The safest truck on the road for 2016 is the Ford F-150, findings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety show.
The F-150 was the only pickup out of seven tested that got the institute’s prestigious Top Safety Pick rating, when fitted with the optional forward collision warning system.
Both the SuperCab and the SuperCrew versions of the vehicle now qualify for the rating.
This was the first time the IIHS has tested the two most popular models of each truck, after the SuperCab was found to be less safe than its SuperCrew counterpart in 2015 in the ‘small overlap’ crash test.
The ‘small overlap’ test is extremely important as it replicates what would happen if a vehicle crashed into a telegraph pole or a tree after leaving the road, or clipping another vehicle coming in the opposite direction.
The F-150 received the top ‘Good’ rating in all seven of the areas tested in the ‘small overlap’ test – from structural damage to injuries received by a dummy inside the car.
It was the only truck to receive an overall ‘good’ rating in the ‘small overlap’ test. It was also the only vehicle to receive a ‘good’ rating when looking at damage done to the dummy’s lower leg and foot.
All other trucks received a poor rating in this area.
IIHS Research Center vice president Raul Arbelaez said: “We commend Ford for taking last year’s test results to heart and upgrading protection.”
The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Double Cab, GMC Sierra 1500 Double Cab and the Toyota Tundra Double Cab were all joint second in terms of safety.
However the Crew Cab versions of the Silverado and Sierra, and the CrewMax version of the Tundra, did slightly worse in structural tests.
The worst performing truck was the Ram 1500 Crew Cab, which received ‘poor’ ratings in two out of the seven areas tested in the ‘small overlap’ test, as well as one ‘marginal rating’ and one ‘acceptible’ rating.
This means it only got a ‘good’ rating in fewer than half the areas tested.
The Ram 1500 Quad Cab, was only marginally better — and was the second-worst performing truck.
You can see the full results in the table below (the F-150 SuperCrew was tested in 2015, which is why it doesn’t appear on the table).
Crew cab trucks, such as the F-150 SuperCrew, have four normal-sized doors and two proper rows of seats, while extended cab trucks, like the SuperCab, have smaller doors at the rear and the second row of seats are more compact than in a crew cab.
While crew cab and extended cab versions of some of the models differed in the level of structural damage they received during testing, both versions of the worst-performing Ram 1500 received a ‘poor’ rating for structure.
This can be seen in the pictures of the tests below, where the bodywork in the Ram, left, is crumpled much more in the drivers’ compartment than on the F-150, right, which is almost untouched.
The instrument panel, steering wheel and front door pillar are all moved significantly towards the driver, while the lower leg area was also significantly impacted.
Arbelaez said: “Drivers in these pickups would need help freeing their legs from the wreckage following a small overlap crash. We encourage manufacturers to redesign their pickups to resist intrusion in the lower occupant compartment to safeguard people from serious leg and foot injuries that might require months of rehabilitation.”