Ford Escape Performs Poorly In Crash Test And Side Curtain Airbags Failed To Deploy

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released its ratings for several small crossovers.

According to the organization, the BMW X1, Chevrolet Equinox, GMC Terrain, Jeep Compass and Mitsubishi Outlander all earned good ratings in the passenger side small overlap front test. While all of the models received a good rating, the X1 and Outlander performed slightly better as they both received good ratings for “passenger injury measures” while the Compass, Equinox and Terrain only received an acceptable rating for “lower leg & foot” injuries.

Unfortunately, there’s where the good news ends as the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport earned a marginal rating and the Ford Escape was rated poor. The IIHS said both crossovers allowed too much intrusion into the passenger compartment and both models had side curtain airbags that failed to deploy. The latter issue caught the organization by surprise as senior research engineer Becky Mueller said “That’s not something we expect to see after so many years of crash testing.”

As you can see in the footage, the Escape performed poorly in the test and the IIHS says “Intrusion measured 10 inches (25.4 cm) at the upper door-hinge pillar, compared with 5 inches (12.7 cm) in the driver side test.” The passenger side door sill was pushed 4 inches (10.1 cm) laterally and readings from the crash dummy suggest a front seat passenger could have received hip injuries if this was a real-world crash.

While it sounds odd that the driver side would perform better than the passenger side, the IIHS says Ford reinforced the structure on 2017 and later Escape models to improve occupant protection on the driver’s side. However, they didn’t make the same changes to the passenger side.

Mueller says decisions such as this are one of the reasons why the IIHS began conducting the passenger side small overlap front test. As she explained, “Manufacturers shouldn’t shortchange protection for front-seat passengers.”

  • Dariush

    Jokes about the name “escape” in 3…2…1 .

    • LeStori

      Ford Wife Killer…

      • Benjamin B.

        Because the passenger’s side performed poorly (Ford reinforced the driver’s side) I suspect the Escape may attract more married men.

        • rover10

          Very funny, but this is not acceptable Ford! The non deployable side curtain has the makings of another motoring scandal!

    • Dr Strangefingger

      Maybe sales will tank and they’ll be forced to replace this awful looking SUV with something, anything, more capable and easier on the eyes.

      • Benjamin B.

        Driver’s side is reinforced. Passenger’s side wasn’t. Ford will change this before the next generation. The Mk IV Focus will be unveiled soon.

      • brn

        Awful looking? It looks like every other small SUV on the market.

    • Shobin Drogan

      I guess the victims of this car wont be able to…escape from their injuries.

    • Bob

      Pictured: how to escape a terrible marriage.

  • LeStori

    Ford advertise it as perfect for weekend adventures. Being killed will certainly make your weekend more exciting.

    Ford trying to compete with the Chinese… ?


    Cutting corners Ford?

  • Status

    The Mitsubishi Outlander in the video looked worse than the Ford.

    • Benjamin B.

      That was an Outlander Sport. And the driver’s side of the Escape is fine.

    • Eythan Aldrich

      you’ve picked the wrong outlander fool….

      • Status

        You assume there’s a right Outlander. A Mitsubishi is always wrong.

  • Raul

    I still don’t understand why Americans still buy these american cars especially ford. These american cars are very unreliable.

    • willhaven


    • Marty

      You mean “these German cars are very unreliable”? I was under the impression that this car was designed by Ford Europe.

      • Raul

        And it was manufacture by the american products.

    • brn

      I smell a troll.

      • Raul

        don’t tell me you’re referring to me as one or you just don’t know the meaning of trolling is?

  • pcurve

    yikes… crumpled like a BYD from 2003.

  • Hello Moto ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    There should be a “stop sale” order on these.

    • brn

      The less safe version (2017) received four stars last year. In Europe, it received five stars. Hardly “stop sale” worthy.

      • Hello Moto ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        I think that airbags not deploying correctly is grounds for a recall.

        • brn

          That makes more sense. An investigation is definitely needed on the failure to deploy and a recall may be necessary.

  • S3XY

    My Smart Electric would hold up better than that.

  • Kagan


  • Vassilis

    This is the same as the Kuga in Europe, right? Which my dad bought a few months ago…

    • fabri99

      Well, Escape then!
      Jokes aside, it is, but I reckon the Kuga has been modified to meet EuroNCAP standards.

  • Abdul Khan

    I guess the passengers would never be able to escape their death. Thanks to Ford!

    On a serious note, Ford, Chevy, GM are pricier and more unsafe, prone to breakdown than their counterparts Honda, Toyota and Nissan.

    • brn

      Chevy is GM. They are not pricier. “More unsafe” is bad English. Prone to breakdown is a myth. Nissan is garbage.

      • Abdul Khan

        Work for the North American brands much bud? Garbage are your feelings and resentment to my comments.You have facts staring you in your face yet you are in your denial.

  • salamOOn

    omg is it 2005 or 2018?

  • Subi-Rubicon1

    I wonder if the Lincoln version of the Escape faces the same problem?

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