Safety levels in new cars are soaring, with some of the least expected vehicles being praised as five-star safe.
To the younger generation, small cars are a popular choice when it comes to buying a first car, but many believe they are some of the least safe to drive.
However, there are 10 small car models available with a five-star safety rating - and the added bonus that they all cost under $18,000.
Included on the list, compiled by WestWheels motoring writer Stephen Williams, is the Suzuki Swift ($15,990) and the Toyota Yaris ($14,990), both of which have caught the eye of Renee Ricci. Miss Ricci, 18, is on the lookout for her first car after spending a year borrowing her parents' vehicle.
"I think it's really important for cars to be safe considering that younger and less experienced drivers are more prone to mistakes that could lead to an accident," she said. "Buying a brand new car leaves young drivers better off in the long run, because you can guarantee their reliability and they will probably last you double the time a cheap, second-hand car will."
Other models on the list include Honda Jazz, Hyundai i20 and Volkswagen Polo. All 10 have airbags and electronic stability control.