Continuing in a series of IIHS Top Safety Pick ratings, the 2010 Ford Taurus and Ford Focus Coupe have both earned this top rating. The Taurus features an advanced crash safety structure and a suite of standard restraint and air bag technologies, while the Focus is loaded with safety technologies – including six advanced air bags, stability control, and lightweight, high-strength materials.
Ford Taurus Safety Story
The new 2010 Taurus earned a Top Safety Pick based in part on a comprehensive package of crash-protection features, including dual-stage driver and front passenger air bags, side-impact air bags and Safety Canopy® – a Ford exclusive protection system featuring side curtain air bags that help protect front and rear outboard passengers in both rollover and side-impact crashes.
The new Taurus’ state-of-the-art side air bag systems use pressure pulses from a side impact and are designed to deploy up to 30 percent earlier than a traditional air bag system that uses acceleration-based sensors. Pressure-based sensors help predict crash forces before the full impact occurs and more accurately measure crash severity to better differentiate between a potentially dangerous air bag-deployable crash and common, relatively harmless daily abuse that would not require air bag protection.
Key safety features include:
· Side Protection And Cabin Enhancement (SPACE®) Architecture is comprised of a hydroformed cross-car beam embedded in the floor between the door frames, providing additional strength in the side of the vehicle. In the event of a side impact, the beam helps divert crash forces away from the occupants. A strong roof crossmember and side-impact door beams work with the floor-mounted tube to further enhance side-impact protection. Ultra-high-strength boron steel has been added to the B-pillar as well.
· Trinity Front Crash Architecture is a body structure optimized for strength and stiffness. The energy-absorbing structure features octagonal front frame rails, engine cradle/front subframe and “shotgun” front structural members designed to absorb and redirect crash forces away from the passenger compartment.
· Personal Safety System™ is designed to help reduce the risk of injury to the driver and front seat passenger in the event of a moderate to severe frontal collision. Sensors note right front occupant weight, safety belt usage, outboard seat belt tension and seating position to optimize air bag deployment force for occupant safety.
· AdvanceTrac® electronic stability control constantly monitors road conditions and the driver’s responses, using sensors to detect and measure oversteer and yaw, while continuously monitoring vehicle speed, throttle position and steering wheel angle. When the system senses a loss of wheel traction, engine torque is reduced and braking is applied in conjunction with the standard Anti-Lock Braking (ABS). The system also incorporates traction control to aid drivers when operating the vehicle on loose or slippery surfaces.
· SOS Post-Crash Alert System™ is an integrated technology that automatically unlocks the doors and activates the emergency flashers in the event of air bag deployment.
More driver-aid and safety technologies
Tech-savvy customers will find plenty to like about the new 2010 Taurus. Its technologies enable customer connectivity, while fulfilling desires for personalization, customization and control. This list of driver-aid and safety features isn’t just technology for the sake of technology. These offerings have been selected and developed to provide the ultimate in comfort and convenience for the driver and all passengers:
· Adaptive Cruise Control allows the driver to set the vehicle cruising speed while using radar technology to monitor traffic traveling up to 600 feet ahead, automatically adjusting Taurus speed to help maintain a safe distance between vehicles.
· Collision Warning with Brake Support is a new active feature, enabled by Adaptive Cruise Control. This system uses a radar sensor to detect moving vehicles ahead and provides a visual “heads-up” warning signal transmitted across the base of the windshield and an audible warning when slower-moving traffic is detected ahead. The system also pre-charges the brakes and engages electronic brake assist to help the driver stop more quickly.
· SecuriCode™ Keyless Entry Keypad enables vehicle access by unlocking the driver’s door using a five-digit code on the new keypad system flush-mounted in the driver’s side B-pillar.
· MyKey™ allows parents or fleet administrators to activate a restricted driving mode. When enabled, MyKey features a Persistent Belt-Minder® with Audio Mute until safety belts are buckled, an earlier low-fuel warning and engaged AdvanceTrac® stability control, Blind Spot monitoring, Cross Traffic Alert and Forward Collision Warning. Additional programmability includes restrictions on audio volume, limiting top speed to 80 mph and speed chime warnings at 45, 55 or 65 mph.
· Auto High Beams/Rain-Sensing Wipers harness sensor technologies to switch headlights to high intensity when no other vehicles are detected, in a range of up to 500 feet for taillight detection and up to 2,000 feet for oncoming headlight detection. Rain-sensing wipers use an advanced optical sensor to detect the intensity of rain and/or snowfall to adjust wiper speed.
