Ford F-150 SuperCab Earns 'Top Safety Pick' a Year After Crashgate | The Truth About Cars

2023-02-28 14:25:11 By : Ms. Shining Xia

The folks in Dearborn are right chuffed about the F-150’s latest crash results — so much so that they sent out embargo materials to a number of outlets, including us (thank you!), to make sure we get the story straight.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the F-150 SuperCab — in addition to the SuperCrew tested last year — is now a Top Safety Pick, when equipped with optional forward collision alert. Ford is the only brand awarded as such in the segment.

The latest round of tests comes after Ford was caught with its pants down last year. Those tests found that not all F-150s were created equal when it came to withstanding the dreaded small overlap frontal crash test.

This year, it’s more of the same — but the trucks behaving badly aren’t Fords.

According to IIHS, the latest round of testing included extended and crew cab trucks. Of the seven trucks tested, only three trucks — Ford F-150 SuperCab, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (GMC Sierra) Double Cab, and Toyota Tundra Double Cab — earned “acceptable” or higher ratings in the small overlap front crash test.

A-pillars started going pear-shaped when IIHS supersized the test subjects. Both the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab and Tundra Crew Max received “marginal” scores in the small overlap front crash test.

“Both models had considerable intrusion into the occupant compartment that compromised survival space for the driver,” IIHS stated in an embargoed release.

Ram, which introduced its 1500-series truck just before IIHS announced the small overlap front crash test, received a “poor” structure and “marginal” overall rating in the small overlap test, regardless of cab size.

“The force of the crash pushed the door-hinge pillar, instrument panel and steering column back toward the driver dummy. In the Ram Crew Cab test, the dummy’s head contacted the front airbag but rolled around the left side as the steering column moved to the right, allowing the head to approach the intruding windshield pillar,” the IIHS release stated.

All trucks tested — save the F-150 — were rated “poor” by IIHS for lower leg and foot protection in a small offset front crash.

To date, regular cab trucks remain uncrashed. However, Ford’s truck spokesperson Mike Levine explained that the automaker included similar countermeasures in regular cab versions of its 2016 F-150.

“It has wheel blockers, nylon hinge pillar reinforcement and rocker panel reinforcements,” said Levine in an email with TTAC. He later detailed, “There are slight differences but generally the same countermeasures are now across all cabs so we expect similar performance in small overlap testing for SuperCrew, SuperCab and Regular Cab.”

Toyota representative Nate Martinez stated his employer is looking at the test results as a learning opportunity.

“We are evaluating the test results with the goal of finding new ways to continuously improve the performance of Toyota trucks and to further enhance the safety of our vehicles,” Martinez said over email. “Importantly, the Toyota trucks tested continue to meet or exceed all federally required motor vehicle safety standards.”

And Ram says it meets federally mandated safety requirements as well.

“Every FCA US vehicle meets or exceeds all applicable federal motor-vehicle safety standards. However, we continually evaluate the performance of our vehicles,” explained Ram spokesperson Nick Cappa over email.

Considering Ram’s 1500-series truck is one of the oldest full-size trucks available, FCA could eschew further development of the current platform to focus on the next-generation pickup’s safety performance. The same train of thought can be applied to the even older second-generation Tundra, which Toyota debuted in 2007 and refreshed for the 2014 model year.

A representative for GM declined to comment on the results.

As for Ford, it can now unequivocally state it has the safest truck according to IIHS tests, and IIHS can claim it forced an OEM’s hand to build a safer truck. Everyone wins — except for those who bought regular and extended cab 2015 F-150s.

Warning, pure speculation follows: I suspect (from only looking at the pictures) that the intrusion that the IIHS noticed in the Ram and Chevy were the wheels distorting the footwell of the driver. Notice they stayed parallel to the direction of travel. On the Ford (and again as seen in the picture in this article) the wheel turned perpendicular to the direction of travel. Was this the differentiator between getting and not getting a "Top Pick" award the level of footwell intrusion? Was this intrusion caused by the wheel? Were the wheel sizes the same in all three vehicles? Did the Ford's wheel turn 90deg as a result of a crash specific suspension design or just happenstance? Personally, I treat the IIHS's tests as anecdotal evidence... not a deal breaker but something to at least be considered. It's not like they do a statistically significant number of crash tests. They do five different crash tests. I don't blame them though, considering the cost of these vehicles.

Yes those specific crash-bars turn the wheel away from the footwell sideways. They're not part of the suspension and in fixed position. Could they be an aftermarket accessory for other makes and older trucks?

"deflection" is as good crash protection as is absorption.

Went for a test drive in a new '16 F150XLT. Nice ride, quiet and very capable. It was a V8 because I still don't trust the EcoBoost 6's. Teething problems when they were new and the fact that 2 turbos adds more complications down the road. If you dump a vehicle when it reaches warranty it's probably a fine choice. The V8 sounds great and will actually get close to the claimed mileage. I've never met anyone who was happy with EcoBoost mileage.