Ever since its launch in the first half of 2014, the all-new Ford Transit has been turning North America’s full-size van markets on their proverbial heads. And it will continue to do so thanks to yet another innovation: a five-row side-curtain airbag.
Part of the automaker’s Safety Canopy System, the airbag was designed to help provide better head and neck protection in rollover and side-impact crashes. It was designed by Ford in conjunction with global automotive supplier TRW Automotive and is the industry’s only five-row side-curtain bag.
Dimensions are nothing short of impressive: the bag measures roughly 15 feet long and 3 feet tall, with a volume of 120 liters. By comparison, a side-curtain airbag for a sedan like Ford’s midsize Fusion is about 6.8 feet long and 2 feet tall, with a volume of 42 liters. The Transit’s airbag is made of a coated, polyester-based fabric that holds the gas with which it is inflated, thereby having the ability to remain inflated for several seconds.
Here’s how it all works: sensors detect impact during a crash, triggering two of the industry’s largest inflators to fill the entire airbag with stored gas in a fraction of a second. The inflators fill the bag in a pattern that was designed to streamline the direction of bag deployment and control cushion thickness throughout its length. Helping keep the curtain supported when deployed is the single-bag design as well as tethering plus the van’s B-,C-, and D-pillars.
To note, side-curtain airbags are standard on the Transit wagon, which is available in three roof heights, two wheelbases, and three body lengths. It’s the high-roof long-wheelbase wagon that seats as many as 15 people and provides as much as 65.2 inches of headroom. The 15-passenger extended-length Transit wagon also happens to offer best-in-class cargo capacity – 100.5 cubic feet – behind the last row of seats.