— The 2005 Ford Escape got the highest rating in side crash tests performed by the insurance industry when it was tested with its optional side air bags, according to results released on December 9.The 2005 Honda CR-V, which has standard side air bags, also got the highest rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, according to a report by the Associated Press. The Ford Escape got a ``poor,´´ the institute´s lowest rating, when it was tested without its side airbags. The side airbags are a $595 option on the vehicle, according to Ford´s Web site. The rating also applies to the Escape´s corporate twins, the Mercury Mariner and the Mazda Tribute, the institute said.The institute praised both the CR-V and the Escape for their improved side airbag systems. Honda Motor Co. added head-protecting side curtain air bags in 2005 models. The company also made torso-protecting side air bags standard. They had been optional on previous models. Ford Motor Co. added optional head-protecting side curtain air bags in its 2005 models, replacing a combination head-and-torso bag in previous models.In the institute´s side-impact crash test, a barrier representing the hood of a pickup or sport utility vehicle is crashed into the side of the test vehicle at 31 mph. Dummies are placed in the front and rear seats.The Toyota RAV4 with optional side air bags and the Subaru Forester, which has standard side air bags, are the only other small sport utility vehicles to get the institute´s highest rating among 2005 models. They were tested earlier because they weren´t redesigned for 2005.