Click above for a high-res gallery of the Ford Flex.
Ford has made safety one of its top priorities, and its efforts have paid off. Not only does the Blue Oval have more five-star crash rated vehicles than any other automaker, but it's added another notch to its safety belt with NHTSA giving the Flex five stars for both front and side impact tests. A front crash impact score of five stars means that there is a 10% or less chance of serious injury at 35 mph, and the five star side impact score indicates a 5% chance of serious injury at 38.5 mph. The Flex comes standard with dual front air bags, headliner mounted side curtain air bags, traction and stability control, and tire pressure monitoring, which helps with NHTSA scoring. The Flex also received four stars for rollover protection, tying the CUV for best in class in the crossover segment.
With a Volvo-derived platform and plenty of heft, we're not surprised the Flex achieved a five-star score in NHTSA testing. Then again, it doesn't hurt that just about every automaker engineers all new cars and trucks specifically to score well on the Fed's tests. Hit the jump to view Ford's press release.
Related GalleryReview: 2009 Ford Flex
DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 5, 2008 - The 2009 Ford Flex has earned five-star frontal- and side-impact crashworthiness ratings, the highest possible scores, in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests.
The results for Ford's newest full-size crossover are better than the Toyota Highlander's and include class-leading four-star rollover ratings for both the front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions.
"The 5-star ratings for the Flex are evidence of Ford's overall safety commitment. In fact, we have produced more 5-star-rated vehicles than any other automaker," said Susan Cischke, Ford's senior vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering. "The Flex offers it all: a head-turning design, top safety ratings, unsurpassed highway fuel efficiency in its segment, power, spaciousness, comfort and great features."
Flex safety standard
Flex, which went on sale this summer, has a full array of standard safety equipment.
This includes dual front air bags, headliner mounted side curtain air bags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, Ford-exclusive AdvanceTrac® with RSC® (Roll Stability Control™) and tire pressure monitoring system.
Flex gets some of its core strength from the use of lightweight aluminum-coated boron steel - one of the strongest weld-able materials - in the body structure. The use of high-strength steel in the B-pillars is only part of the Flex's robust safety profile. Ford engineers also located the side door intrusion beams to help manage and absorb energy during side impact crashes.
"Flex safety is built on a solid foundation - the platform of the 5-star rated Ford Taurus and Taurus X," said Gary Boes, Flex chief engineer.
How the Crash Ratings Work
NHTSA's frontal collision ratings are determined by placing crash-test dummies in the driver's seat and front-passenger seat and securing them with the vehicle's safety belts. Vehicles are then crashed into a fixed barrier at 35 mph, which is equivalent to a head-on collision between two similar vehicles that are moving at 35 mph. The 5-star rating attained by Flex indicates a 10 percent or less chance of serious injury to a belted occupant in the front seat.
Side-impact crash testing represents an intersection-type collision with a 3,015 pound barrier moving at 38.5 mph into the Flex, with crash test dummies buckled into the driver and rear passenger seats. Flex's five-star rating, the highest possible, indicates a 5 percent or less chance of serious injury.
"Safety is a top purchase consideration, second only to fuel efficiency, so Flex's top safety ratings and highway fuel economy are a winning combination," said Catherine Pearce, Flex marketing manager.
Even More Technology Works in Customers' Favor
Flex also can help drivers avoid problems on the road.
The new SIRIUS® Travel Link™ feature, praised for helping motorists find the cheapest gas, also can help route them around congested, potentially dangerous conditions using the vehicle's navigation system with real-time traffic information, available in select markets.
SYNC®, Ford's hands-free connectivity system for Bluetooth-enabled phones and digital music players, helps drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel to reduce distractions.