The sixth-gen Ford Mustang was the first truly “global” pony Ford ever released, making its way to 140 markets and even stealing the sports coupe sales crown in Germany. But while selling globally means more sales, it also means passing crash tests around the world, and, based on these new European NCAP crash results, the Mustang seems to be struggling.
It’s worth mentioning right off the bat that the European New Car Assessment Programme falls under the notoriously strict Global NCAP umbrella, whose chairman is the notoriously shady Max Mosely. And it’s also worth mentioning that the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety ran the Mustang through its own barrage of tests, and the Mustang performed well.
Now to the new NCAP results: after conducting a 40 MPH frontal offset impact test, a 31 MPH full-width frontal test, a side impact test done with a deformable barrier traveling at 31 MPH, and a rigid pole side-test at 20 MPH, the European New Car Assessment Program put out a press release on the 5.0-liter Mustang Coupe’s results, concluding:
[There are] concerns about [the Mustang’s] crash protection of adult and child occupants and a worrying lack of safety equipment commonly available on the European market.
As for exactly what NCAP means by “concerns about crash protection” they name a number of them, beginning with airbags for both the driver and passenger that “inflated insufficiently to properly restrain the occupants” during the frontal offset test.
The Belgium-based safety organization then goes on to mention the full-width test where the entire front of the car impacts a barrier at 31 MPH; during this, the Ford is said to have had “a lack of rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load-limiters,” ultimately resulting in the rear passenger sliding under the belt and amplifying possible abdominal injuries.
Then there’s the side impact test, in which NCAP says “the head of the 10-year dummy contacted the interior trim bottoming out the curtain airbag.”
The other big factor in the poor rating is lack of sufficient active safety technology, a fact for which NCAP scorn Ford in the press release, saying:
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.
NCAP even throws shade at American cars and American safety standards, saying:
The results reveal the American “DNA” of the Mustang that is designed to score well in the less wide-ranging US consumer tests. The European variant [of the Mustang] has seen only those minor updates required to meet European (pedestrian) safety regulation and the Forward Collision Warning system was removed when it was introduced here.
I spoke with IIHS spokesperson Russ Rader about the discrepancy between the Institute’s results and NCAP’s, and while he said their team hadn’t yet had a chance to dig into the NCAP report, he did mention that the Mustang scored “reasonably well” on their tests, only missing out on the Top Safety Pick due to its less-than “good” rating in the small overlap test. Still, he said the fact that Forward Collision warning is absent on the European model makes a big difference; on top of that, there could also be possible differences in airbags or restraints, which would have a huge effect on the results.
NCAP says in its report that Ford is making some changes to standard content on these cars later this year; in particular, Pre-Collision Assist (which includes Detection, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking) and Lane Keeping Aid will be no cost options on all orders filed after May.
Euro NCAP’s secretary general Michiel van Ratingen says those new features could result in changes to the Mustang’s overall rating, but those changes won’t be major, saying “more fundamental updates may be needed if the Mustang is to get a significantly better result.”
The full Euro NCAP report is shown below:
This post has been updated