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Carsguide does not recommend a vehicle of any sort that has less than four stars.

You might have seen the TV ad for a budget brand ute, the one in which the dopey looking bloke goes “d'oh” because he bought a far more expensive brand.

Sure, he's down a few thousand bucks but he, his loved ones and possibly even his employer won't be so quick to self-admonishment should he survive a big prang.

The chances of this happy outcome remains lower in Chinese-made working vehicles than in any from the Japanese brands, Ford, Holden or Volkswagen. Much lower in most instances.

In the past month, the Australian New Car Assessment Program -- the line-filling moniker for the local agency that crashes cars into walls and rates how they hold up -- crunched the body of and the numbers on the latest such conveyance from Cathay.

Foton's Tunland 4WD light-commercial dual-cab was awarded three stars from five. That's almost but not quite as poor as it gets these days, but a possibly generous assessment given the absence of electronic equipment mandatory for the full five stars.

Nor is the Tunland especially cheap at $34,500. Hard to grasp why that sum shouldn't include stability control, a fixture standard elsewhere and arguably even more important for vehicles with a high centre of gravity.

“There really is no excuse for a new vehicle coming into the market today to be without stability control, which is now mandatory for passenger cars,” ANCAP's Lauchlan McIntosh says.

ANCAP is irksomely apt to claim credit for pushing major safety advances that originate with car makers and are compelled by market forces. Yet it has also admitted to being two years behind Euro NCAP in its methodology.

There’s no quibbling on this point, however, certainly not when two such old stagers as Toyota's LandCruiser and Mitsubishi's Pajero have both been upgraded to five stars after equipment improvements.

The Chinese brands fare not so well. The Chery J1 gets three stars, and the Chery J11 gets two stars. The Great Wall V240 gets two stars and X240 gets four stars. 

Carsguide does not recommend a vehicle of any sort that has less than four stars. Indeed, we’ve directed our team to not so much as test them. We say you shouldn’t so why should we. Some of us have families. None of us are suicidal.