Ford Bronco Doesn’t Ace Safety Tests


While the full-size Bronco might be one of the hottest games in town, its performance in some key safety measures failed to wholly impress the IIHS crash test dummies. Their major beefs? Headlights and whiplash.

This is not to say the Bronco is an unsafe vehicle or that it flies apart at the seams like in the zero-star performances of some machines from overseas. In fact, it garnered top marks in a number of areas, including the notoriously tough small overlap front crash tests on both the passenger and driver sides. That’s the exam meant to simulate sailing headfirst into a solid wall or low barrier, making contact with the immovable object in the car’s headlight area. The only place in which the IIHS noted any issue here was when one of the dummies appeared to suffer an injured ankle thanks to a dead pedal which ended up at a wonky angle after the crash test.

But it was those big round peepers which caused some consternation, earning the Bronco just a ‘marginal’ overall rating. The IIHS testers said on a simulated straightaway, visibility was fair on both sides of the road. On curves, however, visibility was deemed to be inadequate in all tests. That quartet of exams includes 250m and 150m radius curves in both left and right directions if you’re wondering and you probably weren’t.

It’s worth noting the Base trim and the Big Bend without an extra-cost lighting package have even dimmer headlamps thanks to their less expensive illumination systems. IIHS tests high beams as well, of course, finding them to offer good, visibility on the right side of the road and fair on the left side when measured on a straightaway stretch of tarmac. On curves, visibility was fair on the gradual right and both left curves but inadequate on the sharp right curve. As you’d expect, high-beam assist compensates for some limitations of this vehicle’s low beams on the straightaway and all 4 curves. Thank you, Captain Obvious.

As for the result in a head restraint and seat test, the IIHS is said to be looking for a number of results in that assessment. Good geometry is essential for an effective head restraint, they say, going on to explain that if a head restraint isn’t behind and close to the back of an occupant’s head, it can’t prevent whiplash in a rear-end collision. This is why it’s important to properly adjust the things when getting behind the wheel of a car and not simply leave them where Aunt Doris had them while driving to church. Bronco scored ‘acceptable’ here, thanks to the neck of a test dummy which was found to have been subjected to a moderate force in a simulated rear-end crash.

Still, the 4-door midsize SUV did earn a “good” rating (the highest possible) in five out of six crashworthiness tests. Sure beats those zero-star econoboxes in other markets.

[Image: Ford]

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