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SAFETY | 10 out of 10
Five stars overall
Top Safety Pick
Sightlines are pretty good out front but there is a large blind spot at the C-pillar.
...Depending on the option package, you can order adaptive cruise control and a blind-spot warning system.
With both crash-testing agencies now reporting, the Ford Explorer can safely be called one of the safest vehicles on the road.
The Explorer already had earned a Top Safety Pick rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), including a "good" score on the roof-crush test. However, the Explorer hasn't been tested under the IIHS's new small-overlap test, which the agency plans to incorporate in future rankings.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), meanwhile, gives five stars overall to the 2013 Ford Explorer, with mostly five-star scores across the board save for a four-star rollover-resistance rating.
The excellent scores are generated by the Explorer's stout body and a host of airbags and technology--everything from standard curtain airbags and traction control, to the knee airbags added for the 2013 model year. New last year were optional inflatable rear-seat belts, which come bundled with blind-spot monitors.
The Explorer's also been outfitted with a slew of available safety technologies that Ford believes are important to family car shoppers. Its stability control incorporates "curve control" that adapts throttle and brake to upcoming corners, and also has trailer-sway control to make maximum use for its 5000-pound towing capacity.
On the infotainment side, the Explorer has standard Bluetooth, which allows drivers to take phone calls without using a handset, as well as a rearview camera. 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.
The Explorer earns top scores from the NHTSA and IIHS, and has a huge range of safety options and technology.