep assist, that actively helps you stay in lane. Active Cruise Control takes the burden of long journeys by keeping you at a safe distance from the car in front, Driver Monitor Systems stop you falling asleep at the wheel and High Beam Assist automatically dip your headlamps. And for your most valuable passenger, ISOFIX child seats that make buckling and unbuckling them a doddle.

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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