August 10, 2004

Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute tip over in rollover tests

Washington – D.C. – Rollover ratings released on Monday by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show the Ford Escape 4X4, and its corporate twin, the Mazda Tribute, have a 20.9% chance of a rollover in a single vehicle crash. These vehicles tipped over in the dynamic manoeuvring test, reports the NHTSA. The 4X2 Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute models were even more likely to rollover, with a 23.9% chance. All vehicles received three star ratings.

Starting with 2004 model year vehicles, NHTSA rollover ratings combine both the stationary (at-rest) measurement known as the Static Stability Factor (SSF) and the tip or no-tip results of the dynamic manoeuvring rollover test. The SSF uses a mathematical formula to determine if a vehicle is “top heavy”. The dynamic manoeuvring test involves an actual driving test using a heavily loaded vehicle, to represent a five-occupant load, and a full tank of gas. Using a fishhook pattern, the vehicle simulates a high-speed collision avoidance manoeuvre. These results are then combined for one overall star rating with five stars being the best score. For model years 2003 and earlier, rollover ratings were based on the SSF rating only.

Other new rollover ratings released on Monday included the 2004 Chrysler Pacifica 4×2, Chrysler Pacifica 4×4, Ford Freestar, Mercury Mariner 4×2, Mercury Mariner 4×4, Mercury Monterey, Nissan Murano 4×2, Nissan Murano 4×4 and Nissan Quest. (Note: Mariner and Monterey not available in Canada).

Overall, the best rollover ratings for 2004 models in each vehicle category are: Mazda RX-8 four-door (passenger car); Chevrolet Silverado 4×2 extended cab (pickup truck); Chrysler Pacifica 4×4 (sport utility vehicle); and Nissan Quest (van). The NHTSA uses a 5-star ranking system to rate a vehicle on its likelihood to rollover in a single vehicle crash.

On Monday, the agency also unveiled an enhanced scoring system that will provide consumers with new rollover information. In addition to the star rating used to rank a vehicle’s likelihood of rollover in a single vehicle crash, NHTSA also reports the percent chance of rollover and how the vehicle ranks in its class.
These additional pieces of information will aid consumers when comparing vehicles with similar rollover star ratings. The new information can be seen at

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