Ford Escape safety rating "poor" for new crash tests

The BMW X1 was one of five other small SUVs to receive an IIHS

"The occupant survival space was badly compromised" because of airbag problems and a frame design that crushes passengers in the right hip and thigh area, said Becky Mueller, senior research engineer for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which released the results Wednesday.

The test is the flip side of the driver's side test that the Institute has been doing for the past five years, CNN reports. The test is created to replicate a vehicle's performance when hitting obstacles like trees and poles, or having a less-than-head-on collision with another vehicle. So as to find out what can happens when the front drive-side corner of a vehicle collides with another Object. The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was given a marginal ranking, which is just above the Escape's poor rating.

It's very unusual. The test resulted that 25% of injuries in front-side crashes. "Manufacturers shouldn't shortchange protection for front-seat passengers". The IIHS said both crossovers allowed too much intrusion into the passenger compartment and both models had side curtain airbags that failed to deploy.

The BMW X1; Chevrolet Equinox and its twin, the GMC Terrain; Jeep Compass and Mitsubishi Outlander earned good ratings in the passenger-side small overlap front test. Mitsubishi's Outlander Sport did not fare as well, getting the marginal score.

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Despite good crash scores, none of the latest vehicles earned that top award, primarily because in separate testing, their headlights did not get the required good rating to qualify for the Top Safety Pick Plus designation.

IIHS noted that starting with the 2017 Escape, Ford beefed up the structure on the driver's side to improve occupant protection in a small overlap front crash but didn't make the same changes to the passenger side.

The IIHS' small overlap frontal crash test is widely considered to be the toughest test in the business. The Escape has earned the highest 5-star overall NCAP ratings in the U.S., Europe, China and Australia and a "good" rating in all other IIHS crash test modes. The institute says the Ford Escape test also injured the dummy inside. "We expect the new 2020 model also will perform well on this test".

A smaller, less costly version of the Outlander, the Outlander Sport seats five people, compared to the seven seats offered in the Outlander. Ford officials noted during a Tuesday sales call with journalists that a complete replacement for the Escape is now under development.

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