· Blind Spot Information System (BLIS®) consists of two multiple beam radar modules, one each per rear quarter panel. When the sensors detect an approaching vehicle entering the defined blind spot zone, an indicator alert provides warning to the driver in the corresponding side-view mirror.
· Cross Traffic Alert uses the existing BLIS radar modules to sense oncoming traffic when slowly backing out of a parking spot. This industry-exclusive system functions only while the vehicle is in reverse and warns when cross-traffic is detected within three car widths.
· Ford SYNC® is the fully integrated, in-vehicle voice-activated communications and entertainment system, with 911 Assist™, Vehicle Health Report and GPS-based features including business search and call completion. SYNC connects to MP3 players, iPods, memory sticks and PDAs. SYNC’s 911 Assist will place a call to a local emergency operator in the event of air bag deployment when a cell phone is properly paired, turned on and connected to SYNC, and the vehicle has battery power. The latest version of SYNC adds Traffic, Directions & Information, providing turn-by-turn route guidance and the ability to access content by personalized favorites such as region, subject matter or sports team.
· Voice-Activated Navigation System with SIRIUS® Travel Link™ uses an eight-inch screen to present a bird’s-eye-view map with 3D landmarks. The system responds to voice commands for destination programming and route selection. In addition, it provides enhanced route guidance features such as street name announcements and detailed freeway exit, turn and ramp position lane guidance. The screen can be personalized with up to 32 pictures, sized up to 1.5 MB each. The system also incorporates the SIRIUS Travel Link, offering availability of current weather and ski conditions, a five-day forecast, local fuel pricing by cost per gallon and brand, sports scores and movie listings.
Ford Focus Safety Story
The 2009 Focus uses high strength steel throughout its structure, is loaded with six standard airbags – including side curtains and seat-mounted air bags – and comes with new front seats designed to perform well in dynamic rear impact collisions.
The Focus’ front seats are designed to help reduce the risk of soft tissue neck injuries, commonly referred to as “whiplash,” by keeping the occupant in the proper position in the event of a rear collision. The head restraint and seatback work together to maintain the occupant’s alignment by supporting the head, neck and torso. This helps manage the crash forces and minimizes the chances of whiplash-type injuries.
Focus features Ford’s fully integrated, computer-driven Personal Safety System™, which employs nearly a dozen technologically advanced components. It analyzes different frontal crash conditions and deploys the appropriate occupant protection systems for the specific crash conditions.
A new option for 2009 is electronic stability control (ESC), which uses sophisticated sensors and the anti-lock braking system to help drivers maintain control of their vehicle under a variety of driving conditions.
Later this summer, Ford will begin rolling out its innovative MyKey technology, which is designed to help parents encourage their teen-agers to drive safer and more fuel efficiently, and increase safety-belt usage.
The feature will debut as standard equipment on the 2010 Ford Focus and will quickly become standard on many other Ford, Lincoln and Mercury models. It allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed and audio volume. MyKey also encourages safety-belt usage by muting the audio system until front occupants buckle up.
Also setting the Focus coupe apart from other small cars is Ford’s industry-exclusive SYNC® technology, which is standard equipment on the SES and SEL series and optional on the SE. Ford SYNC, introduced first on the 2008 Focus, is a fully integrated, voice-activated communications and entertainment system allowing customers to operate their Bluetooth®-enabled cell phones and digital media players with voice commands.
Recent Ford telematics research shows that Ford SYNC hands-free system significantly reduces the level of distraction when drivers select a phone number or choose a song on their MP3 player compared with the same operations with hand-held cell phones and music players. For example, reading a text message on a handheld phone typically took the driver’s eyes off the road for 11 seconds compared to about 2 seconds when listening to the text message with SYNC’s text-to-speech output.
Ford’s research is consistent with a prior Virginia Tech and the U.S. Department of Transportation study, which concluded that manually dialing a handheld device – a task that requires glancing away from the road – while driving was almost 2.8 times riskier than normal driving. However, the on-the-road study showed that talking/listening on a hands-free phone while driving was no riskier than normal driving.
Ford continues to build safety into small cars while leading industry efforts to make the bumper structures of larger vehicles such as crossovers, SUVs and pickups more crash compatible with the bumpers of smaller vehicles, including the 2009 Focus.
Ford was the first to market with crash structures to make passenger cars, such as the Focus, more compatible with SUVs. Product design revisions make both types of vehicles more resistant to damage and less likely to cause damage in low-speed crashes.