The Ford Mustang has become the first car from a mainstream car manufacturer to be given a two-star Euro NCAP safety rating since 2008.
Thatcham, the company that oversees the official NCAP crash test, has criticised Ford for selling the Mustang in the UK without important safety technology that’s available in the USA.
Video: Ford Mustang Euro NCAP crash test
“Ford has made a deliberate choice,” explains Thatcham Research’s director of research, Matthew Avery.
“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.”
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During the test, the driver and passenger airbags failed to inflate sufficiently in an offset front collision.
In the full-width front impact test, a rear passenger was found to slide under their seatbelt. Rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load-limiters would prevent this, Thatcham says.
A facelift for the Mustang, due to go on sale in September 2017, will have extra safety technology as standard, Ford says, including pre-collision assist and lane-keep assist. This could result in a higher NCAP score when re-tested.
“This really bucks the trend,” adds Avery. “Car buyers are increasingly benefiting 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 that is available even on the Ford Fiesta, and the recently-launched Ford Edge.”
Ford has hit back, telling Motoring Research the Mustang is “fundamentally a safe car,” achieving five stars for pedestrian safety, four for front occupants and three for child occupants. Despite this, a spokesman admitted they found the overall result “disappointing”.
NCAP has also tested the new Volvo S90 and V90 – both of which have been awarded five stars and praised for their “class-leading safety”.
“It does make you wonder if anything rubbed off on Ford from the Volvo/Ford partnership,” concludes Avery.