Just one make of car has scored the top safety rating in the latest round of the Australasian New Car Assessment Program.
The Holden Commodore Omega sedan achieved a five-star crash test rating because it has extra airbags and an electronic stability control feature.
A Ford Falcon ute and Honda Jazz scored four stars and the Nissan Micra and Nissan Navara got just three stars.
Land Transport New Zealand spokesperson Andy Knackstedt says three stars is not good enough these days.
Mr Knackstedt says all new vehicles should have head protecting side airbags and electronic stability control, which helps prevent crashes.
The Automobile Association says it is surprising that such popular vehicles are not all reaching a top safety standard.