Ford F-150 Earns Only Pickup Top Safety Rating in IIHS Crash Test

Ram trucks fare worst in small overlap tests.

by on Apr.12, 2016

The 2016 Ford F-150 Super Cab was the only full-size truck to get a "Good" rating.

Ford Motor Co.’s redesigned-for-2016 F-150 was the only full-size pickup to land a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS in the latest round of tests, according to results released today.

Only three out of the seven large pickups tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety received an “Acceptable” or better rating in the small overlap front crash test which is designed to simulate a common – and often deadly – form of crash. The Ram 1500, meanwhile, ranked at the bottom end of the scale, according to the IIHS, two versions of that truck rated “Marginal.”

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“Ford is leading the way among large pickup manufacturers when it comes to protecting people in a range of crashes and offering technology to warn drivers of imminent frontal crashes,” said Raul Arbelaez, vice president of the Institute’s Vehicle Research Center.

Arbelaz noted that the F-150 did significantly better in the latest round of tests than the year before, adding, “We commend Ford for taking last year’s test results to heart and upgrading protection for SuperCab occupants in small overlap crashes.”

The 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab (shown here), and Quad Cab ranked at the back of the pack.

(New IIHS study finds most headlights need improvement. Click Here for the story.)

Ford hailed the results and said that safety was a critical target when it set out to redesign the 2016 F-150, the full-size truck migrating from a conventional steel body to an “aluminum intensive” design.  “We knew it had to be best-in-class,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s director of global product development. “We spent thousands of hours engineering, designing and developing multiple safety features that work together in the event of an accident.”

The Top Safety Pick award does come with a caveat, however, as it actually covers versions of the F-150 using Ford’s optional forward collision warning system – that’s become an IIHS requirement for vehicles to earn its highest honors.

Though the small overlap crash test is not based on any government mandate, the IIHS has made it all but a requirement for manufacturers these days, at least if they want to pass the trade organization’s well-publicized reviews. IIHS officials explain that the test is designed to replicate one of the most common causes of highway accidents, simulating what happens when a vehicle might hit a pole off-center, or when two vehicles clip headlights while coming from opposite directions.

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The 2016 Toyota Tundra Double Cab, here, was "Acceptable," the CrewMax rated "Marginal."

The IIHS tested two body styles for each of the 2016 full-size pickups it tested, a list including the F-150, as well as the:

  • 2016 Chevrolet Silverado;
  • 2016 Toyota Tundra; and the
  • 2016 Ram 1500.

The Ford F-150 SuperCab earned a “Good” rating in the latest IIHS tests. The SuperCrew version previously earned a similar rating.

The Chevy Silverado 1500 Double Cab and the Toyota Tundra CrewMax both received “Acceptable” ratings. But the Silverado CrewCab and Tundra CrewMax didn’t fare nearly as well, the IIHS rating them only “Marginal.”

The two Ram 1500 models, the Quad Cab and Crew Cab pickups, also received “Marginal” ratings, with their overall test results lagging at the back of the pack.

The 2016 Chevrolet Crew Cab, shown here, rated "Marginal," the Double Cab "Acceptable."

All of the pickups, except for the F-150, experienced moderate to severe intrusion into the passenger compartment following the crash, something the IIHS said would likely translate into “serious” lower leg, ankle and foot injuries.

“Drivers in these pickups would need help freeing their legs from the wreckage following a small overlap crash. We encourage manufacturers to redesign their pickups to resist intrusion in the lower occupant compartment to safeguard people from serious leg and foot injuries that might require months of rehabilitation,” Arbelaez says.

Beyond the small overlap crash tests, all of the pickups scored well in the IIHS moderate overlap front test, side test and head restraint evaluations. As for roof strength, a statement from the IIHS noted that the F-150, both Silverado models and the Tundra Double Cab all earned “Good” ratings. The Tundra CrewMax was rated “Acceptable,” while the two Ram 1500 models earned only a “Marginal” score.

Along with the Ford F-150, the Chevrolet Silverado and the GMC Sierra pickups are the only full-size trucks currently offering optional forward collision warning.

The Insurance Institute did not test the GMC Sierra, a virtual clone of the Chevrolet Silverado truck. IIHS says the only other full-size pickup on the market, the newly redesigned Nissan Titan, will be tested later this year.

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