The 2018 Ford Escape earned a “Poor” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in that group’s small-overlap passenger crash testing, owing to the structure’s observed intrusion into the front-seat passenger’s space. The compact crossover’s failure in the test is a bit puzzling given that Ford improved the structure on the drivers side when it updated the Escape for the 2017 model year; according to the IIHS, the small-overlap test caused 10 inches of intrusion at the upper portion of the A-pillar in passenger-side testing, versus just 5 inches in the driver-side test.
In the IIHS’s driver-side small-overlap test, the 2018 Ford Escape earned an “Acceptable” rating – one mark below a top rating of “Good”.
Not helping the 2018 Ford Escape’s case is that the side-curtain airbag somehow failed to deploy, which in the real world could contribute to injury as the front-seat passenger would have less protection against hitting their head on the structure or an outside object, the IIHS says. In testing, the front airbag provided some protection for the dummy, but its head rolled around the right side.
The IIHS’s small-overlap passenger crash safety test is relatively new, having been launched in 2017 after several years of conducting similar testing on only the driver side of new vehicles. Testing consists of sending a vehicle carrying front-seat dummies at a rigid barrier at 40 mph, with a 25-percent overlap between the barrier and the front of the vehicle. A “Good” rating is required in small-overlap passenger crash safety testing, and every other test of crashworthiness conducted by the IIHS, in order for a vehicle to qualify for the group’s coveted “Top Safety Pick” designation.