As performance enthusiasts, we tend to focus on features like horsepower ratings, suspension setups, and acceleration figures. Meanwhile, the rest of the world tends to obsess over fuel economy, cargo spaces, and most importantly of all, safety features. That’s not to say that performance enthusiasts don’t concern themselves with airbags and crash test ratings, it’s just not the first thing that comes to mind when scoping out an S550 Mustang.
Thankfully for you Ford fans, the Blue Oval made the Mustang the safest of the American muscle car/sporty coupe trio, narrowly edging out both the Camaro and Challenger in the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s (IIHS) most recent crash tests.
The Mustang got good ratings in every crash test, save for the front overlap test, shown here.
This is the first time the IIHS has compared all three cars in such a test, as the sports car market is tiny in the grand scheme of things. Although none of the trio earned the coveted Top Safety Pick award, the 2016 Mustang came closest. “The Mustang is just one good rating away from earning Top Safety Pick,” says IIHS President Adrian Lund. “Its small overlap rating holds it back.” To earn the top rating, a car must have a score of good in all five testing categories, but the Mustang only earned an acceptable rating in the front overlap test. The Camaro’s kryptonite was the roof strength test, where it received an acceptable rating.
The 2016 Camaro received a good rating in the front overlap test, but lacks a forward collision avoidance (i.e. automatic braking) system that is also required for a Top Safety Pick award. The Challenger received a marginal rating, no doubt due in part to its LX platform being more than a decade old at this point. According to Lund, engineers had to unbolt a crash test dummy’s leg to remove it from the Challenger after the front overlap test, something that would bode much worse for a flesh-and-blood occupant. The Challenger does, however, have a forward collision avoidance system.
But it’s the Mustang that comes away with the win, and Ford’s engineers who we hope might be reading this are probably already thinking up ways to make the Mustang even safer.