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Ford Explorer, Bronco Sport Earn IIHS Top Safety Pick+ Rating

Two Ford models, the Explorer and the Bronco Sport, have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest award rating, Top Safety Pick+.


If you follow car safety ratings closely, you probably know that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has its set of standards that vehicles have to meet to gain the agency's approval.

Independent Safety Ratings Are Strong

And there are other independent organizations that rate vehicle safety, such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The ratings of this organization have come to define safety over the last 20 years of their testing program.

For example, IIHS measures how a vehicle performs in six key areas. Those areas define how a vehicle honestly performs in the real world. The testing is comprehensive and measures things like the driver-side small-overlap front test, the moderate-overlap front test, the front, side, roof-strength, passenger-side small-overlap test, and head-restraint testing.

Though they have some esoteric-sounding titles, the tests measure vehicle performance under some of the most stressful vehicle crash conditions. Once the IIHS tests have measured a vehicle, you can be confident that it is safe. Indeed, you might think that if a vehicle has received an excellent rating from the IIHS that the testing program might not be all that rigorous. But, if you watch any of the videos available from the safety group, you know it is not the case. There isn't much left when the independent safety group completes its testing program for any model. About the only thing the vehicle is good for is recycling.

This is why it is news when a vehicle earns the group's highest rating, a Top Safety Pick+. It means that the vehicle has gone through the safety group's toughest safety tests and has emerged as a very safe vehicle.

IIHS Top Safety Rating

For 2022, the Ford Explorer and Ford Bronco Sport, both SUVs, have earned the group's Top Safety Pick+ award. A Top Safety Pick+ is the group's highest possible rating.

The tests include the driver- and passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, root strength, and head restraints.

To qualify for Top Safety Pick+ awards, vehicles must also be available with front crash prevention systems that earn advanced or superior ratings in the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations. Good or acceptable ratings for headlights must be standard on all models, regardless of trim level.

Five Other Ford Vehicles Win Top Safety Awards

Five other Ford vehicles earned IIHS Top Safety Pick awards. Those vehicles include:

  • The Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • The Ford Edge, an SUV
  • The Ford Escape, a crossover
  • The Ford F-150 crew cab pickup
  • The Ford F-150 extended cab pickup

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.