Ford Escape SUV Scores ‘Poor’ in Safety Test

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) on Wednesday reported the result of recent crash tests conducted on seven small sport utility vehicles. Of the seven, five were rated “good,” one was rated “marginal” and one, the Escape from Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), was rated “poor.”

The results came from the IIHS passenger-side small overlap front crash test, one of six the firm uses to evaluate what it calls “crashworthiness.” IIHS engineers consider driver and passenger injury measures, head protection and structural performance in their side tests.

In the passenger-side small overlap front test, a vehicle travels at 40 mph toward a barrier with 25% of the vehicle’s right front end overlapping the barrier. The test mimics what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or with an obstacle such as a tree or utility pole. Driver and passenger crash test dummies are placed in the front seats.

In addition to the Ford Escape, the IIHS engineers also tested a BMW X1 compact SUV; a Mitsubishi Outlander and an Outlander Sport; a Chevrolet Equinox and its twin GMC Terrain; and a Jeep Compass. All vehicles were 2018 models and all but the Outlander Sport (“marginal”) and the Escape (“poor”) received “good” ratings.

According to IIHS:

The [Ford] Escape struggled in the test, as intruding structure seriously compromised space for the right-front passenger. Intrusion measured 10 inches at the upper door-hinge pillar, compared with 5 inches in the driver-side test. The passenger-side door sill was pushed 4 inches laterally into the occupant compartment. Measures taken from the dummy indicate that right hip injuries would be likely in a real-world crash of this severity. … The side curtain airbags in the Escape and Outlander Sport didn’t deploy. This contributed to the Escape’s marginal rating and the Outlander Sport’s poor rating for restraints and kinematics.

The IIHS ratings scale indicates that a driver of a vehicle rated “good” is 70% less likely to die in a left-side crash, compared with a driver of a vehicle rated “poor.” A driver of a vehicle rated “acceptable” is 64% less likely to die, and a driver of a vehicle rated “marginal” is 49% less likely to die. See the IIHS website for more details and test procedures.