Ford Authority

2020 Ford Explorer And Lincoln Aviator Miss Top IIHS Awards: Video

The 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Lincoln Aviator have both fought trouble at launch with quality. The 2020 Ford Explorer and the Aviator certainly hoped to follow in the footsteps of the smaller brethren, the Ford Edge and Lincoln Corsair, and land the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick award for the new models. Alas, neither of the Explorer or the Aviator were given that honor.

The IIHS says that the redesigned 2020 Explorer and Aviator SUVs offer better protection in the driver-side small overlap test than past models. However, IIHS says that neither of the vehicles has improved enough to qualify for a 2019 safety award. While the IIHS only tested the 2020 Ford Explorer, it points out that the test results apply to the Aviator as well.

IIHS says that in the driver-side small overlap test of the Explorer, the structure held up well overall, cited as an improvement over the severe intrusion seen in the last generation Explorer. However, there was enough intrusion into the footwell to elevate the risk of injury to the driver’s left leg. The result was an acceptable rating for the test.

To score the coveted Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award, the 2020 Explorer needed a good rating on that test. The two models did earn good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. Neither model was evaluated in the passenger-side small overlap crash test. Ford has stated that it expected the 2020 Explorer to earn a good rating in the driver-side small overlap test and said it would investigate why the vehicle didn’t perform as expected.

The IIHS notes that Ford plans to implement changes to improve the performance in a later test. Explorers built after June 2019 have an acceptable headlight rating. The base Aviator headlights use static LED reflectors and rate marginal with the available curve-adapting headlights earning a good rating.

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Source: IIHS

Shane is a car guy with a fondness for Mustangs and off-roading.

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  1. CrabbyMilton

    They’re lemons anyway so gee, what a shock they they’re aren’t winning too many awards. 🙂

  2. trailhiker

    Seems like the new Explorer is getting media coverage for all the wrong reasons.
    I’m sure they will sort out this issue quickly, and the build quality should resolve itself soon.
    The sad thing is they lost me from the start with front end and interior design.

    I’m hoping a redesigned Edge will mark a new start to Ford’s design language, as I do not like the direction Explorer or Escape have gone.

  3. CrabbyMilton

    The looks don’t bother me and the longer wheelbase is a plus for better ride. I’m put off by the standard 4 popper and having to pay tons of money more for a V6. Those are my own hang ups and a separate issue. Yes, they really need to get their stuff together at FORD. They were doing great but then they started having quality problems.
    Optimism then sudden collapse.

  4. Constance A. Pieszchala

    As a purchaser of Ford Broncos and Explorers (Limited Editions) for over 30 years, I had nothing but the highest regard for Ford products. I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 2020 ST edition, which was supposed to be a complete revamp. What a disappointment when I first viewed the vehicle! The front grille looks similar to that of the 2019, and the grilles of half the vehicles presently on the road. The placement of the control center screen looks like an aftermarket addition. The reports of the issues needing replacement due to error or poor quality seem to be unending. I am about to place my order for a 2020 Dodge Durango SRT for spring arrival. Ford: You goofed up, BIG TIME!

    1. CrabbyMilton

      I have 6 cars in my 55 years of life with the last 4 being FORD products. Plus most of my company issued work van have been FORD’s too. I love my current car which is a ’04 MERCURY GRAND MARQUIS that still love as much as I did when I took proud delivery of it just about 16 years ago. It may not be as pretty as it was back then but that engine still runs like a Swiss watch. Without a doubt, the most reliable trouble free car I ever had and at 182k, it shows no sign of crapping out anytime soon. Given all of the bad reports thru out the whole FORD and LINCOLN lines, I would be open to all builders as a replacement. The CHRYSLER 300 and TOYOTA AVALON are my top sedan choices in the under 35k range and the CONTINENTAL is still my dream but starting at 46k is a bit much right now. So bottom line, don’t let old loyalty bother you too much when there may be better alternatives out there.

  5. Mike

    To earn a top safety pick these days you have to have $10,000 in extra crap. No wonder cars are so expensive. The problem is when Ford put those headlights that turn in the Lincoln they screwed the ratings for their other cars, and on and on it goes. Soon if the car doesn’t sense an accident coming 5 miles ahead, it won’t get a good rating.


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