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Ford of Europe on Wednesday said its new Kuga compact crossover has achieved the best combination of crash test star ratings, placing the car at the top of the Euro NCAP small off-road 4×4 (SUV) group.

The Kuga scored the the maximum five stars for adult occupant protection, four stars for child occupant protection and three stars for pedestrian protection.

Ford of Europe product development chief Joe Bakaj said: “The tests performed by Euro NCAP are further validation of our own rigorous testing procedures and internal results.”

The Kuga has Ford’s intelligent protection system (IPS), combining a body structure optimised for strength and crashworthiness with restraint equipment, plus driver aids that maintain control of the car and features that lessen the likelihood of injuries in an impact.

The model uses of high strength steels (HSS) for a very rigid, yet lightweight passenger safety cell, which provides good frontal and side impact protection. The integrity of the passenger cell is further safeguarded by the use of dual phase steel in key areas, without compromising performance and fuel economy by additional weight gain.

The front axle subframe system is designed to decouple from the body structure in the event of a frontal impact. The Kuga had a 100 per cent test result in the Euro NCAP side impact test and the rigid passenger cell of the Kuga was remarked upon positively by the testing panel.

The high pedestrian protection rating of three stars  was, Ford said, due to the use of soft bumper material, a special energy absorber between the bumper and the front panel and radiator, breakaway headlights, front wings manufactured from recycled plastic and a carefully shaped bonnet edge structure. Parts located within the potential impact zone have carefully engineered features such as ‘breakaway’ wiper spindles and ‘collapsible’ bonnet hinges.

The automaker noted that the Kuga interior had also undergone independent assessment by the German TÜV Rheinland Group and been accredited with their ‘allergy tested interior’ seal of approval, the seventh Ford of Europe model to be certified. Ford cars were  the first to pass these stringent standards.