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New Zealand's fleet of second-hand vehicles is growing safer according to a report in the Used Car Safety Ratings guide recently.

The guide is updated every year and provides guidance on the performance of more than 220 models based on real world crash data in New Zealand and Australia.

The 2014 guide shows that a record 51% of the 227 second-hand cars listed scored an Excellent or Good rating for driver protection in a crash - seven more vehicles in those categories than 2013. AA General Manager Motoring Services Stella Stocks says the better overall crash performance in used cars reflects the general improvement of the fleet and sophisticated safety features in new cars eventually reaching the second-hand market.

NZ Transport Agency's General Manager Access and Use Celia Patrick urges used car buyers to buy the safest car they can afford.

"Motorists have a number of decisions as they consider the options for their next car and for many price and functionality for how they intend to use it are usually at the top of the list. The Used Car Safety Ratings guide enables motorists to consider crash performance and driver protection across a variety of cars in a specific category," she says.

There are affordable options among the Safe Pick choices with some well under $10,000. Buyers are urged to look for features such as Electronic Stability Control and Airbags at a minimum because these devices saves lives.

Used Car Safety Ratings can be found at rightcar.govt.nz.

Source: NZ Herald

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