The shock two-star crash test result for the 2015 Ford Mustang is the same score as China’s first-generation Great Wall ute was given early in 2010. Four years later the updated version of the same ute scored three stars.
The flop finding means the Mustang is the first car since 2015 to score so low on the European New Car Assessment Programme (EuroNCAP). The Lancia Ypsilon was the last car to get a two-star rating; the Jeep Compass fared equally as badly in 2012.
The test was done on the V8 GT coupe (the other variants haven’t been tested) and the result was released this week by EuroNCAP affiliate, the Australasian NCAP (ANCAP). Since 1993, ANCAP has published crash test results for over 590 passenger cars and light commercials sold in Australia and New Zealand.
Melbourne-based ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin said of Mustang’s performance: “This result is simply shocking for such a newly designed and popular vehicle.
“There’s a strong consumer expectation that a new car should be five stars and a sports car is no different. Safety should never be compromised.
“This (Mustang) safety rating is not intended to shock or surprise – it simply presents the safety of this car against that of its competitors.
“The safety of adult occupants, child occupants and the ability to avoid a crash all form the basis of our ratings and the Mustang falls short in each of these areas.”
Is the finding an indictment on Ford’s safety protocols for the Mustang, considering the advancement of automotive safety technology in the five years between the Chinese ute’s two-star rating in 2010 and the appearance of the new Pony car in 2015?
“No, not all at,” said Ford New Zealand’s communications man Tom Clancy. “Safety is one of the highest priorities in the design of our vehicles at Ford Motor Company.
“The Mustang is a safe vehicle . It has already proven its high level of safety in tests at the NHTSA (the US National Highway Safety Traffic Adminisration) new car assessment programme, where it earned a five-star overall score. It got a ‘good’ rating from the (US) Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
“Mustang is the only vehicle in the sports car class to be tested under the rigorous new Euro NCAP protocol update introduced in 2016-17, which is even more tailored to family cars and SUVs than the previous protocol.”
ENCAP did indeed introduce a tougher test standard last year, one that automotive safety analysts agreed would prove difficult for many carmakers to achieve the maximum five-star rating.
But the British-engineered, Chinese-built MG CS, a medium SUV, got four stars under the new test; the Ford Escape SUV got five stars, so too the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Avensis, and many others.
Unlike most passenger cars, many sports cars are not crash-tested because they are too expensive to be bought and smashed in triplicate. But the Mustang’s relatively affordable price and global popularity pushed EuroNCAP to put it to the test.
Goodwin said ANCAP tried to crash-test the car in Australia, but Ford was reluctant to comply with the independent body’s requests. “This car has been on our radar for some time and we’ve been trying to get a rating for consumers as quickly as we can,” he says.
“Unfortunately the brand was not assisting us to get a rating out for the Mustang. And it’s now quite clear why they weren’t assisting us.”
EuroNCAP said the Mustang has been designed to score well in US tests, where it is equipped with more safety features. It received only minor upgrades to meet European pedestrian safety standards, for example. A collision warning system standard on the US car was removed for the European market, which includes right-hand-drive Britain.
EuroNCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said: “Ford did not expect EuroNCAP to test the Mustang and chose not to fit safety technology in Europe which is available to its American consumers, and available on several other sports cars for that matter.”
Among other shortcomings, the test body found both driver and front passenger airbags in the Mustang failed to inflate sufficiently in the frontal offset crash test. In the full front-on crash test a rear passenger dummy slid straight under seatbelt upon impact.
Ford has said the facelifted 2018 Mustang will be equipped with more safety features
- Full test results are at ancap.com.au