Ford Fiesta minicar earns IIHS Top Safety Pick status

Here’s some very good news for Ford: Its small, hip 2011 Fiesta minicar has won Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That’s a big deal any time, but especially when you’re trying to hawk a small car.

The ratings of “good” in all the crash tests were given to the Fiesta sedan and hatchback. Ford says now it has more Top Safety Picks than any other automaker, with eight vehicles getting the top designation.

Ford credits Fiesta’s extensive use of high-strength steels, a front crash structure and the most air bags in its segment helped the car perform well in IIHS testing. It even has a driver’s knee air bag. Fiesta’s energy-absorbing body structure is optimized for strength and stiffness and designed to absorb and redirect crash forces away from the passenger compartment. It didn’t hurt that electronic stabllity control is standard.

“Fiesta is proof that a small car can deliver big safety,” said Sue Cischke, Ford’s group vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering. “Fiesta combines rigidity and more air bags ā€“ smartly deployed ā€“ than its competition, as well as standard stability control.”

More than half of Fiesta’s body structure uses these high-strength or ultrahigh-strength steels in the floor structure, front rails, beams and in the ultrarigid, integrated body reinforcement ring designed to help better protect occupants in side impacts.

The air bags don’t just explosively inflate. The car has Passenger Occupant Detection System (PODS) sensors that determine occupant weight and seat belt status to optimize deployment force.


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