Ford F-150 SuperCab Takes Top Crash Test Award

Only Ford F-150 SuperCab earns "good" rating in frontal crash tests out of several large trucks.

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— The 2016 Ford F-150 SuperCab is the only large truck to rate "good" in the small overlap crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). According to the Institute, the latest battery of tests took its toll on some of the most popular large pickup trucks released for 2016.

The small overlap crash test is conducted by replicating what happens when the front corner of a car collides with another vehicle or object. It's more demanding than a head-on crash test because the small overlap test makes 25 percent of the front-end on the driver's side hit a rigid barrier at 40 mph.

Ratings are broken down into four categories: Good, acceptable, marginal and poor.

IIHS tested two body styles of 2016 models. The crew cab, trucks with four full doors and two rows of seating, and the extended cab, trucks equipped with two full front doors, two smaller rear doors and compact second-row seats.

The following trucks were part of the tests, all 2016 models:

  • Ford F-150 SuperCab
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Double Cab
  • GMC Sierra 1500 Double Cab
  • Toyota Tundra Double Cab
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab
  • GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab
  • Toyota Tundra CrewMax
  • Ram 1500 Quad Cab
  • Ram 1500 Crew Cab

The only truck to earn a "Top Safety Pick" award is the Ford F-150 SuperCab which earned good ratings in all five crash tests and also has an available forward collision warning system.

Automakers have been quick to make design changes to their vehicles to receive better ratings in the IIHS crash tests, and Ford is a good example.

The 2015 Ford F-150 SuperCab previously had problems with the overlap test and received only a "marginal" rating. However, the automaker made improvements to the structure for the 2016 model, something that earned the truck the only "good" rating in the overlap test for this latest round of tests.

The larger crew cabs, the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab and the Tundra CrewMax, earn a marginal rating in the small overlap front test based on considerable intrusion into the occupant compartment that compromised the survival space for the driver.

IIHS crash testing shows the trucks that had the biggest problems with the small overlap test were the 2016 Ram 1500 Crew Cab and the Ram 1500 Quad Cab, both which earn an overall "marginal" rating and a "poor" rating for structure.

Specifically, the head of the test dummy hit the front airbag of the Ram 1500 Crew Cab, but the dummy's head went off the left side of the airbag because the steering column moved to the right.

Other than the F-150, each truck experienced moderate to severe intrusion into the footwell area, something that caused the brake pedal, parking brake and/or lower dashboard to shove against the dummy's lower legs. In both the Ram Crew Cab and Ram Quad Cab, the intrusion reached 16-17 inches. Measurements taken from the dummy indicated a likelihood of serious lower leg, ankle and foot injuries.

Tests for roof strength had the Ford F-150 SuperCab, both Silverados and the Tundra Double Cab trucks earning good ratings in a rollover crash. "Acceptable" roof strength test results were awarded to the Toyota Tundra CrewMax, while both the Ram 1500s were rated "marginal."

Researchers say 44 percent of deaths that occur in pickup trucks are caused by rollover accidents, so keeping the roof from collapsing during a rollover is imperative. To make matters worst, truck occupants are least likely to wear seat belts in trucks and strong roofs can help protect those occupants from being ejected in a crash.

IIHS says it plans to test the 2016 Nissan Titan and Honda Ridgeline later this year.

Small overlap front crash test ratings for large pickups (Overall test ratings)

  • Ford F-150 SuperCab: Good
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Double Cab: Acceptable
  • GMC Sierra 1500 Double Cab: Acceptable
  • Toyota Tundra Double Cab: Acceptable
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab: Marginal
  • GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab: Marginal
  • Toyota Tundra CrewMax: Marginal
  • Ram 1500 Quad Cab: Marginal (Rates 'poor' in structural test)
  • Ram 1500 Crew Cab: Marginal (Rates 'poor' in structural test)

Read more about crash testing and crashworthiness.