Aluminum F-150 Garners More Safety Honor

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 4:44 PM

Ford and the Insurance Institute for Hwy Safety announced the two thousand sixteen Top Safety Choose award for the F-150 SuperCab variant in statements released early Tuesday.

Aluminum F-150 Garners More Safety Honor

Add the ’16 F-150 SuperCab extended cab to the list of Ford pickups meeting the insurance industry’s highest standard for crash safety.

Ford and the Insurance Institute for Hwy Safety announced the two thousand sixteen Top Safety Choose award for the F-150 SuperCab variant in statements released early Tuesday. The truck joins the Dearborn automaker’s F-150 SuperCrew 4-door model that earned the IIHS’ Top Safety Choose when it went into production in 2014.

To attain the higher rating for its SuperCab model, Ford added steel wheel-blocker bars and other countermeasures to the truck’s chassis to match those engineered into the SuperCrew from the outset. The bars prevent passenger-cabin intrusion in the IIHS small-overlap test.

“We spent thousands of hours engineering, designing and developing multiple safety features that work together in the event of an accident,” says Raj Nair, executive vice president-global product development and chief technical officer.

The small-overlap test, which was implemented in two thousand-twelfth, simulates a collision in which a vehicle runs off the road and hits a tree or pole or collides corner-to-corner with another vehicle. Trucks that score poorly suffer intrusion into the footwells that likely would cause severe ft and leg injuries.

For its two thousand sixteen ratings, the IIHS ran the test on seven ’16-model large pickups, evaluating both 4-door crew cab and the extended-cab variants with smaller rear doors and back seats, says Russ Radar, senior vice president-communications.

Three of the trucks earned acceptable or higher ratings, with the F-150 SuperCab receiving the highest Top Safety Choose rating while the Chevrolet Silverado one thousand five hundred Double Cab and Toyota Tundra Double Cab both earned Acceptable ratings. The Ram one thousand five hundred scored the lowest in the test.

Radar notes IIHS testing of more variants was prompted by learning only the SuperCrew version of the all-new aluminum-bodied ’15 F-150 was built with wheel blockers, while SuperCab and Regular Cab didn't proposal the same protection and didn't qualify for the same high rating.

Ford spokesman Michael Levine says the new test was introduced after development of the ’15 F-150 began, so the wheel blockers were added to the SuperCrew first because it's the highest-volume configuration. SuperCrew accounts for seventy-five percent of F-150 sales.

“With newly designed vehicles you've an advantage,” Radar notes.

Similarly, the new test was implemented several years after the current-generation Ram one thousand five hundred was introduced and just prior to the introduction of Common Motors’ Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks.

All were engineered without the crash protection required to score highly on the test, but FCA says every vehicle in its U. S. fleet meets or exceeds all relevant motor-vehicle safety standards.

“Our vehicles are designed for real-world performance and number single test determines overall real-world vehicle safety,” spokesman Eric Mayne says.

Extra development work was required to add the same protection in ’16 SuperCab and Regular Cab trucks, Levine says. Blocker bars in the ’16 Regular Cab should give it similar crashworthiness, however the IIHS didn't test that model and didn't issue a rating for it.

The wheel blockers add about thirty lbs. (13.6 kg) to each truck’s curb weight, with added cost built in to the vehicle’s base sticker price.

The crash ratings are significant because of the growing popularity of pickups, particularly large crew-cab models, for work and play, Levine notes. In addition to the IIHS award, the F-150 is the only fullsize, light-duty truck to earn a 5-star crash-test rating from NHTSA for all cab types.

Raul Arbelaez, vice president-IIHS Vehicle Research Center, says the tests indicate a largely aluminum truck can be engineered for safety.

“It turns out the Ford is the toughest out there, according to our test,” Arbelaez says.

bgritzinger@wardsauto. com

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