With a model year under its belt, the 2012 Ford Explorer still hasn't seen complete crash-test results.
The latest Explorer gets the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award, which means it earns good scores for all the agency's vital tests, and offers standard stability control. While it's a winner on that scale, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) hasn't yet published Explorer crash scores--likely because it changed its testing criteria and calculations for 2011, and is busy updating scores. We'll let you know when they do.
The promising safety scores are largely the result of the Explorer's comprehensive safety package. Not only does the Explorer offer standard curtain airbags and traction control, as well as "curve control" that adapts throttle and brake to upcoming corners, it's been outfitted with a slew of available safety technologies that Ford believes are important to family car shoppers.
On that list, we'd include Bluetooth, which allows drivers to take phone calls without using a handset, as well as all-wheel drive and a rearview camera. New for this year are optional inflatable rear-seat belts, which come bundled with blind-spot monitors. MyKey lets parents set volume and speed controls for kids who may borrow the Explorer. Adaptive cruise control is available--and every Explorer comes with great outward visibility, thanks to a high seating position, except to the rear quarters where thick C-pillars create a rather large blind spot.