2020 Ford Explorer Misses On Top Safety Pick Award

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The same goes for the Lincoln Aviator.

The Ford Explorer is one of Ford's most important and popular models, but the launch of the all-new 2020 model hasn't gone well. Quality control issues have resulted in delays and recalls. Earning a safety award would have helped generate some good publicity for the new Explorer, which Ford desperately needs right now. The new Ford Explorer's safety was recently assessed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in a series of metal-crunching crash tests, but it's safe to say Ford was looking for more here.

The IIHS concluded that, while the redesigned 2020 Ford Explorer offers better protection in the driver-side small overlap front test compared to previous models, its safety hasn't improved enough to qualify for a 2019 Top Safety Pick award.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

In the driver-side small overlap test of the Explorer, the structure "held up well overall." In the same test, previous models suffered from "severe intrusion." However, the IIHS found "there was enough intrusion into the outboard part of the footwell" that could increase the risk of injury to the driver's left leg, resulting in an overall rating of 'acceptable'. To qualify for a 2019 Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards, a good rating in the driver-side small overlap crash test is required, so the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator were not eligible.

The two models were awarded 'good' ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. Neither model has been evaluated in the passenger-side small overlap crash test, however. The last-generation Explorer earned a 'poor rating' in this test

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Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

According to the IIHS, Ford expected the new Explorer to earn a 'good' rating in the driver-side small overlap test and said it will investigate why it failed to earn it. The automaker plans to implement changes to improve the SUV's performance for a future test.

As standard, both the 2020 Explorer and Aviator are equipped with a vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system that scored a 'superior' rating. An optional system was also rated 'superior'. Both systems prevented collisions in 12 and 25 mph tests. All Explorers built after June 2019 also earned an 'acceptable' headlight rating, whereas the Aviator's base LED headlights were rated 'marginal.' Upgrading to the Aviator's optional curve-adaptive headlights earned a 'good' rating.

2020 Ford Explorer Front View Driving Ford
2020 Ford Explorer Rear View Driving Ford
2020 Ford Explorer Front Angle View Ford

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