The mid-size 2013 Ford Fusion lineup boasts an additional entry in the top safety ratings arena as the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid earns a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The 2013 Ford Fusion and the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid have already earned NHTSA five-star ratings. The regular version of the Ford Fusion has also earned Top Safety Pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), as well at The Car Connection's Best Car To Buy 2013 award.
The NHTSA five-star rating is the government’s highest-possible vehicle safety rating. It is determined after severe testing procedures as part of the NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). Crash tests combine scores from frontal, side-impact and rollover crash tests.
The Fusion Energi scored five stars in frontal, five stars in side-impact, and four stars in rollover crash tests. This compares with five, four and four, respectively, for the gasoline and hybrid versions of the Fusion. Ford attributes the difference in scores to crash-test variability, since there are no major structural differences between the cars.
The significance of the NHTSA five-star safety rating for the 2013 Ford Fusion Energi is reflected in the fact that the NHTSA has decided to test plug-in vehicles separately from their gasoline and hybrid counterparts. This comes as the market share of electrified vehicles is beginning to increase.
There are subtle, but very important, differences between the gasoline and hybrid versions of the Fusion and the Fusion Energi plug-in. As Green Car Reports points out, the NHTSA’s separate testing of plug-in vehicles is not only to ensure such cars are thoroughly tested as more of them are entering the market, but also “to determine whether the car’s extra batteries and high-voltage components affect the car’s behavior in a crash.”