• Mar 6, 2006

In its latest round of side-impact testing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has dinged the 2006 Ford Fusion with its lowest score for models not equipped with side airbags. In head-on testing, the mid-sizer fared significantly better, netting an 'acceptable' rating (the second-best ranking), but IIHS president Adrian Lund discounted the performance noting that “Nearly every car now earns good ratings in our frontal test.”

A Ford Motor Company spokesman indicated that side airbags and curtain airbags will be standard-fit on 2007 Fusions built after September, and the Blue Oval has requested additional testing for an example so-equipped.

Among its latest crash-test subjects, the 2006 BMW 3-Series and Lexus IS were awarded top ratings in both frontal and side impacts, and Acura's TSX and the Infiniti G35 rated as 'acceptable' under the new side impact testing procedures.

[Source: The Associated Press via MSNBC]



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  • 15 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, this is rather surprising. Or perhaps disappointing is a better word. Wasn't the ford fusion touted as a very "safe family vehicle" when it was first introduced?
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's one thing to blow these tests if the car was designed earlier. Every test has its own requirements, and manufacturers often improve their scores by designing to suit the tests.

      But the Fusion was designed after side impact tests became prominent, so this failure is inexcusable. They're really messed up this one.

      Correction to djsyndrome: side airbags are not standard on the 2006 Camry; maybe on the 2007.

      As someone else noted, stability control is also not available on the Five Hundred or Fusion. Ford is behind the curve here. But these systems must be calibrated for every powertrain, so maybe they're just waiting until the 3.5 comes out in 2007. At least that had better be the reason.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I remember myself (and a few others) being roundly criticized here on Autoblog for daring to believe that Ford should include ABS and a full compliment of airbags as standard equipment (as the Accord, Jetta, Legacy and Camry do). Oh, the irony.
      • 8 Years Ago
      You can buy a sub $16k car, the Sonata, and receive top score for frontal impact and the second highest score for side impact, which is 'good' meaning there is a relatively low chance of being injured, and basically get a car as safe as anything on the road. I am sure that revisions will be made by Hyundai to ensure it receives a perfect mark for side impact next time. Keep in mind it rec'd 5 -Stars from NHSTA for front and side impact when tested by them.
      • 8 Years Ago
      RE: #11
      The major issue is with the frontal crash results - almost shameful. Still, Ford needs only to improve protection for the right foot and leg.

      All midsized cars tested without side/head airbags score "Poor" in the IIHS side-impact test. No surprise there, since the test is specifically designed to ensure said result. The fusion side-impact result is not the worst of cars tested w/o side airbags.

      For example, the 2006 Camry would probably have failed the test even with side airbags because of indicated injuries to the rear passenger's torso. The optional airbags offer no additional rear torso protection.

      • 8 Years Ago
      For all the company's supposed emphasis on safety, Ford's seemingly been slipping lately, or at least not improving as much as the others. Volvos are nowhere to be seen at the top of the side-impact ratings, and Ford doesn't even offer stability control in the aforementioned Fusion, on top of side airbags and ABS being optional. Hyundai makes all of these standard, as does VW. The Japanese manufacturers are also performing much better than before (look at the Lexus IS and Subaru Legacy).
      • 8 Years Ago
      Good show, Ford!
      Just the kind of publicity you need now.

      Months ago, I said that rather than mess with any crappy Ford derivative of the Mazda 6, just buy the Mazda instead--it's a better car that Ford hasn't ruined quite yet.

      Edmunds' website shows head airbags standard on the Mazda 6. My question now is: why would anyone fuck with a silly damn Ford when the car on which it's based is better AND SAFER?

      Fords have long been, still are, and will continue to be pure crap.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #16 "I am sure that revisions will be made by Hyundai to ensure it receives a perfect mark for side impact next time. Keep in mind it rec'd 5 -Stars from NHSTA for front and side impact when tested by them."
      They didn't care about the 8 years before.

      Yet they didn't care about the seat belt design flaw that should have been recalled earlier. These tests are more about airbags or forcing makers to put them in.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Maybe I'm imagining it ... but why do those testers always test the Japanese cars WITH the OPTIONAL side curtain bags (Accord and Camry) and they seem to never test the Domestic vehicles with the side curtain bags. It makes a huge difference.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Pretty much all of the mid-sized family sedans tested by IIHS scored "Poor" on the side impact test without the side-airbags (including the 03-04 Honda Accord). So the fact that the Fusion scored a "Poor" as well on the side impact test without the side airbags shouldn't be a shock (I am a firm believer that side airbags should be standard on EVERY car). What is disconcerting to me is the offset frontal collision. This car should do better than that and hopefully Ford will correct it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #7 - Why single out the Infiniti? I frankly was more surprised at the Acura TSX, given that it's a newer platform and costs essentially the same money. Plus, at least the G35 is fun to drive.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The reason the cars are tested with optional airbags is that the manufacturer reimburses IIHS for the car. IIHS' policy is to buy the lowest end car, without any optional safety equipment. Hence they tested the Jetta VE and base Subaru Legacy (Silver and Gold winners, BTW). If the manufacturer pays for it, they will test the car with side airbags. Honda did, Ford didn't, at least not yet. It's right on their website.
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