Ford Missouri-made F-150 gets highest rating in new insurance crash tests

More good news for AIM Chairman’s Council member Ford Motor Company.

From the Associated Press

The 2016 Ford F-150 is the only full-size pickup truck to score the top rating in new front crash tests performed by the insurance industry.

Rival pickups from Chevrolet, GMC, Ram and Toyota didn’t fare as well, according to results released Tuesday by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The institute evaluated 2016 models in a small overlap crash test, which replicates what happens when a vehicle runs off the road and a portion of its front end hits a tree or a pole at 40 miles per hour.

The tests evaluated both crew cab and extended cab versions of each truck, since those are the most popular body styles. A crew cab has four full doors and two full rows of seating. An extended cab has two full front doors, two small rear doors and smaller second-row seats.

The institute also evaluated different body styles because past tests have shown varying results. In tests last year, the 2015 F-150 SuperCab — the extended cab version of the F-150 — lacked some of the structural elements of the larger F-150 SuperCrew so it got lower safety ratings.

Ford responded by adding reinforcements to the 2016 SuperCab, including high-strength steel tubes in the wheel wells and aluminum rocker panels on the sides that help absorb energy from a crash. Ford also added nylon reinforcements to the door hinges. With those enhancements, both versions of the F-150 now have the institute’s highest safety rating of “good.”

The results were a vindication for Ford Motor Co., which switched to a lightweight aluminum body on the F-150 in the 2015 model year in order to increase fuel economy. Ford was the first automaker to move away from a steel body on its pickups, and some had questioned whether aluminum would perform as well.

Crash test results varied for other brands. The extended cab versions of the Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Toyota Tundra, for example, all performed better than the larger crew cab versions. But the institute said all of them failed to protect the crash test dummy’s lower leg and foot. None got the highest safety rating.

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