The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego Achieve Top NHTSA Crash-Test Rating

May 10, 2005

DEARBORN, MI — Ford Motor Co. announced on April 27 that the 2005 Ford Five Hundred and Mercury Montego have received NHTSA's top five-star crash-test rating for front- and side-impacts – the only 2005-model passenger cars tested to achieve this performance without optional side airbags. Five Hundred's safety engineering, which includes a structure with crush zones designed into impact areas, a collapsible steering column, a cross-car beam with "space architecture," a front bumper plate, and dual-stage front airbags, resulted in NHTSA's top crash-test rating. A two-row safety canopy side airbag system with rollover sensor is available and provides additional protection not only in certain side collisions, but in rollovers as well. Ford's new D3 car architecture, shared with the Ford Freestyle, Mercury Montego, and a forthcoming crossover vehicle from Mercury, offer a structure with crush zones designed into impact areas. Excess energy is transferred around the passenger compartment into a safety cage. A patent-pending new design tailors the steering column's collapse to the driver's size and safety-belt use for enhanced protection. Rear-impact performance is designed to meet proposed future federal crash standards. Side-impact protection comes from a combination of available airbag technology and structural features that safeguard occupants from intrusion by channeling crash energy away from the passenger compartment. A cross-car beam "space architecture" under the front seats reinforces the structure between the B-pillars, directing energy away from passengers. Frontal impact performance will meet the new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208, which requires the restraints system to automatically adjust to the size of the front-seat passenger. The airbag controller uses front passenger classification sensing to determine if the seat is occupied, and if so, whether the passenger is an adult, a child, or child in a child safety seat. Airbag deployment is tailored – or altogether suppressed – to provide the proper protection. The lower anchors and tethers for children, or LATCH system, provide mounting points for compatible child seats in the second row.
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