Buying a small car might not be as economical as buyers think, with a new report showing a range of Australia's top selling small cars cost up to 70 percent of their purchase price to repair minor damage.
The NRMA Insurance report tested the collision impact of Australia's nine top selling small cars, and warned that consumers should consider the cost of repairs when buying a new car.
Testing was conducted at low speed — representative of the most common type of Australian collision — and showed some models had very high repair costs.
"We tested the front and rear bumpers of each vehicle by simulating a low speed crash which is the most common type of crash on our roads," said Robert McDonald, NRMA Insurance Head of Research.
"Even travelling at only 10 km/h, we found many of the cars had poor-performing bumper design which resulted in high collision repair costs."
Of the nine cars tested, the Holden Barina was the best performer with repairs costing $2574 — or 14.3 percent of the new purchase price — while the Toyota Yaris was at the bottom of the list at $13,754 or 70.8 percent.
"Poorly designed bumpers can slide under other bumpers on impact, causing more damage to both vehicles in a collision," Mr McDonald said.
"Because of its effective bumper design, the Barina did not suffer structural damage and the damage was isolated to the bumper components."
Mr McDonald said the results from the Barina showed that small cars could have an effective bumper that provided the necessary protection to the more expensive parts of the car, such as the headlights and radiator.
The Barina was far and away the most cost effective vehicle tested when it came to repairs.
The next best car according to the ranking was the Nissan Micra, with repairs costing 35 percent of the purchase price.
While the Yaris came last in the rankings, the Honda Jazz VTi was less than one percent better, with its repairs costing 69.5 percent of the purchase price.
All of the cars in the test had a five-star ANCAP safety rating except the Nissan Micra.
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