When you look at the big picture, it’s hard to miss the reasoning behind the two-star NCAP rating

Last month we covered the story about how the 2017 Ford Mustang miserably failed Euro NCAP testing, earning the worst rating out of the 15 recently tested vehicles: two out of five stars. It did worse than a number of models, including models like the Hyundai Ioniq, Audi Q2, and even the SsangYong Tivoli. It’s a bit surprising, but testing showed that there is a high chance for upper-body injury and head injury for rear passengers during frontal crashes and a high possibility of whiplash for rear passengers in side-impact testing. Front passengers are also at risk of injury thanks to those airbags that don’t inflate properly. Meanwhile, a similar U.S.-Spec model performed fairly well during IIHS testing, with “Good” ratings for Moderate overlap, side impact, roof strength, head restraints, and seats, to go with an acceptable rating for small overlap testing. So, what separates the U.S.-spec and Euro-spec models? A serious lack of equipment and it proves that the blue oval has its sights on something other than safety.

The two-star NCAP rating can be blamed on the lack of safety equipment for rear passengers, semi-autonomous safety technology, and the fact that the front airbags that didn’t deploy properly. See, the Euro-spec model doesn’t get things like a forward-collision warning system or other safety features like lane-keep assist or pre-collision assist – all things that are standard or available on U.S.-spec models. There are no rear seatbelt pretensioners or load limiters which means lots of body movement for rear passengers in the unfortunate event of an accident. One child test dummy was even found to have slid under the seatbelt during a full-width frontal test while the other smacked his head on the interior trim.

So far, Ford has remained largely silent on the issue but, according to NCAP, has said that orders placed after May 2017 will be for the facelifted 2018 model that will include pre-collision assist with pedestrian protection, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, and a lane-keeping aid. It’s great that Ford wants to rectify the situation with the facelifted model, but what does the failed testing of the current model really mean?

Keep reading to connect the dots that led to this failed safety test

It’s About Money

Ford Mustang's Failed NCAP Testing Proves Safety Comes Second
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At the end of the day, automakers – like any other company – are here to make money. But, every single automaker likes to shine a light on their commitment to the safety of all passengers. Then, two different markets put a vehicle through testing – in this case, the Ford Mustang – and it’s found that one market has a much safer model. Well, folks, it boils down to profit, and these tests are proof that Ford is more interested in making some extra money than it is keeping everyone safe. The U.S. Spec model comes with all of the safety equipment that the Euro-spec model was lacking, but European customers got the short end of the stick. And, to make matters worse, European customers are forced to pay significantly more for a Mustang that isn’t nearly as safe.

Here in the U.S., and at the time of this writing, the 2017 EcoBoost Mustang starts out at $26,195. Meanwhile, over in the U.K., that same Mustang (minus the safety equipment, obviously) starts out at £32,345. Sounds like a big difference, right? Well, it’s a bigger difference than you might think. At current exchange rates (as of 2/2/2017) that computes to a staggering $40,550. So, at the time of this writing, European customers are paying $14,355 more than U.S. customers for a car that falls inferior in the safety department.

What Now?

As I’ve mentioned already, Ford has already told NCAP that it will provide more safety equipment for the updated model, but isn’t that too little, too late? Why didn’t Ford just include the safety equipment to begin with? It certainly should have, but it didn’t, and that – along with the insanely high price of the Euro-spec model – goes to show that Ford isn’t quite as interested in safety as it should be. Otherwise, it wouldn’t need to be called out by NCAP in order to bring up its safety standards in the Euro market. At this point, you obviously want to wait until May when the 2018 order books open if you’re a European customer and have the desire to own a Mustang, but maybe it would be best to wait until NCAP can but that model through the paces so that you know for sure that Ford has kept its word to NCAP.


Ford Mustang's Failed NCAP Testing Proves Safety Comes Second
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First off, I want to point out that the Mustang is currently produced in Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly plant in Michigan. So, a higher price for the Mustang in a market where it is imported should be expected. But, can the cost of shipping the Mustang – which is done in bulk – really be high enough to justify an increase of $14,550 on the entry-level price of the iconic pony car? I don’t know the details behind the logistics of it all, and I won’t pretend to, but that seems a little steep even when you consider the market demand and competition. Outside of the necessary changes to make the Stang right-hand drive, there are only subtle differences between the two models – the Euro-spec models even use the same shift pattern, have the same parking brake location, and use the same instrument cluster with the tach on the left and the speedo on the right. Sure, there are different headlight lenses, larger mirrors, and a different final-drive ratio, which all resulted in additional cost, but all things considered, Ford should have included the same safety equipment as that of the U.S. model if it was really committed to providing the safest vehicle possible.

On a side note, I have tried to reach out to Ford for a statement regarding its decision to exclude the aforementioned safety equipment, but have yet to hear back. If they do get back with us, I will update this article accordingly. Until then, what do you think of the points I’ve made here? Is there something I’ve missed or am I being too critical of the brand? Feed me your thoughts in the comments section below, and we’ll talk a little more about it.

Current Drivetrain Specifications

Type 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V6 2.3-liter EcoBoost I4 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8
Configuration Aluminum block and heads Aluminum block and head Aluminum block and heads
Intake manifold Composite shell-welded with runner pack Composite shell-welded with runner pack Composite shell-welded with runner pack and charge motion control valves
Exhaust manifold Cast iron Three-port integrated into aluminum head Stainless steel tubular headers
Valvetrain DOHC, four valves per cylinder, twin independent variable camshaft timing DOHC, four valves per cylinder, twin independent variable camshaft timing DOHC, four valves per cylinder, twin independent variable camshaft timing
Bore x stroke 3.76 x 3.41 in./ 95.5 x 86.7 mm 3.45 x 3.7 in./ 87.55 x 94 mm 3.63 x 3.65 in./ 92.2 x 92.7 mm
Displacement 227 cu. in./3,727 cc 140 cu. in./2,300 cc 302 cu. in./4,951 cc
Compression ratio 10.5:1 9.5:1 11.0:1
Horsepower 300 HP @ 6,500 RPM 310 HP @ 5,500 RPM 435 HP @ 6,500 RPM
Torque 280 LB-FT @ 4,000 rpm 320 LB-FT @ 2,500-4,500 rpm 400 LB-FT @ 4,250 RPM

Read our full review on the Ford Mustang here.

Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert - robert@topsped.com
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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