Carmakers don't often display crashed vehicles on their motor show stands. But Ford went to town at the New York show with a mangled Taurus saloon that had been converted into an interactive display.

The Ford Taurus is a mainstream saloon of the type that's the backbone of the US car market. It's about the size of a current Passat and has the look of the last-generation Mondeo. Ford says it is the 'safest large car in America'.

The white car on display had been put through the US industry standard 35mph '40 percent' offset frontal crash. That mimics a typical head-on collision where at least one driver manages to steer away from the oncoming car. But that makes things worse, because the crash force is then mostly concentrated on one corner.

Ford's Taurus was whacked on 28 February at its Dearborn crash test facility and had been converted into an exhibit by hollowing out the passenger compartment.

Walk into the open side, press the button and a crash test simulation is played through a TV screen positioned against the windscreen. The most disturbing part was not the fancy film editing of hurtling towards a barrier, but the stereo sound of crumpling metal and glass.