Structural changes boost small overlap front protection in Ford Escape

August 2, 2016

The Ford Escape has improved from a poor to acceptable rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's challenging small overlap front test, thanks to structural changes to the 2017 model.

When the 2013 Escape was tested for small overlap protection, the structure didn't hold up well. Intrusion into the driver’s space reached 10 inches at the upper door hinge pillar. The dummy's head barely contacted the frontal airbag before sliding off to the left, as the steering column moved right. The side curtain airbag lacked sufficient forward coverage to protect the head. Measures taken from the dummy showed injuries to the left hip would be likely and lower leg injuries would be possible.

Although the small SUV hasn't been redesigned since that first test, Ford reinforced the driver door hinge pillar for 2017 and modified the front-end structure to improve small overlap protection.

In the small overlap test of the new model, maximum intrusion was reduced to 5 inches at the upper door hinge pillar. The side curtain airbag had sufficient forward coverage to protect the head. The dummy's head hit the frontal airbag, though it began to slide off because the safety belt allowed the dummy to move too far forward. Measures taken from the dummy indicated a low risk of injuries.

Introduced in 2012, the small overlap front test replicates what happens when the front, driver-side corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole.

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