Safety experts slam Ford Mustang over poor crash results

But outstanding results for Volvo S90 and V90

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The new Ford Mustang has drawn heavy criticism from safety experts Thatcham Research after scoring the worst crash test rating for a top 10 car manufacturer in nearly a decade.

The Mustang scored only two stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, the first time a two-star rating has been awarded by a top 10 car brand since 2008. Both adult and child protection results fell short of expectations, airbags did not deploy as expected and collision avoidance technology like autonomous emergency braking is not fitted to European models.

Read more Ford news and reviews at The Car Expert

Thatcham Research was particularly scathing of Ford’s decision not to offer safety equipment on European and UK Mustangs that is included or available in American markets.

“What really concerns me,” said Matthew Avery, director of research at Thatcham, “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.”

Ford Mustang two-star Euro NCAP crash test result
The Ford Mustang received a two-star Euro NCAP crash rating – and heavy criticism from road safety professionals.

Thatcham points out that other sports cars, like the Audi TT (four stars), Mazda MX-5 (four stars) and even the soon-to-be-replaced BMW Z4 (three stars) have achieved far better scores in recent years. However, it should also be pointed out that those vehicles were not tested on the latest Euro NCAP crash test protocol, so the results are not equivalent.

“Improved safety functionality and features apply equally to cars in the sports roadster category as to family cars,” said Avery. “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.”

Euro NCAP secretary general, Michiel van Ratingen, said, “Ford did not expect Euro NCAP to test the Mustang and chose not to fit safety technology in Europe which is available to its American consumers. Such an attitude to safety should trouble Ford’s customers, whether they are buying a high-powered muscle car or a regular family car.”

Read about the ten safest new cars for 2017, as rated by Thatcham Research

Ford has informed Euro NCAP that Mustang orders placed after May 2017 will benefit from a model update to be launched in late 2017. These cars will be fitted as standard with AEB with pedestrian detection and a lane-keeping system. Euro NCAP will re-test the Mustang once these vehicles arrive on the European markets.

Read The Car Expert review of the Ford Mustang

In more positive news to come out of the latest round of Euro NCAP tests, the Volvo S90 and Volvo V90 models scored five-star ratings with the best results ever achieved. The top three vehicles ever tested by Euro NCAP are now all 90-series Volvos (S90, V90, XC90).

Read The Car Expert review of the Volvo S90 and V90 models

Volvo S90 five-star Euro NCAP crash test result
The Volvo S90 and its V90 estate twin scored five stars from Euro NCAP

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Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.

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