The Kuga, which Ford calls a compact crossover, but which EuroNCAP places in its small off-road 4x4 class has scored a maximum five stars for adult occupant protection, four stars for child occupant protection and three stars for pedestrian protection.
That last star for the pedestrians means it’s pipped the just released Volkswagen Tiguan from the top spot in the class.
"The Ford Kuga joins a portfolio of cars that is recognised for high safety standards and performance," said Joe Bakaj, Vice President, Global Product Programs, Ford Motor Company and Vice President, Product Development, Ford of Europe.
"The tests performed by Euro NCAP are further validation of our own rigorous testing procedures and internal results and convey a compelling message to Kuga customers from a highly respected and impartial organisation."
Ford says high safety targets were a priority for the Kuga development and engineering teams.
And the company says the basis for the Kuga's safety is Ford's Intelligent Protection System (IPS), combining a body structure optimised for strength and crashworthiness with state-of-the-art restraint equipment, plus driver aids that maintain control of the car and features that lessen the likelihood of injuries in an impact.
Ford's comprehensive IPS for the Kuga includes a total of six airbags, including front and side airbags for front seat occupants plus head and shoulder curtain airbags covering the first and second rows of seats, supplemented by the use of anti-submarining seats with height adjustable headrests for all passengers.
In addition front seats are also equipped with pyrotechnic safety belt pre-tensioners and load limiters.
EuroNCAP wasn’t entirely flattering about the Ford saying, “the passenger compartment remained stable in the impact.
“However, there was insufficient pressure in the driver's airbag to prevent the head from bottoming it out and contacting the steering wheel.
“The knees and femurs of the front seat passengers were well protected and Ford showed that a similar level of protection would be provided for occupants of different sizes or those sat in different positions.”
EuroNCAP added that the Kuga scored maximum points for its performance in the side impact and pole tests.
Ford points out that the Kuga also has an array of active safety equipment including ABS, ESP, traction control, electronic brake-force distribution and electronic brake assist.
The Kuga, which is built on the same platform as the Ford Focus, which will begin manufacture in Australia in 2011, is powered by a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine in Europe.
Ford Australia President Bill Osborne has already said that the Kuga, like all Focus derivatives, is a possibility for Australian production once the local factory begins building the Focus.