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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

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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.

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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.

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2016 Ram 1500 IIHS small overlap crash test

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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.

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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.

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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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