Fifteen years ago, the IIHS tested the Ford F-150, and the results were horrifying. How does that same model do today?
The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) ran the same test on the same model Ford truck with very different results fifteen years apart. The test shown below is the Moderate Front Overlap crash test. It slams a vehicle into a deformable barrier at 40 mph. This is the “Easy” front crash test that IIHS runs. The reason it is considered easy is that fully 40% of the vehicle’s front structure is involved in the crash. The harder test reduces that area to just 25% of the front corner, concentrating the crash energy.
As you can see in the above “poor” crash-test result from 2001, the Ford F-150 is an example of what automakers were designing in the years prior to the safety race. The front folds on impact and the passenger compartment is compromised. The most telling failure is the folding of the A-pillar and door frame.
Inside, the dummy’s head is thrown forward and then around the cabin. The F-150’s structure is so weak the vehicle actually bends in the middle. Incredibly, the cargo bed and also the drive shaft (or is it the exhaust?) are bent. Imagine the results if that cargo bed had been full of cinder blocks.
Every automaker has made significant improvements in crash safety since this test, but the 2016 Ford F-150 clearly illustrates just how much things have changed. Note that there is now a window curtain airbag.
See also that the crash energy is absorbed by the front end of the truck; there is zero intrusion into the passenger cabin. The A-pillar and door frame remain unscathed. The body remains undamaged past the front fender. Even the 2016 F-150’s hood seems to rise above it all. Underneath, we can see that the frame appears to be left unbent.
This comparison illustrates exactly why IIHS does what it does.
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