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Nightowl

Ouch! A narrow escape...

9 posts in this topic

* The following is an article written by a female journalist (Road Test Editor) in a US motoring magazine last month. Seems the lucky girl had a narrow escape at 75 mph - thanks mainly to the Fiesta's solid build...and a little help from the big man above!

If you want to read about how the car drives, that review is coming in our next issue. For now, I’ll tell you how it crashes.

I never saw it coming. A tire had flown off an Oldsmobile Cutlass heading in the opposite direction on the freeway, rolled past its horrified driver, skipped over the median, bounced at least 20 feet into the air and smashed through my windshield as I emerged from under an overpass. At least, that’s what I was told by a witness kind enough to stop--and the Cutlass driver, who, after successfully steering his car to the shoulder, sprinted across eight lanes of Memorial Day traffic to make sure he hadn’t killed me.

The metallic green Ford Fiesta, one of only a handful brought to the States for us journalist types to test-drive, looked like a squished ash borer, the glass completely breached where the rearview mirror once hung, a skid mark on the hood the telltale sign of the original impact and the roof crumpled where the tire ended its destructive ways. Inside, circuit boards lay scattered about, wires dangled uselessly from the headliner, and every surface glistened under a thick coating of shattered safety glass.

(Oh, safety glass! Two days later, still flossing the stuff from between my teeth, I was more grateful for it than ever.)

Had the tire hit just six inches to the left, it might have landed in my lap. Or my brain. Instead, I walked away with little more than a right arm splattered with exploded glass, the tiny droplets of blood twinkling on my hand and wrist a testament to, I don’t know, the mood of the Fates that day, a buildup of good karma or the beating wings of a butterfly in China.

Regardless of why the tire chose my car or why I was spared decapitation, I found myself in awe of the Fiesta’s actual performance under fire. The manner in which it sustained such forceful damage isn’t something tested for by the feds or even the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. No airbags deployed (the car was struck from above, not in front, where the airbag sensors sit), and the car was traveling at 75 mph, far faster than any prescribed crash test mandates.

Throw in the fact that we’re talking about a car significantly smaller than a Ford Focus--and, by all accounts, smaller even than a Honda Fit, if only by millimeters--and it’s astounding that the tire didn’t utterly atomize it.

Then again, the car will likely live to drive another day, thanks to a little something called boron steel.

Used extensively in the roof structure of the Fiesta, particularly in the A- and B-pillars, boron steel is one of a variety of ultra-high-strength steels, so hard that it resists conventional cutting methods--including the Jaws of Life.

The use of boron steel isn’t new; the stuff’s been around for years now. But its application in a car like the Fiesta, a B-segment, entry-level ride that will start at about $15,000 when it debuts here next year, is a first. We hope it’s not the last.

They just don’t build small cars like they used to. And thank goodness for that.

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Wow... and here was me down in the dumps over my chipped windscreen :rolleyes:

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They just don’t build small cars like they used to. And thank goodness for that.

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Aww poor little Fiesta . . . . .but at least it kept the passanger safe! Can't imagine a Mk 1 fiesta being so forgiving!

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I'm surprised the airbags didn't deploy.

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They will (or should) only deploy when the car begins to crumple or is hit in specific locations. You can have a really heavy crash from behind and the airbags won't always deploy.

I worried about this a while ago and did some research, and I learnt that because airbags are only inflated for a very short period of time, they only deploy when immediately neccesary. As soon as an airbag is set off, it begins to deflate immediately. For example if they had deployed in this case when the tire hit the roof, for no real reason as a 'just in case' measure, they wouldnt have been there to deploy if she had subsequently veered of into a barrier, or steered into the path of another car.

It's all very clever really :) Makes you feel safe knowing things like this actually work in a real world environment.

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The driver & front passenger airbags will only deploy if the vehicle hits an object head-on, or - to be exact - anything 'solid/heavy' up to an angle of 30 degrees right or left of the vehicle's front end. The sensors (located under the bonnet) wouldn't have been set off in the example above because nothing actually hit the front of the vehicle. There was no impact/crumpling to the front end - just the higher roof/windscreen area.

Manual: http://issuu.com/stalker1971/docs/new_fiesta_manual/25

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Good job this was in the US so the car was a LHD.

If that was a RHD he'd be a lot worse off.

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The driver & front passenger airbags will only deploy if the vehicle hits an object head-on, or - to be exact - anything 'solid/heavy' up to an angle of 30 degrees right or left of the vehicle's front end. The sensors (located under the bonnet) wouldn't have been set off in the example above because nothing actually hit the front of the vehicle. There was no impact/crumpling to the front end - just the higher roof/windscreen area.

Manual: http://issuu.com/stalker1971/docs/new_fiesta_manual/25

what he said ^^ :lol:

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Good job this was in the US so the car was a LHD.

If that was a RHD he'd be a lot worse off.

It looks like it was slap bang in the middle though so it doesn't seem like there'd be much difference. It was a female reporter as well.

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