The Ford Mustang has bucked the improving trend and is the least safe new car launched by a major brand in the last eight years, say testers.
What is more, buyers should be troubled by Ford’s attitude towards safety in general as it decided to remove protection equipment fitted to versions sold in America, where there are tougher consumer protection laws and higher penalties for failures, says the Euro NCAP organisation.
Thatcham Research, the independent automotive research centre, and voice of Euro NCAP in the UK, says that the Ford Mustang bucks the positive trend towards safer cars by not offering similar levels of safety in the UK as in the United States, and advises that there are safer choices as a result of the Two Star Euro NCAP rating it received.
“We have not given a Two Star Euro NCAP rating to any of the top 10 car brands since 2008”, comments Matthew Avery, Director of Research at Thatcham Research.
“This really bucks the trend. Car buyers are increasingly benefitting from improved safety functionality and features, and this applies equally to cars in the sports roadster category as to family cars.
“We have concerns about the Ford Mustang’s crash protection of adults and children which also makes it unsuitable for having rear passengers. On top this, it does not have basic life-saving technology like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) that is available even on the Ford Fiesta, and the recently launched Ford Edge.”
He added, “What really concerns me is that Ford has made a deliberate choice. The car has been designed to score well in less wide-ranging US consumer safety tests and only minor updates have been made to meet required European pedestrian safety regulations.
“This has resulted in poor adult and child protection scores and the high-tech radar collision warning system that is available to US consumers, not being available here in the UK. The Two Star Euro NCAP rating is the consequence.”
In the frontal offset test, the airbags of both the driver and passenger inflated insufficiently to properly restrain the occupants. In the full-width frontal test, a lack of rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load-limiters meant that the rear passenger slid under the seatbelt, implying higher risk at abdominal injuries in real life accidents.
“In the side impact crash, the head of the 10-year dummy contacted the interior trim bottoming out the curtain airbag.
| In an interim press statement, Ford said, “Mustang delivered five stars for pedestrian safety, four for front occupants, three for child occupants and the two stars for active safety, also the overall result.
The latter is improved on next-gen Mustang available to order after September.
“Mustang is a safe car meeting, or exceeding, all applicable safety standards globally. Mustang’s safety credentials are further demonstrated by the 5* NHTSA NCAP rating awarded in the US as well as a good IIHS rating.
“Ford has a proud history of producing the safest cars in the world and in Europe we have 11 cars with a 5* Euro NCAP rating in our current line-up.
“Ford is committed to continued improvement in vehicle safety, and customers in Europe ordering a Mustang after September 2017 will receive an updated version equipped with Pre Collision Assist with Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking and Lane Keeping Aid.”
The statement concluded, “The overall Euro NCAP rating is based on the above four pillars, with a very strong focus on family car safety characteristics and specific safety assist features, which are usually not part of the standard equipment of cars in the Mustang category.”
Ford told the testers that a face-lifted Mustang will be available later this year with Pre-Collision Assist and Lane Keep Assist as standard. Euro NCAP expects to test the safety of this updated model when it is available on the European market.
Ford later added, “Forward collision is not standard in the US on current model Mustang and Europe assessed features its customers would be prioritizing.
“In case of the Mustang we had a clear definition of a performance car with the heritage of the Ford Mustang. The emphasis in the development of the car was on attracting performance car enthusiasts and the decision was made not to offer driver assist features such as lane support or speed limiter, which usually are not standard features in this vehicle category.”
When it was launched, the Ford Ka of 2000 passed tests with 3*, and the Renault Twizy attained 2*. Recent sporting models tested were the BMW Z4 achieving 3*, with 4* ratings for the Audi TT and Mazda MX-5.