DEARBORN, MI - Ford Motor Company added to its leading number of five-star crash test-rated vehicles as the 2010 Lincoln MKT earned top ratings for frontal and side-impact crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Lincoln's three-row luxury crossover previously earned a 2009 "Top Safety Pick" award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Ford Motor Company has more Top Safety Pick ratings and more U.S. government five-star ratings than any other automaker.

"Leading the industry in both five-star crash test ratings and Top Safety Pick awards is very significant because customers increasingly rely on NHTSA and IIHS ratings when choosing a new vehicle," said Susan Cischke, Ford's group vice president of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.

The all-new MKT is attracting a balanced mix of Lincoln loyalists and new customers with its array of standard and optional crash-protection, crash-avoidance and driver-awareness features in addition to distinctive design, interior spaciousness, craftsmanship and fuel economy.

Since the MKT went on sale last fall, approximately 45 percent of MKT purchasers have traded in competitive models, most commonly the Acura MDX and Cadillac SRX. More than half of those buyers opted for the 3.5L EcoBoost engine.

Customer interest in MKT's driver-awareness features has been strong as well. Nearly one in three purchasers of the MKT opts for Adaptive Cruise Control and Collision Warning with Brake Support and three of four opt for a package that includes Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert.

The Lincoln MKT features Ford's Trinity Front Crash Body Architecture. The energy-absorbing body structure is optimized for strength and stiffness and features octagonal front frame rails, engine cradle/front subframe and "shotgun" front structural members designed to absorb and redirect crash forces away from the passenger compartment.

Lincoln MKT also includes Side Protection And Cabin Enhancement Architecture (SPACE) to optimize side-impact occupant protection. The SPACE system integrates a hydroformed high-strength steel tube in the floor that runs the width of the vehicle from B-pillar to B-pillar and reinforcements along the rocker panels to help protect passengers in side-impact incidents.

Lincoln MKT also features Ford's Personal Safety System, combining multiple technologies to tailor the air bag package and safety belt functions to the individual passenger and the accident circumstances. The system can identify variables, such as severity of the crash, weight of the individual passenger and safety belt usage, to adjust air bag deployment force.

"The MKT's array of advanced safety technologies raises the bar for luxury vehicles and pushes the new frontier of 'active' crash-avoidance features that help drivers avoid or reduce the severity of accidents," said Steve Kozak, chief engineer, Ford Safety Systems.

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet