IIHS Testing Has Truckmakers Scrambling to Respond

F-150 SuperCrew 2015 crash side 1 II

The challenging small-overlap front crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (a third-party testing agency sponsored by the insurance industry) is shaking things up in the half-ton pickup truck world.

First announced to be a part of IIHS' new pickup testing regimen almost three years ago, the test replicates what happens when a vehicle's front corner clips a tree, pole or other vehicle at 40 mph. It has truckmakers scrambling to improve front-end and cab structural safety. The test — and truckmakers' response — is a big win for consumers because automakers don't redesign the structure of pickup trucks very often.

IIHS tests are important because the institute tests each vehicle configuration and measures side, roof crush and small overlap results. By contrast, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's safety tests are less comprehensive, with the rollover scoring done with a mathematical calculation.

IIHS' most recent safety tests yielded just one half-ton pickup — the 2016 Ford F-150 SuperCab and SuperCrew models — with a clean sweep of "Good" scores in all seven test categories, garnering it the Top Safety Pick for the segment when equipped with Ford's optional basic-rated forward collision warning system. IIHS tested two-wheel-drive models from Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, Ram and Toyota. The institute selects 4x2 models for testing because they are the most-purchased variant nationwide. It tested extended- and crew-cab models from those manufacturers with the exception of Ford; the Top Safety Pick rating for the 2015 SuperCrew model carries over to the 2016. For 2016, IIHS tested Ford's SuperCab version.

For the other brands the crew-cab models, with the larger roof and more glass, received worse overall ratings than their extended-cab counterparts. Three of the extended-cab models tested received acceptable overall ratings — Chevy Silverado 1500, GMC Sierra 1500 and Toyota Tundra — while the crew-cab models got a marginal rating. The Ram 1500 was the only pickup tested to receive a marginal rating overall as well as a poor rating in the structural category.

IIHS plans to test the 2017 Nissan Titan half-ton and the all-new 2017 Honda Ridgeline later this year, but does not have any other midsize pickups scheduled for testing at this time.

Here is the design status of each half-ton pickup and the truckmakers' official reactions to the IIHS report. Below, we've provided images of the actual crew cab test vehicles the IIHS crashed, both pre and post crash.



The Silverado 1500 was redesigned for the 2016 model year, which included structural front-end underbody changes, new headlight designs, grilles and hood shapes. GM is not commenting on the IIHS safety ratings.


You have to give credit to Ford for so quickly modifying its 2015 design. When it was discovered that the 2015 SuperCab models without the wheel-well support bars did not survive the small-overlap front crash test as well as the SuperCrew model (which had the wheel-well bars), Ford instantly made them standard on all regular-cab and SuperCab F-150s.


The Sierra 1500 also was redesigned for the 2016 model year, which included structural front-end underbody changes (identical to the Silverado 1500), new headlight designs, grilles, extra optional features and a new hood. GM is not commenting on the IIHS safety ratings.


The 2017 Titan half-ton is not due to go on sale until later this year and likely won't be tested by IIHS until late in 2017. We would expect the new Nissan to do well since Nissan has had the most time to create a new pickup design. A spokesman for Nissan sent us this: "Nissan does not release proprietary vehicle information that pertains to crash performance. The company designs and engineers all of its vehicles to perform well in a variety of third-party crash test studies in addition to meeting or exceeding our own strict, internal crash test standards.  We look forward to seeing the results of IIHS testing on TITAN and TITAN XD." 


Redesigned in 2013, just after IIHS came out with its new pickup truck testing guidelines that included the small-overlap front crash testing starting in the 2015 model year. A spokesman for Ram told PickupTrucks.com: "Our vehicles are designed for real-world performance and no single test determines overall, real-world vehicle safety. Every FCA [Fiat Chrysler Automobiles] U.S. vehicle meets or exceeds all applicable motor-vehicle safety standards."


The Tundra also was last refreshed in 2014 (like the Silverado and Sierra 1500s, but both of those models already have been updated) but nothing has been structurally changed since that time to better accommodate the IIHS small-overlap test. Toyota told us: "We are evaluating the test results with the goal of finding new ways to continuously improve the performance of the Toyota trucks and to further enhance the safety of our vehicles. Importantly, the Toyota trucks tested continue to meet or exceed all federally required motor vehicle safety standards."

IIHS images



Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab

Silverado crew crash 1 II

Silverado crew crash side II


Ford F-150 SuperCrew (2015)

F-150 2015 SuperCrew II

F-150 2015 SuperCrew side II



Ram 1500 Crew Cab

Ram Crew crash 1 II

Ram Crew crash 3 II


Toyota Tundra CrewMax

Tundra CrewMax crash 1 II

Tundra CrewMax side II

IIHS Half-Ton Crash Test Results


Everyone else other than Ford take note: GO MILITARY GRADE!

Mark the Ram was not redesigned in 2013, it got an update it was redesigned in 2009. It actually carried some parts since 1994 like the floor pan structure.

That Ram pic actually makes me sick to look at, geez man, you are cut off at the waste in that case, just bad.

