Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Mitsubishi's Lancer

Ford's small car is now upgraded with side-impact airbags, but doesn't quite match Mitsubishi's safety specification

Mitsubishi's Lancer leads the way in small car safety, but Ford is in hot pursuit. Broadmeadows has announced that the entry-level Focus, the Focus CL, is now fitted with side-impact airbags as standard.

It's a clever move for Ford. The entry-level Lancer is not fitted with side-impact airbags as standard, but they can be optioned along with side curtains as well. In effect, consumers can get into the small Ford from a price starting at $20,490 -- and have some side impact protection -- or pay more for the Lancer ($20,990 for Lancer ES) and have to pay an extra $850 on top of that for the added side-impact safety.

Of course the extra outlay for the Lancer will also cover side curtain airbags, which protect the heads of front and rear-seat occupants. This level of passive safety in the Focus will cost a further $1300, but that includes stability control, traction control and Brake Assist (all of which are already standard in the Lancer).

Where does this 'snakes and ladders' specification battle leave you, the consumer?

If you option up both cars -- based on current pricing -- to the highest (roughly comparable) level of safety, the Focus is $50 cheaper than the Lancer. That's about what we imagine the cost of the standard knee airbag in the Lancer would be worth to the manufacturer -- if the Focus had one.


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