Crash Testing A 1998 And A 2015 Toyota Corolla. Which Would You Rather Drive?


A note from the death and dismemberment department. While Trump supporters are screaming at the top of their lungs about the horrors of government regulation and the burden it places on the economy, out in the real world, our rivers and skies are cleaner thanks to environmental rules (which went into effect under left wing proto-communists like Dick Nixon and Ronnie Rayguns). In the world of automobiles, crash test standards have been strengthened considerably over the past 20 years.

ANCAP crash testing

To listen to the reactionaries tell it, those regulations have forced the price of new cars up so high that ordinary folks can’t afford to buy them any more. They conveniently forget that real wages for all but corporate CEOs and Wall Street bankers have fallen steadily since about 1975. But those regulations have done something else. They have made today’s cars a whole lot safer to drive. It’s hard to put a price on that.

Recently, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), a joint program of the Australian and New Zealand governments, crash tested two Toyota Corollas — one from 1998 and another from 2015. The testing was conducted last week as part of the United Nations’ Global Road Safety Week. The 1998 car was built in Australia, which did not require new cars to have air bags at that time.

Both cars were subjected to a 40 mile per hour partial overlap frontal collision test. When it was over, there was almost nothing left of the car manufactured in 1998. ANCAP gave it a safety rating of zero stars. The actual tally was 0.40 points out of a possible 16. Sensors onboard indicated any occupant would have suffered severe head, leg and chest injuries. The 2015 car fared a whole lot better. It got a 5 star crash rating and was awarded 13 out of 16 points. Any occupant would likely have walked away with minor injuries.

The lesson from the ANCAP test is not so much that newer cars are safer. It is that many of the most vulnerable drivers — teenagers and the elderly — are driving around in cheap cars that may crumple up around them in a collision.  ANCAP CEO James Goodwin says. “It is unfortunate we tend to see our most at-risk drivers – the young and inexperienced, as well as the elderly and more frail – in the most at-risk vehicles, and we hope this test promotes a conversation to encourage all motorists to consider the safety of their car.”

The message? If you insist on texting and driving, make sure you do it in the newest car you can afford. And if you are commuting back and forth to work in a beater built in the 90’s, you better pray Trump and his minions haven’t cancelled your health insurance. Buckle your seatbelt before watching this video and remember, in Austrialia and New Zealand, the steering wheel is on the right!

Source: ANCAP via Autoblog





About the Author

I have been a car nut since the days when Rob Walker and Henry N. Manney, III graced the pages of Road & Track. Today, I use my trusty Miata for TSD rallies and occasional track days at Lime Rock and Watkins Glen. If it moves on wheels, I’m interested in it. Please follow me on Google + and Twitter.

  • bioburner

    The newer cars are designed to perform better in crashes. Without even reading the article I would have picked the 2015 Corolla. Pay a few more dollars on the purchase price of a newer car and save money and flesh if you have an accident. So IMHO the newer car would be cheaper overall when you factor in insurance company losses.

  • Leeper

    Make sure you watch those recalls. Those new airbags can act like a claymore. A low speed fender bender can turn into a fatality due to the technology that was meant to decrease mortality.

    • Leeper

      I’d still pick the new one if given the choice 😉

    • Steve Hanley

      Wekk, yeah, airbags with built in fragmentary grenades ARE a bit of a problem…..

  • Rick

    A few years ago, Euroncap tested a Golf V
    against a Golf I. Yeah, the Golf I was pretty much gone too. In fact,
    they discovered that even Volvo’s cars were crap. It was just marketing,
    Their pre-1990 cars were just as good as any other, i.e., horrible.