Crash Test Dummies: Ford Tops IIHS Tests, Everyone's Headlights Suck

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
crash test dummies ford tops iihs tests everyones headlights suck

There are wars being waged on all fronts in the half-ton pickup truck market, from towing prowess to outright power ratings. Not ones to pass up an opportunity to bash their competitors over the head with a truck-shaped chair, manufacturers seem to take every opportunity to harangue their opponents – especially when empirical data puts them in the driver’s seat.

The latest to do so? Ford, leveraging the recent IIHS crash test results of its 2019 F-150 Crew Cab pickup to take a shot or three at The General.

A new test cooked up by the crash testers at the gubbmint agency has recently been giving OEMs a few fits. Called the small overlap test, it mimics a terrifying crash in which a vehicle careens into an immovable obstacle that is just only jutting out into the rig’s path of travel. Think of nailing a tree or telephone pole with the left or right headlight of your pickup at speed and you’ve got a good picture of the test. This test pretzelizes the vehicle and often rudely intrudes into the passenger compartment. Here’s an example:

After manufacturers largely sorted out how to handle this test on the driver’s side of a vehicle, attention was turned to the passenger side of things. Ford sent a 2019 F-150 Crew Cab into battle, where it earned a top-tier Good rating in all categories. That’s the highest rating, by the way; there are no Excellent or Super Duper classifications, sadly.

Here’s a breakdown of passenger side crash testing of crew cab pickups, in which the Honda Ridgeline is inexplicably included.

And here’s a screenshot of IIHS crash test ratings as they pertain to other areas of pickup trucks, not just the passenger side. Note we had to split the picture because the Toyota Tundra CrewMax was so far down the rankings that it could not be displayed on the same page as its crew cab competitors. Extended Cab trucks are tested separately and sometimes create different test results. For ease of reading, we’ve pointed out the Crew Cab models.

According to the IIHS, the Ford F-150 was the best performer in the passenger-side test. Its structure is said to have held up well with a maximum intrusion of 5 inches at the rightmost section of the toepan. The seat belts and airbags worked well together to control the movement of the passenger and driver dummies, and neither dummy recorded any potential injuries.

The Tundra, in contrast, was seriously compromised (those words are lifted verbatim from the IIHS report) by intruding structure. Maximum intrusion, also at the rightmost part of the toepan, measured 15 inches. There was also intrusion of more than a foot at the lower door hinge pillar. The passenger dummy’s head hit the grab handle attached to the A-pillar as the pillar intruded into the passenger’s space.

“We commend Ford, Nissan, and Ram for providing state-of-the-art crash protection for both drivers and front passengers of their large pickup models,” says David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer. “As a group, however, the pickup class still has a lot of work to do.”

Ford PR rep and noted sender-of-tweets Mike Levine took the opportunity to poke his rivals at Chevrolet and GMC in the eye with this series of smack on Twitter this morning.

1/ It's time for a story about a heroic team of crazy smart engineers who used advanced materials and innovation to create the toughest, smartest and most capable light-duty pickup truck on the planet while a jealous competitor could only respond with envy and insults.

— Mike Levine (@mrlevine) March 21, 2019

Alert readers will note none of the half-ton trucks shown here are bestowed with the IIHS award of Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+. This is down to the performance of their headlamps and their illumination properties, or lack thereof. Absent of an Acceptable or Good rating in this test, no Top Pick designation will be given, no matter how well the rest of the truck performs.

Until then, we’ll just have to sit back and enjoy the smacktalk between crosstown rivals on Twitter.

[Images: IIHS]

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4 of 39 comments
  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 22, 2019

    Regarding the small overlap test: Would a larger grille help? ...ducks...

  • Akear Akear on Mar 22, 2019

    What is with all those poor structures ratings for GM trucks. They should stick to building cars.

    • See 1 previous
    • Akear Akear on Mar 22, 2019

      @Detroit-X I would say it is more of an organizational failure than anything to do with one individual. This is not good news for GM. GM's best vehicles are still cars. I think the overall excellence of the CT6, Volt, and Corvette back up this claim.

  • Kwik_Shift A nice stretch of fairly remote road that would be great for test driving a car's potential, rally style, is Flinton Road off of Highway 41 in Ontario. Twists/turns/dips/rises. Just hope a deer doesn't jump out at you. Also Highway 60 through Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario. Great scenery with lots of hills.
  • Saeed Hello, I need a series of other accessories from Lincoln. Do you have front window, front and rear lights, etc. from the 1972 and 1976 models
  • Probert Wow - so many digital renders - Ford, Stellantis. - whose next!!! They're really bringing it on....
  • Zerocred So many great drives:Dalton Hwy from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle.Alaska Marine Highway from Bellingham WA to Skagway AK. it was a multi-day ferry ride so I didn’t actually drive it, but I did take my truck.Icefields Parkway from Jasper AB to Lake Louise AB, CA.I-70 and Hwy 50 from Denver to Sacramento.Hwy 395 on the east side of the Sierras.
  • Aidian Holder I'm not interested in buying anything from a company that deliberately targets all their production in crappy union-busting states. Ford decided to build their EV manufaturing in Tennessee. The company built it there because of an anti-union legal environment. I won't buy another Ford because of that. I've owned four Fords to date -- three of them pickups. I'm shopping for a new one. It won't be a Ford Lightning. If you care about your fellow workers, you won't buy one either.