Updated 2018 Ford Mustang to keep three-star crash rating

Australia’s crash safety watchdog takes a dig at Ford for not improving rear-seat passenger safety in its strong-selling fastback coupe

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FORD’S updated Mustang will continue to wear a three-star crash rating despite answering criticism leveled at the former model by Australia’s crash safety watchdog.

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The Australasian New Car Assessment Program announced the updated Mustang, which today makes its official debut in Australia with a raft of driver assist systems including automatic emergency braking, a forward collision alert system and a lanekeeping assistant, would carry over its mediocre rating.

The Australian three-star crash rating is the same that was given to the facelifted Mustang late last year via ANCAP’s continental equivalent, EuroNCAP. The EuroNCAP scoring system initially gave the Mustang a two-star rating, but this was later re-rated to three stars after the coupe added the extra driver assist technology.

While the extra driver assistance helped lift the coupe’s safety assist score from 2015’s low of 16 percent to the new score of 61 percent, and pedestrian protection from 64 percent to 78 percent, ANCAP said Ford had not improved rear-seat passenger or whiplash protection – the areas where the previous model lost points.

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“Improvements have been made to the Mustang’s safety assist features as well as tuning to restraint systems,” ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin said. “Structurally however, the revised Ford Mustang is identical to the Mustang we originally rated, meaning it still
falls short of our expectations in the areas of adult occupant and child occupant protection.”

Goodwin said that while the inclusion of driver assistance systems such as AEB and lane keep assist were “a definite step in the right direction”, the improvements to the Mustang had “neglected to address the injury risk posed to rear seat occupants as well as whiplash
Protection”.

A two-star crash safety rating still applies to Mustangs built between December 2015 and December 2017.

According to the EuroNCAP test results, the Mustang still offered generally poor rear-seat protection in a head-on collision after the crash-test dummy “submarined”, slipping under the lap section of a seatbelt that exerted “an excessively high tensile force in the test” that could also induce chest injuries.

While the ANCAP rating applies to all four-cylinder and V8-engined fastback versions of the Mustang, the convertible version remains unrated.

Ford Australia said the Mustang was a safe car. “We are committed to continued improvement in vehicle safety and have taken action and updated several systems on the MY2018 model,” a spokesperson said. 

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“The overall EuroNCAP and ANCAP rating is based on four pillars (adult occupant protection, child occupant protection, pedestrian protection and safety assist), with a very strong focus on family car and SUV safety characteristics and specific safety assist features, which are usually not part of the standard equipment of cars in the Mustang category.

“The MY2018 Mustang delivered a four-star result for Adult Occupant Protection, a five-star result in the Safety Assist pillar and a five-star result for Pedestrian Protection.  However, a three-star result for Child Occupant Protection limited the overall result to a three-star rating.

“An important element of the EuroNCAP child safety rating includes elements such as ease of ingress/egress of the child seat, an area where two-door coupes traditionally have a disadvantage.”

The Mustang’s result flies in the face of another two-door coupe that continues to carry a much higher rating stamped on it under a less-stringent crash testing regime.

The strong-selling Toyota 86, which last month eclipsed 20,000 Australian sales since its launch, and the closely related Subaru BRZ were last crash-tested in 2012 and still carry a five-star rating despite having no driver assist systems, rear headrests or rear-seat seatbelt reminders – all criteria on which the Mustang was assessed. Similarly, the Hyundai Veloster, assessed in 2013, also carries a five-star rating without the modern-day safety gear.

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ANCAP’s crash-test ratings publish the year in which the vehicle was tested, but the system leaves it up to the buyer to fill in the gaps of what the safety benchmark was at the time the vehicle was tested.

The Monash University Accident Research Centre releases annual crash test ratings for secondhand cars, based on real-world crash data, however sports cars are not included in the results.

Wheels has contacted the centre to ask what scores the Toyota 86/Subaru BRZ and the Hyundai Veloster would receive under the Used Car Safety Rating system.

 

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Barry Park
Journalist

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