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

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

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]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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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.

  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.
  • Grant P Farrell If you floor it in the new model (the only way to experience the extra horsepower) your not getting anywhere near the best fuel economy. So you can get the same mpg as a 20 year old car, or drive fast but not both at the same time.