Ford Mustang made (a bit) safer


Euro NCAP caused a bit of a stir back in January when it revealed everyone's favourite budget V8, Ford's new Mustang, had scored just two stars in its latest round of crash testing. This was the worst performance in almost a decade, and the organisation's members didn't hold back. "Ford has made a deliberate choice, said Thatcham Research director 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] regulations." Throw in a lack of radar collision avoidance systems and you have, er, a car crash of a result.


Despite insisting the Mustang was "fundamentally a safe car", Ford kicked off some engineering upgrades, and it's the revised car that Euro NCAP says is now worthy of three stars rather than two. "A three-star Euro NCAP rating is never a cause for celebration," said Avery, but "Ford's rapid addition of a suite of standard-fit safety tech and its prompt updates to improve the performance of the airbags and restraints is to be applauded". All told, then, a result for Euro NCAP.

So what's Ford done? First of all, it's fixed the underinflation of the airbags. Previously, the driver's head could strike the steering wheel, something that really shouldn't be possible in a car with full-size airbags. Standard equipment also now includes pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking and a lane-keeping aid. Whose 'off' button will be worn smooth in many a PHer's 2017-on Mustang, we're sure.

The Mustang still isn't where it should be - it'll take a revised front end that's safer for pedestrians for that. Maybe that's where the 2018 facelifted car comes in, However, it no longer has substandard airbags, and is now more likely to avoid an accident in the first place. Another lesson for the One Ford initiative to digest.

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (71) Join the discussion on the forum

  • E65Ross 06 Jul 2017

    In this day and age, even a rating of 3 stars is pretty shoddy, no?

  • NJ72 06 Jul 2017

    Whilst I agree in principle that a 3* rating is shoddy, you also need to consider that a 3* rating today is the equivalent of a 5* rating just a couple of years ago...

    Look at some of the tech that's in it - radar collision avoidance, lane assist, emergency braking assistance... The 2007 Ford Mondeo has a 5 star NCAP rating, but doesn't have any of that stuff as standard. OK, that's a decade ago, but I'd wager the new Mustang is just as safe, if not safer with the new kit than the 2007 Mondy.

    There's more 2007 Mondys on the road than Mustangs, I'd wager... And which one is more likely to have kids in?

  • spikyone 06 Jul 2017

    E65Ross said:
    In this day and age, even a rating of 3 stars is pretty shoddy, no?
    No. Euro NCAP is now more about how much driver assistance technology a car has, rather than safety in the event of an accident. You can see the former by looking at its equipment list, so it's rather pointless that so much weight is given to it. Far better to work out how it performs if the worst happens, and award stars based on that IMO. I'll be honest, I'm not too bothered if my car has lane assist or auto-braking or pedestrian detection or is nice and squidgy for someone who wanders out in front of me. I'll give an extra star to anyone who doesn't put all that electronic garbage on it.
    I don't doubt that the NCAP has contributed in part to vehicle safety improvements, but it's become a bit like the school system - everyone's aiming for the best possible results in a specific and controlled test, which may not be entirely representative of how the real world works.

    On the other hand, under-inflating airbags is a serious issue, and you'd hope that Ford are retrofitting the fix to all of its customers' cars.

  • geeks 06 Jul 2017

    NJ72 said:
    Whilst I agree in principle that a 3* rating is shoddy, you also need to consider that a 3* rating today is the equivalent of a 5* rating just a couple of years ago...

    Look at some of the tech that's in it - radar collision avoidance, lane assist, emergency braking assistance... The 2007 Ford Mondeo has a 5 star NCAP rating, but doesn't have any of that stuff as standard. OK, that's a decade ago, but I'd wager the new Mustang is just as safe, if not safer with the new kit than the 2007 Mondy.

    There's more 2007 Mondys on the road than Mustangs, I'd wager... And which one is more likely to have kids in?
    Given the airbag under inflation I would disagree but its crash structure is probably better than the stuff from 10 years ago I guess its swings and roundabouts! I would still rather a car with proper airbags though.. Plenty of other manufacturers of sports cars have go it right first time, no reason a company as big as Ford shouldn't!

  • kambites 06 Jul 2017

    Now they've fixed the air-bag problem, the front seat occupant safety seems pretty decent and the pedestrian impact score is quite good.

    The low score is coming from poor rear seat safety. I suppose 2+2s are always going to find this harder simply because there's not as much space to decelerate the passengers in a crash before they hit the seat in front.

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