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]