The Ford EcoSport was discontinued nearly two years ago, a move that corresponded with The Blue Oval’s decision to shutter its manufacturing operations in India and end production at the Chennai Assembly plant. However, the proverbial writing on the wall had been quite clear for some time, as the EcoSport routinely ranked near the bottom of consumer surveys in terms of overall satisfaction, and sales languished after the crossover had been on the market for a while. Now, Ford EcoSport owners have a bit more bad news to digest, as that particular model ranked as the third deadliest in the U.S. over the past few years, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
IIHS recently released its list of the 2020 model year vehicles with the highest driver death rates, something that it’s been calculating every three years since 1989. This latest report is based on fatalities that occurred from 2018 to 2021 in 2020 model year vehicles, as well as earlier models with the same designs and features, which means that this data also applies to vehicles that didn’t undergo any major changes dating back to 2017. To make the “cut,” a vehicle must have had at least 100,000 registered vehicle years of exposure from 2018 to 2021, or at least 20 deaths.
For the 2020 model year, the average driver death rate came in at 38 deaths per million registered vehicle years, which is an increase of two versus the 2017 model year – which coincides with a rise in overall traffic fatalities. However, small cars had the highest death rates at 153 per million registered vehicles, while large luxury cars had the lowest at just four. The Ford EcoSport ranked third in terms of individual models with a death rate of 84, trailing only the Chevy Impala and Kia Optima, both of which had an average death rate of 80. However, the list was also dominated by muscle cars like the Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger.
“We typically find that smaller vehicles have high driver death rates because they don’t provide as much protection, especially in crashes with larger, heavier SUVs and pickups,” said IIHS President David Harkey. “The muscle cars on this list highlight that a vehicle’s image and how it is marketed can also contribute to crash risk.”