DEARBORN, MI – The 2009 Ford Flex has earned five-star frontal- and side-impact crashworthiness ratings, the highest possible scores, in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tests. The results for Ford's newest full-size crossover include class-leading four-star rollover ratings for both the front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions.
Flex has a full array of standard safety equipment, including dual front airbags, headliner mounted side curtain airbags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, Ford-exclusive AdvanceTrac with RSC (Roll Stability Control), and tire pressure monitoring system.
Flex gets some of its core strength from the use of lightweight aluminum-coated boron steel in the body structure. The use of high-strength steel in the B-pillars is only part of the Flex's robust safety profile. Ford engineers also located the side door intrusion beams to help manage and absorb energy during side impact crashes.
"Flex safety is built on a solid foundation — the platform of the 5-star rated Ford Taurus and Taurus X," said Gary Boes, Flex chief engineer.
NHTSA's frontal collision ratings are determined by placing crash-test dummies in the driver's seat and front-passenger seat and securing them with the vehicle's safety belts. Vehicles are then crashed into a fixed barrier at 35 mph, which is equivalent to a head-on collision between two similar vehicles that are moving at 35 mph. The 5-star rating attained by Flex indicates a 10 percent or less chance of serious injury to a belted occupant in the front seat.
Side-impact crash testing represents an intersection-type collision with a 3,015 pound barrier moving at 38.5 mph into the Flex, with crash test dummies buckled into the driver and rear passenger seats. Flex's five-star rating, the highest possible, indicates a 5 percent or less chance of serious injury.
Flex also can help drivers avoid problems on the road. The new SIRIUS Travel Link feature, praised for helping motorists find the cheapest gas, also can help route them around congested, potentially dangerous conditions using the vehicle's navigation system with real-time traffic information, available in select markets.
SYNC, Ford's hands-free connectivity system for Bluetooth-enabled phones and digital music players, helps drivers keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel to reduce distractions.