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Car and Driver: Seven Pickup Trucks Enter, Only One Emerges with an IIHS Top Safety Pick


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2016 Ford F-150 is small overlap


The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is challenging the reputation of full-size pickup trucks as indestructible beasts with its latest round of crash test results. After putting extended-cab and crew-cab versions of the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500, and Toyota Tundra through its full battery of tests, the Ford was the only model to ace the small-overlap crash test and procure the “good” rating that’s required to earn the Top Safety Pick award.


Of the other models tested, crew-cab and extended-cab versions of the Ram 1500 earned a “marginal” rating in the small-overlap test, as did the crew-cab Toyota Tundra and the crew-cab Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra models. Extended-cab versions of the Tundra and the GM pickups fared slightly better, earning an “acceptable” rating, but the IIHS noted that all of these models allowed a significant amount of intrusion into the passenger compartment, most notably in the driver’s footwell. “Drivers in these pickups would need help freeing their legs from the wreckage following a small overlap crash,” said IIHS Vehicle Research Center vice president Raul Arbelaez in a statement.


2016 Ram 1500 IIHS small overlap crash test


The IIHS says it decided to test two different body styles of each truck because it found a disparity between extended-cab and crew-cab models during small-overlap testing of the Ford F-150 last year. While crew-cab models passed the test with flying colors, the extended-cab models were missing steel structural members to prevent the front wheels from intruding into the cabin. Since then, Ford has fitted additional structure to all versions of the F-150 to ensure that all cab configurations pass the test.


The F-150 still misses out on the very best IIHS rating, called Top Safety Pick +, because its optional forward collision warning system only earned a “basic” rating. To earn the “+,” these front crash prevention systems must be rated as either “advanced” or “superior.” The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are also available with forward collision warning systems, and also earned a “basic” rating in the IIHS’s tests.


If Ford’s action is precedent, GM, Fiat Chrysler, and Toyota seem likely to respond within the next few months with structural changes to improve their respective trucks’ performance on these IIHS tests.



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