American muscle car fared less well than rivals for protection of child occupants and its shortage of safety equipment

The Ford Mustang has scored two stars in a Euro NCAP crash test, making it the first car from a large manufacturer to receive such a low score since 2008.

The American muscle car fared badly in frontal offset tests – where the car is impacted 40% off-centre – with its driver and passenger airbags described as “inflating insufficiently to properly restrain occupants”.

In full-width frontal tests, a crash test dummy in the back slid under its seatbelt, increasing the risk of injuries to the abdomen. NCAP said the car’s belt pre-tensioners and load-limiters didn’t work effectively enough.

Side-impact tests resulted in a crash test dummy that’s the size of a 10-year-old child hitting its head on interior trim, because the curtain airbag failed to provide enough cushioning.

The results in Europe highly contrast those in the US, where the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has awarded the Mustang the full five stars. Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said the more basic specification of European cars was the reason for this difference.

“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 and available on several other sports cars for that matter,” he said. “Such an attitude to safety should trouble Ford’s customers, whether they are buying a high-powered muscle car or a regular family car.”

Much of the safety features missing from European cars come in the form of driver assist technology, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB), which is available even on basic Ford models such as the Fiesta hatchback.

In an official response to the Euro NCAP results, a Ford spokesman said: “The Mustang is a safe car meeting, or exceeding, all applicable safety standards globally. The Mustang’s safety credentials are further demonstrated by the five-star NHTSA NCAP rating awarded in the US as well as a good Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rating.”

Ford is launching a facelifted Mustang for 2018, which will be available to order in Europe this September. Ford confirmed that the updated model will get several safety features, including pre-collision assist - with pedestrian detection, forward collision warning and AEB – as well as lane-keeping assist. However, it has yet to confirm whether that equipment will be standard or available as part of an options pack.

Euro NCAP plans to test this 2018 model when first customer cars arrive next year. “We welcome any improvement, of course, and look forward to publishing a new rating for the updated model,” said van Ratingen. “However, more fundamental updates may be needed if the Mustang is to get a significantly better result. We therefore hope Ford takes the opportunity to invest in the changes needed now for future Mustang generations.”

Ford to launch hybrid Mustang

Our Verdict

Ford Mustang V8 Fastback

The Ford Mustang is available in the UK in right-hand drive for the first time, but does the rest of this American muscle car fit the UK car scene?

Join the debate

Comments
48

25 January 2017
I've always said the yanks build the worst cars in the world - god help us if an FTA brings even more over here!

25 January 2017
You mean FCA? That is probably one of the fords that has the worest crash ratings even in the us doens't score well and either of the pony car does. Hate all cadillacs? not my favorite styling but they have improved a lot still need to get better.

25 January 2017
Drew wrote:

You mean FCA? That is probably one of the fords that has the worest crash ratings even in the us doens't score well and either of the pony car does. Hate all cadillacs? not my favorite styling but they have improved a lot still need to get better.

No, he means Free Trade Agreement.

25 January 2017
We're considering Mustang 5,0's as potential replacements for the no-longer-available Commodores and Falcons.
Not any more, after this, I'm guessing.

Aussie Rob - a view from down under

25 January 2017
Aussierob wrote:

We're considering Mustang 5,0's as potential replacements for the no-longer-available Commodores and Falcons.
Not any more, after this, I'm guessing.

Strange car to contemplate as a Police car, a 3 door. You Aussie's like to be different

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

25 January 2017
It only has half the engineering of a German sportscar! You get what you pay for.

25 January 2017
It used to be just a us and canada car only never meant to go against the 911, corvett can by performance numbers etc, The ford gt would be more of the car to go against a 911.

25 January 2017
RedInjun wrote:

It only has half the engineering of a German sportscar! You get what you pay for.

While I agree the 911 has much higher standards of engineering, I bet if crash tested it would fair no different. It's all about what the car makers expect. Porsche don't expect their cars to be crash tested so won't invest in safety engineering.

26 January 2017
RedInjun wrote:

It only has half the engineering of a German sportscar! You get what you pay for.

What a nonsensical and baseless comment. How about Paul Walker then? Was he in a Mustang?

This test is protectionist- that Mustang is serious bang for your buck, and with the technology from the GT and that flat crank, the Mustang would be a serious contender on European roads.

How could the EuroNCAP people set up a test on a car without the manufacturer not be told of the "new" criteria? Did they pull a 2016 911 and AMG GT and Ferrari 488 and McLaren and put them through this test simultaneously?

Look at the videos yourselves and see that despite all the impacts the roofline and main shell stood up really well.

26 January 2017
Factczech wrote:
RedInjun wrote:

It only has half the engineering of a German sportscar! You get what you pay for.

What a nonsensical and baseless comment. How about Paul Walker then? Was he in a Mustang?

This test is protectionist- that Mustang is serious bang for your buck, and with the technology from the GT and that flat crank, the Mustang would be a serious contender on European roads.

How could the EuroNCAP people set up a test on a car without the manufacturer not be told of the "new" criteria? Did they pull a 2016 911 and AMG GT and Ferrari 488 and McLaren and put them through this test simultaneously?

Look at the videos yourselves and see that despite all the impacts the roofline and main shell stood up really well.

Is that why these muscle cars are best bang for your buck? Paul Walker died in a high speed crash, in a car with worn out tires. A Mustang is specially dangerous when exiting a car meet. It will try to kill it's driver and as many bystanders as possible :)

Dan

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Citroën C3 Aircross
    First Drive
    17 October 2017
    It's got funky looks and a charming interior, but it's another small SUV, and another dynamic miss. Numb steering is just one thing keeping it from class best
  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq
  • Audi Q7 e-tron
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Expensive and flawed but this understated diesel-electric Audi Q7 has a lot to offer
  • Citroën C3
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Is the third gen Citroën C3 ‘fresh and different’ enough to take on its supermini rivals? We spend six months with one to find out
  • BMW X3
    First Drive
    15 October 2017
    A satisfying rework of the X3 that usefully improves its handling, cabin finish, space and connectivity to make this BMW a class front-runner again