Ford's Safest Cars: Photo Gallery

Which of Ford's cars are the safest? Peruse our photo gallery of Ford's safe plays.
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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With the enthusiasm over Ford's (F) - Get Report new Focuses and Fiestas, the automaker's impending safety system upgrades and the general burst of affection the public now has for the automaker, this would seem a fine time to assess the 2010 model-year Ford cars currently on the market.

To do so, we reached out to

Consumer Reports

for some exclusive insight into Ford, and the group came back to us with overall safety, accident avoidance and crash protection scores for a variety of Ford vehicles.

Consumer Reports got its overall safety scores by combining government and insurance-industry crash-test scores with the accident-avoidance tests -- including braking and emergency handling testing -- that Consumer Reports conducts at its 327-acre test facility.

"Looking at the crash-test results, it's clear that Ford is going in the right direction," Consumer Reports' auto content specialist Michael Quincy told

TheStreet

. "We think the most important crash tests come from the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), and the only models that don't have the top-score of "good" are Ford's older models: Focus, Explorer, Mountaineer." In addition, Quincy noted that redesigned versions of these cars are all set to debut (except for the Mountaineer, which is going away along with the entire Mercury line).

Please read on to find out more about Ford's five safest cars ...

Ford Taurus

Overall Safety:

5*

Accident Avoidance:

4

Crash Protection:

5

Base Price:

$25,170 - $37,770

Curb Weight:

4,040 lbs.

Consumer Reports' Product Description:

The old Taurus was a roomy sedan that emphasized comfort and good ergonomics. The elevated seating position provided good outward vision and cabin access, and the rear seat and trunk were immense.

A partial redesign for 2010 stresses new styling, but ends up compromising the impressive accommodations and rear visibility of the last generation. Still, it's a large, roomy, quiet and pleasant sedan that rides and handles well. It's interior finish is much nicer than in the old Taurus'. Its powertrain is slightly more refined and gets 19 mpg overall.

*Ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the top score in each category.

Lincoln MKS

Overall Safety:

5*

Accident Avoidance:

4

Crash Protection:

5

Base Price:

$41,270 - $48,160

Curb Weight:

4,515 lbs.

Consumer Reports' Product Description:

This large sedan, based on the Ford Taurus, has a 3.7-liter V6 that provides good power, but isn't particularly refined. In lieu of a V8, a strong turbocharged V6 is available, matched with an all-wheel-drive.

It has plenty of power with little loss in fuel economy. The ride is comfortable, but not always settled. The handling is secure, but lacks agility.

The well-finished interior is roomy, but the driving position and foot well are narrow. A small opening limits the usefulness of the otherwise huge trunk, and a high rear deck limits rear visibility. The SYNC system controls MP3 players and cell phones by voice command, and works well.

Crash-test results are impressive. The reliability of non-turbo versions has been well below average.

*Ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the top score in each category.

Ford Fusion

Overall Safety:

5*

Accident Avoidance:

4

Crash Protection:

5

Base Price:

$19,695 - $28,505

Curb Weight:

3,530 lbs.

Consumer Reports' Product Description:

Like its siblings, the Mercury Milan and Lincoln MKZ, the midsized 2010 Ford Fusion has emerged as one of Consumer Reports' higher-rated family cars, overall. High points for the Fusion include sharp handling, a good ride and strong acceleration.

Varieties of the Fusion include four-cylinder and V6 versions; a front- or all-wheel drive; and a 34-mpg (miles per gallon) overall, four-cylinder gas-electric hybrid that can drive up to 47 mph (miles per hour) on electric power alone.

The well-finished cabin stays quiet most of the time, but the four-cylinder is fairly loud when accelerating. The handling is balanced and predictable when pushed to the limits, and the stability control is standard. A cross-traffic sensor alerts drivers to approaching traffic when backing out of a parking space. Crash-test results and reliability are both impressive."

*Ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the top score in each category.

Mercury Milan

Overall Safety:

5*

Accident Avoidance:

4

Crash Protection:

5

Base Price:

$21,860 - $28,480

Curb Weight:

3,530 lbs.

Consumer Reports' Product Description:

See prior description for the 2010 Ford Fusion.

Consumer Reports, noting the mid-sized 2010 Milan's similarity to sibling car Ford Fusion, cites the Fusion's description for the Milan.

*Ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the top score in each category.

Lincoln MKZ

Overall Safety:

5*

Accident Avoidance:

4

Crash Protection:

5

Base Price:

$34,330 - $36,220

Curb Weight:

3,640 lbs.

Consumer Reports' Product Description:

Freshened for 2010, the MKZ benefits from most of the same improvements as those on the related Ford Fusion. Two of the most important benefits are the smaller turning circle, which aids maneuverability, and some upgraded interior materials. The cabin is also much quieter now, combined with a supple, controlled ride for a peaceful driving experience. Handling is responsive as well and the engine provides generous power, making the MKZ engaging to drive.

*Ratings are based on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the top score in each category.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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