Ford Bronco Misses Safety Award in IIHS Crash Test

The new Ford Bronco has been crash tested by the IIHS.

The new Ford Bronco has been crash tested by the IIHS. (IIHS/)

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has gotten its hands on the new, revived 2021 Ford Bronco and put it through its paces with rigorous crash testing and safety examinations. The results offer a comprehensive look at just how safe the nation’s hottest new SUV is, or isn’t.

First, the good news: The 2021 Ford Bronco earned a “Good” rating in five of the six tests the IIHS uses to evaluate crashworthiness. Additionally, both of the model’s available front crash prevention systems, which proactively help avoid an impact, got high marks. These systems received “Superior” and “Advanced” ratings when tested in the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian portions of the exam.

Related: 2021 Ford Bronco Sport First Edition Review

Now the not-so-good news. Both of the Bronco’s available headlight options are subpar and contribute to why Ford’s off-roader doesn’t receive a safety award from the IIHS. The organization said that the “headlights provide inadequate illumination on curves,” which is fairly important on the backroads and off-road situations in which Ford expects its owners to use the vehicle. More concerningly, the Bronco received low scores on the front of protecting occupants against whiplash injuries. The IIHS found that “the neck of the test dummy was subject to moderate force in a simulated rear-end crash.” The organization found that the seats’ lack of support for the head and neck contributed to the issue.

Receiving an award from the IIHS is huge for a vehicle’s résumé, and the difficulty of the tests reflects that. While the Bronco was able to check the box for earning a “Good” rating in the required five-of-six crashworthiness evaluations, its poor headlights let it down and eliminate any possibility of the model being awarded the accolade of Top Safety Pick.

That doesn’t mean you should rule it out when perusing convertible off-roaders, though. The new Ford Bronco’s safety is leaps and bounds ahead of any Bronco before it, and still received solid marks overall. Headlights are easily upgraded, and buyers can take solace knowing the vehicle is fairly safe as a whole. With Ford and Jeep ramping up their Bronco and Wrangler competition, and Jeep throwing out haymakers like the ludicrous 392, this is a battle we love to watch. Just be mindful of the safety compromises that come with the territory of buying one of these vehicles.

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