Ford’s mighty Mustang may not be as mighty as originally thought.
The muscle car scored only two Euro NCAP stars when pitted against the safety assessor’s 2017 test regime.
This was a shocking difference to Volvo’s S90 and V90, which scored a full five stars each. The trio were the first models to be tested in this year’s European New Car Assessment Programme.
Concerns were raised about the Mustang’s adult and child occupant crash protection and the worrying lack of safety equipment commonly available on the European market.
The results found that the American ‘DNA’ of the Mustang is designed to score well in the less-stringent US consumer tests, and only minor updates were made to the Mustang to meet European pedestrian safety regulation. Meanwhile, the Forward Collision Warning system seen in the US model was removed when it was introduced on this side of the pond.
Three of the tests that the Mustang performed poorly in included the frontal offset test, the full-width frontal test and the side impact crash.
In the frontal offset test, both driver and passenger airbags inflated insufficiently to properly restrain the occupants, while in the full-width frontal test a lack of rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load-limiters meant that the rear passenger slid under the seatbelt. In a real-life accident, this could mean a higher risk of stomach injuries. Finally, in the side impact crash the head of the child dummy made contact with the interior trim bottoming out of the curtain airbag.
Euro NCAP’s secretary general, Michiel van Ratingen, said: “Volvo has invested in safety, has made key technologies standard across the model range and the results speak for themselves: a very impressive five-star rating.”
But in a dig against the Blue Oval, he said: “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.
“Such an attitude to safety should trouble Ford’s customers, whether they are buying a high-powered muscle car or a regular family car.”
A facelifted Mustang is expected to go on sale next year, featuring Pre-Collision Assist and Lane Keep Assist as standard.
Van Ratingen continued: “We welcome any improvement, of course, and look forward to publishing a new rating for the updated model.
“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.”