Thatcham ‘concerned’ about Mustang safety standards

Thatcham Research has given the thumbs down to the Ford Mustang, saying it bucks the trend towards safer cars, while its top three cars for safety are all Volvos.

It has given it only a Two Star Euro NCAP rating, the first time since 2008 a model from one of the top 10 brands has received such a low rating.

Matthew Avery, director of research, said, ‘We have not given a Two Star Euro NCAP rating to any of the top 10 car brands since 2008. 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.

‘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.

Ford says 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.

In contrast, the Volvo S90 and V90 received Five Star Euro NCAP ratings as a result of their class leading safety. Both cars follow the trend set with the XC90, with excellent occupant protection, and a full suite of AEB functionality that includes pedestrian and cyclist crash prevention technology as well as its unique AEB system that is capable of identifying large animals. The S90 and V90 results surpass the best overall score of any model tested in 2016, with Euro NCAP’s top-three best performing cars ever, all now being Volvos.

‘Despite being at a different price point to the Volvo XC90, the Volvo S90 and V90 have the same levels of safety as the XC90. It does make you wonder if anything rubbed off on Ford from the Volvo/Ford partnership,’ added Avery.