After being honored with a five-star overall safety score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2013 Ford Fusion has now become the first car in America to earn both that recognition and the new Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). And for an added bonus, NHTSA also included the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid on its five-star honor roll.

As folks may recall, the NHTSA commendation requires top performance in the government’s New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), which puts vehicles through their paces to gauge occupant protection in front- and side-impact crashes, and also analyzes the vehicles’ resistance to rollover scenarios. (The IIHS testing regimen includes evaluations for front- and side-impacts, as well as for rollover resistance and two front-impact situations: One with vehicles striking a barrier with a small frontal offset, and another with a large offset to mimic a situation in which drivers may strike a pole or tree at one side of the front end.)

“The Fusion and Fusion Hybrid exemplify the new face of Ford vehicles and demonstrate Ford’s commitment to safety in all its vehicles across the globe,” said Steve Kenner, Global Director of the Ford Automotive Safety Office (ASO).

But what is it that makes the 2013 Ford Fusion so gosh-darn safe? Let’s find out …

2013 Ford Fusion: Safety Recap

While working to ensure the 2013 Ford Fusion (and Fusion Hybrid) are superior all-around safety performers, the Blue Oval team puts a particular focus on three different ways to protect passengers:

First off, there’s the Ford Personal Safety System, designed to fine-tune front airbag deployment in case of a frontal impact. The technology works by leveraging a restraint control module that can analyze the position, weight and safety-belt status of the front-seat passengers, then manage the seat-belt pretensioners and dual-stage airbag deployment for optimum protection.

Further, Ford also continues its leadership role in airbag technology itself, showcasing features like new seat-mounted side airbags with an innovative venting system. The vents are positioned in such a way that larger passengers block the openings and the airbags inflate with full pressure, but with smaller occupants, the vents remain open to reduce pressure to appropriate levels. The driver’s airbag gets a unique design as well, with a built-in “pocket” to help minimize the impact pressure of the airbag on the driver’s chest and ribs in certain crash scenarios.

The 2013 Ford Fusion/Fusion Hybrid then builds on these features by offering a wide and deep range of driver-assistance features like:

Ford’s Blind Spot Information System with rear cross-traffic alert
Active Park Assist to simplify parallel parking
Lane Keeping Assist, designed to keep drivers within their lanes
Adaptive Cruise Control, developed to keep the Fusion at a safe following distance
A rearview camera system
Hill Start Assist, which prevents the Fusion from rolling backward when stopped on an incline
An electronic parking brake

Finally, the package is capped off with the award-winning Ford SYNC technology, including 911 Assist for an automatic, direct connection with trained emergency services operators.