2009 FORD ESCAPE EARNS ‘TOP SAFETY PICK’; TOPS TOYOTA, HONDA IN COMBINED SAFETY AND FUEL EFFICIENCY RATINGS
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the 2009 Ford Escape, Mercury Mariner and their hybrid models as “Top Safety Picks”.
- Escape and Mariner SUVs also earned the government’s top 5-star crash ratings – topping Toyota RAV-4 in both independent crash tests and beating Honda CR-V in combined crash safety and fuel efficiency ratings.
- Ford has produced more NHTSA 5-star-rated vehicles than any automaker, and more IIHS Top Safety Picks than any other brand.
- Escape also helps Ford equal Honda and Toyota quality by earning a Top Three spot in the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Initial Quality StudySM (IQS).
DEARBORN, Aug. 20, 2008 – The 2009 Ford Escape and Escape Hybrid achieved a “Top Safety Pick” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which also named Mercury Mariner and Mariner Hybrid atop the small sport utility vehicle segment. The same four models also recently earned the U.S. government’s 5-star crash-worthiness rating.
The results top the Toyota RAV-4 in both independent crash safety ratings and, with the 2009 Escape’s improved fuel efficiency, offer better combined crash safety and fuel efficiency ratings than the Honda CR-V. Ford’s hybrids also outpaced Toyota Prius in both crash tests.
“Earning a Top Safety Pick is great news because IIHS tests are some of the most demanding conducted outside of our own laboratories, and customers are increasingly relying on them when choosing a new vehicle,” said Susan Cischke, senior vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering, Ford Motor Company. “The Ford Escape is one of few vehicles that earned both full 5-star crash ratings and a Top Safety Pick in the hotly contested small SUV segment – some of our toughest rivals such as Toyota cannot match us.”
The Ford Escape also is rewarding customers with large quality gains, matching lineup-wide improvements that have placed Ford on par with Toyota and Honda. The Escape earned a Top Three spot in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2008 Initial Quality StudySM, which measures new-vehicle quality at 90 days of ownership.
To earn IIHS’s Top Safety Pick, vehicles must earn the top “good” ratings in the institute’s high-speed front and side crash tests, and rear crash tests that include seat and head restraint evaluations. An added requirement since 2007 is that vehicles must also offer electronic stability control.
IIHS recognized improvements in Ford’s 2009 compact SUVs including “modifications to the frontal airbags and safety belts as well as structural changes to improve occupant protection in frontal crashes,” adding that “a new seat design improves the rear crash protection rating,” as well.
“We’ve devoted many hours to analyzing and improving the body structure, safety belts and air bags of Escape and Mariner for better performance in front and side impact crashes,” said Steve Kozak, chief engineer for safety systems, Ford Motor Company. “We’ve taken our compact SUVs to the next level of safety.”
Ford and Mercury compact SUVs get some of their core strength from selective use of high strength steel in the body structure. The use of high-strength steel in the B-pillars to help protect passengers in front and side impacts is only part of their robust safety profile. The gas and hybrid electric versions share identical safety architecture.
Kozak added that every new Ford SUV and crossover launched since the 2006 Ford Explorer has standard electronic stability control and side air bags – safety features that helped Ford achieve its leading number of IIHS top safety picks.
Ford and its global brands have built 4 million vehicles globally with electronic stability control systems. More than 1 million of those vehicles feature Ford’s industry exclusive, AdvanceTrac® with Roll Stability Control (RSC®), the world’s only system with a gyroscopic sensor that actively measures and helps control both side-to-side “yaw” and roll movements.
All 2009 Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner models offer as standard equipment Ford’s exclusive AdvanceTrac® with RSC®, front seat-mounted side airbags and Safety Canopy® Air Curtain System with rollover detection. Also standard is Ford’s Personal Safety System®, which includes dual-stage driver and front-passenger airbags, a driver seat position sensor, passenger seat sensor, and load-limiting safety belt retractors and pretensioners. Together, the system helps customize front air-bag deployment levels based on driver seating location, passenger weight and safety belt usage.
Structural changes and standard safety features also helped Escape and Mariner earn 5 stars in each of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recent crash-worthiness tests. The results top the Toyota RAV-4 and, with the 2009 Escape’s improved fuel efficiency, offer better combined safety and fuel efficiency ratings than the Honda CR-V. Ford’s hybrids also outpaced the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Toyota Prius in NHTSA’s crash tests.
“Ford has more 5-star ratings than any automaker, more Top Safety Picks than any brand and has committed to offer leading fuel economy,” Cischke said.
“Safety is a top purchase consideration, second only to fuel efficiency, so Escape’s five-star crash safety ratings, IIHS Top Safety Pick and best-in-class highway fuel economy (I-4 manual) are a winning combination,” said Tedros Mengiste, Escape and Mariner marketing manager, Ford Motor Company.
About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 229,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s core and affiliated automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Volvo and Mazda. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.