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Ford walks away the winner in new IIHS pickup crash tests

Only the 2016 Ford F-150 earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick recommendation, besting several other competitors.


This is the first year that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has tested more than one variant of each automaker's full-size pickup. Last year, Automotive News got wise to the fact that Ford was installing extra safety measures only in one variant, the one being tested by IIHS. That prompted the insurance industry organization to be more thorough in its testing procedures, and perhaps not surprisingly, Ford still earned the highest marks.

For this year's program, IIHS tested both crew cab and extended cab variants of each pickup. The reinforcements that Ford added to just the one model last year (the F-150 SuperCrew) are now on its SuperCab configuration, as well, leading to its "Good" scores across the board and a subsequent rating of Top Safety Pick.

Meanwhile, three trucks scored "Acceptable" overall: the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, the GMC Sierra 1500 and the Toyota Tundra, all of which feature double (extended) cab configurations. All three of those trucks slipped to "Marginal" in crew cab form, and both Ram 1500 configurations earned a "Marginal" score overall. The Ram fared the worst in structure tests, scoring "Poor" in both configurations.

Middling structural scores can, at least partially, be blamed on the age of the IIHS' new small-front-overlap test compared to the age of the trucks in that test. Ram's 1500 is perhaps the oldest truck of the bunch, and it was largely engineered before the small-overlap test was even implemented. Ram added wheel blocks to prevent additional cabin intrusion, but it's clear that more time and engineering will be required to bring up its score.

As with passenger cars, subsequent generations of these trucks will likely fare much better -- until the IIHS devises a new test, natch. No truck walked away with a Top Safety Pick+ award, because no eligible truck comes equipped with a sufficient level of forward advanced safety systems (namely, autonomous emergency braking).