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ANCAP hits 2018 Ford Mustang with three-star safety rating

Ford has adjusted the 2018 Mustang to include more advanced safety systems as standard. (International variant shown)

Ford’s 2018 Mustang muscle car has been awarded a three-star ANCAP safety rating, at last improving on the two-star result issued in January 2017.

The Mustang came under a heap of fire last year when ANCAP first published the two-star rating. And Ford has now adjusted the 2018 Mustang’s specification - albeit with a corresponding bump in pricing across the range - to include AEB, forward-collision warning, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist as standard.

The new standard features join dual front, front side, curtain and driver’s knee airbags (though there are no curtains on the convertible model), as well as a reversing camera, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise and auto high-beam headlights.

The changes have helped boost the Mustang’s safety assist score from 16 per cent to 61 per cent, and its pedestrian protection score from 64 per cent to 78 per cent - enough to lift its overall safety rating from two to three stars. The 2018 Mustang also scores 72 per cent in adult occupant protection and 32 per cent in child occupant protection. We should point out that ANCAP hasn’t actually re-crashed the Mustang, rather it has adjusted its existing score based on the new safety equipment.

The Mustang’s sales have been hurt exactly not at all by any ANCAP rating. (International variant shown) The Mustang’s sales have been hurt exactly not at all by any ANCAP rating. (International variant shown)

But it isn’t all sweetness and light for the Mustang from ANCAP officials, who delivered the 2018 version something of a tongue-lashing for falling “short of expectations”.

“Improvements have been made to the Mustang’s safety assist features, as well as tuning to restraint systems,” says ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin.

“Structurally…the revised Ford Mustang is identical to the Mustang we originally rated, meaning it still falls short of our expectations in the areas of Adult Occupant and Child Occupant Protection.

“The inclusions of driver assistance aids such as AEB and lane keep assist are a definite step in the right direction, yet these upgrades have neglected to address the injury risk posed to rear-seat occupants, as well as whiplash protection.”

Ford disagrees, with communications director Martin Gunsberg telling CarsGuide that the Mustang is a "safe car", and saying that safety ratings are tailored toward features required of family cars and SUVs, something he says has prevented the Mustang securing a higher score.

"The Mustang is a safe car. We are committed to continued improvement in vehicle safety and have taken action and updated several systems on the MY2018 model,” he says.

"The overall Euro NCAP and ANCAP rating is based on four pillars - Adult Occupant Protection, Child Occupant Protection, Pedestrian Protection and Safety Assist - with a very strong focus on family car and SUV safety characteristics and specific safety assist features, which are usually not part of the standard equipment of cars in the Mustang category.

"The MY2018 Mustang delivered a four-star result for Adult Occupant Protection, a five-star result in the Safety Assist pillar and a five-star result for Pedestrian Protection. However, a three-star result for Child Occupant Protection limited the overall result to a three-star rating. An important element of the Euro NCAP child safety rating includes elements such as ease of ingress and egress of the child seat, an area where two-door coupes traditionally have a disadvantage."

The Mustang’s sales have been hurt exactly not at all by any ANCAP rating, with the Pony brand shifting 2285 units so far in 2018 - dominating the sports car category. The new three-star rating applies to Fastback V8 and Ecoboost models built from 2017 onwards.

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