An interesting test but a couple of key points to keep in mind:

First -- the "military grade" aluminum had NOTHING to do with it. The crumple zone and front support of the Ford are made with HIGH STRENGTH HYDROFORMED STEEL so that is where the protection comes from. It still performed better than the competitors but the Ford fans who are saying it was because of the aluminum are spreading misinformation.

Second -- note that the SuperCab only got all "Good" ratings WHEN EQUIPPED WITH THE OPTIONAL COLLISION WARNING SYSTEM. They didn't test one without it so we don't know how that one would have held up. They also didn't test GM or Ram trucks WITH it so we don't know how those would have performed either.

A followup story posted today elsewhere on how bad the RAM did, and people should be concern that buy them. Just reporting the news. Say your excuses...

LOL at the Fiat hairdresser whip. What a joke.
Good thing the ladies have smaller legs, they won't miss them!

The aluminum most certainily had something to do with the crash test.... The extended cab gm used in the test was 497 lbs heavier than the extended cab ford. Due to the aluminum the ford had to dissipate 497 pounds less of weight travelling at 40 mph.... That is alot!!!!! Of energy the gm had to displace. That is why the crew cab gm did worse than the double cab was extra weight the crew had to dissipate.... Weights as tested are available on iihs website in the technical data of these test... Its not the common misinformation spread that typical involves the ford is only a few pounds lighter.

Collission alert is a chime and seat vibrating warning.... Has no effect in this test as gm has the collision alert as wellto achieve its ratings.

Scott, good point the weight issue is a no brainer, seems like more of an excuse to try to tear apart the military grade(meaning the truck in general not just because its aluminum) number 1 truck

It looks like the big difference in GM and Toyota vs Ford is the front wheel stays in place. So, Ford isn't necessarily any stronger it's just the front wheel is designed (I assume) to break away. Point being it's probably an easy fix for GM and Toyota.

Without the forward warning system it still would have held up the same. They just give you 1 point for having a forward warning sytem.

A lot of the Ram and Ford fans said the aluminum trucks were not safe. The crash tests are further proof the F-150 is not only lighter and more fuel efficient, but also safer. They added the steel tubes in front but they also added added aluminum rocker panels on the sides that help absorb energy from a crash. Ford also added nylon reinforcements to the door hinges. With those enhancements, both versions of the F-150 now have the institute’s highest safety rating of “good.” So it wasn't just all steel. The dopes from Ram said just use steel and they were safer. Those kind of low tech solutions don't work. The Ram and GM fans who are saying it was just because of steel are spreading misinformation.

Wouldn't it be smarter by the automakers to just ensure the vehicle deflects away? Overall less energy going into the passenger cage if it does as the energy is bled off over a longer distance.

Why is Hegbloom sweating so much? I've never seen a CEO sweat so much.

People 'military grade' is marketing BS. There is no such thing as 'military grade' there is mil spec but even that doesn't translate into 'tough'. The military doesn't always spec out the latest and greatest stuff. In a lot of cases military specs are antiquated.

Ford uses the same aluminum that it used throughout the auto industry. It's probably called out in a military spec somewhere and volia Ford is 'military grade'.

Well, non of you drive this new ford yet, so drive safely with your old one please.

Ford paid for this test!

To all the idiots who have commented that the Aluminum F-150 Cab was why it did well in the test, think again... There are lots of Steel bodied Cars out there that received Good Pick ratings from the IIHS for these same tests. Therefore, one can deduce that to pass the IIHS test, it comes down to good design and use of the right materials in the right places that will get a good result.

The Generation 1 Volvo XC90 met most of the current IIHS crash tests back in 2003. Remember the F-150 uses a steel chassis, which probably takes a major portion of the impact.
I've added a link to two videos on youtube where one can see good design practices at work thanks to Volvo..



Ford was plane lucky in the timing of the redesign. The test was announced almost 3 years ago. The new GM twins came to market about the same time as the announce test, the design was already in place. Ford had another year and a half to work on the steel crash bars to help make the grade.

Good job Ford for FIXING a very POOR crash test result of these new trucks (extended cab version) immediately. I also think its a bit shady that Ford only changed them AFTER the reports came out and didnt make them that way initially (the 2015's), too bad for all those that have 15's and are still buying them. How Ford could have let all those trucks out without it is perplexing, surely they had an idea ......

As for aluminum helping/hurting.....less weight helped it against a stationary object - where its own inertia is important - but.....will HURT it against another vehicle that weighs more (like a Ram or GM or Toyota or Nissan), physics cant be denied.

GM performed pretty well with only minor foot/lower leg performance in this toughest of tests - i hope GM will make some minor improvements to improve that blemish in the otherwise very good performance. The others honestly need some pretty serious improvements .

I agree, Ford was just lucky to be #1 in sales for 2016
I agree, Ford was just lucky to be #1 in IIHS safety rating.
I agree, Ford was just lucky to be #1 in using Military Grade Aluminum
I agree, Ford was just lucky to be #1 for 39 years in sales.

