Coupe, Convertible, News

Ford Mustang adopts world-first knee airbag

The all-new Ford Mustang is the first vehicle to be equipped with a new type of knee airbag that is integrated within the lid of the glove box.

Ford says that utilising the glove box lid instead of the instrument panel helps maximise passenger space. Rather than a textile fabric airbag, the technology consists of a moulded plastic design, sandwiched between the outer and inner glove box lid surfaces.

At 46cm long and 28cm wide, the glove box airbag weighs 65 per cent less than a conventional knee airbag but offers comparable protection. In the event of a collision, a tiny gas generator inside the glove box lid inflates the bladder in 20 milliseconds, pushing the lid exterior outwards to provide leg protection. The weight reduction also improves fuel efficiency and the innovation has so far been granted 23 patents.

"This is a new way of thinking about airbags. We went back to the drawing board and in the course of a year went through hundreds of prototypes to get it just right," said Ford restraints manager Sean West. "With this design we were able to combine the functions of two separate parts into one single part to save on space, weight and components; and move the instrument panel further forward, ensuring there was more room for the front passenger."

Altogether the all-new Ford Mustang is equipped with eight airbags as standard and has been awarded the highest-possible safety standard by North American authorities. 

Available as a fastback or convertible with 5.0-litre V8 or 2.3 EcoBoost engine, it's on sale in the UK from £29,995 with right-hand drive for the first time in more than 50 years of production.