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Apr 13, 2016 9:24:10 AM
Posted by: Jim | Apr 13, 2016 7:51:15 AM
Posted by: Jack | Apr 13, 2016 8:57:50 AM

Those pictures tell a story, Ram won't likely lose many sales over this but they did lose one. I was highly considering a ecodiesel because they are being offered locally with over $11,000 off. I'm going to wait another 2 years, see what Ford offers in regards to diesel. My 2008 Tundra protects better than the 2016 Ram, may as well stay with it.

@ Blueman : geez man, breath will ya. Your face is beginning to turn blue .

I'd be hard pressed to make a comment as well knowing that I build inferior products. LMAO @ General Motors. :(

agree, Ford was just lucky to be #1 in sales for 2016
I agree, Ford was just lucky to be #1 in IIHS safety rating.
I agree, Ford was just lucky to be #1 in using Military Grade Aluminum
I agree, Ford was just lucky to be #1 for 39 years in sales.

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Apr 13, 2016 9:24:10 AM
Posted by: Jim | Apr 13, 2016 7:51:15 AM
Posted by: Jack | Apr 13, 2016 8:57:50 AM

Posted by: blueman | Apr 13, 2016 9:53:07 AM

- GM leads truck sales in 2015 and 2016. Get your facts correct.
- Military Grade aluminum is just a marketing gimmick like the old "ford, quality is job one" slogan. Yeah, I know 20 years latter and it still makes me laugh. LOL
- yes, ford had a timing advantage, as they are always following GM.

The most telling part of the pictures seem to be the windshield. They are all buckled and severely fractured, except the Ford it appears to be physically in the same place with just spiderweb fractures. The differences between the Crew cabs and extended cabs are stunning. Even the Ram extended cab did visually better than the crew, though not much.

^^ Debbie Downer over still trying to push his propaganda.

Nobody cares what you have to say. You keep making GM look like a bunch of 'tards.

Keep up the good work GMSRSHITTY

No idea if they will test the XD diesel, I'll go on record that at 7100 lbs empty weight, it won't do well. The regular Titan should do well as the Fords if Nissan was minding the development as well as they should have been.

IIHS needs to test the Colorado and the new Tacoma

2015 aluminum F-150 scored Marginal in small overlap test.
How can this be true?
Ford added steel posts to 2016 models to fix the safety problem.
Why not use aluminum?
Ford = MARGINAL Grade Aluminum

That's it, I'm buying a Ford. That way when the IIHS comes out with their new float test, my F-150 will be lighter than everyone else and I won't sink as fast, therefore I can claim a safer truck.
Point is, this small overlap test has been out for a couple years only. Most everyone is still riding their old frames and bodies from well before this test came out. I am sure the Ford guys will complain as soon as everyone else gets a G rating they copied Ford!

Remember all the gripes about insurance rates going up because of the aluminium truck? Well that sure turned out wrong. Biggest expense for an insurance company after an accident is the medical bill. That guy in the ram if he survives at all is likely to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Notice these tests are funded by insurance companies? After this I wouldn't be surprised if Ford ends up having the cheapest truck to insure. probably not by a lot but the gripes about insurance were totally wrong.

Not just steel. Ford added steel blockers, nylon hinges, and more aluminum on the sides. Try to keep up now. Ram added more low tech steel and was still poor.

@ montards
Gm just barely redesigned their truck one year before ford did. It will likely be a long time for them to catch up. Also the previous f150 always did relatively well in crash tests and that basic design was adopted for the 2009 model year. Little doubt the previous generation ford is safer than the current ram and probably the current chevy. The previous generation Chevy received a marginal rating on the moderate front overlap test while the ford received good ratings in all categories.

Actually the basic structure of previous generation ford goes all the way back to 2004

I am thinking to buy this aftermarket front blocker and weld extra bracket behind it to make it light , but one solid closed steel beam to transfer all the forces to the main frame. That wold past this test and move that barrier a bit probably.

Which one do you think looks the best ? I don't want to disappoint you.




- GM leads truck sales in 2015 and 2016. Get your facts correct.
- Military Grade aluminum is just a marketing gimmick like the old "ford, quality is job one" slogan. Yeah, I know 20 years latter and it still makes me laugh. LOL
- yes, ford had a timing advantage, as they are always following GM.

Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Apr 13, 2016 10:41:37 AM

Yea buddy. You go freind. Ford Suck. Ram sucks. GM is king of all trucks. Safest truck in the world. IN THE WORLD. Ford paid the insurance company to write that report. They are wrong. That GM truck broke their concrete wall and did not have a scratch on the truck. That is how good GM is. Plus GM uses a 6.2L V8. That is a V8 baby. So much power it just scared on coming traffic so they don't hit you. That is the strongest engine in the world. IN THE WORLD. Keep preaching GM brother!

Actually yes, as much as people hate hearing about Ford's aluminum, it has a lot to do with these crashes. The cab is made out of aluminum too, I think entirely. If you look at that steel cab design Chevy keeps touting as better to trust your life with, the steel is broken in front, meaning any more force than what was applied has little stopping it's penetration into the cabin. Whereas, the aluminum cab appears to just have some rippling and flexing.
The level line on top of the cabs tells the story. But this is all influenced by the force absorption of everything in front of the cab so maybe Ford just had a superior design that did a better job limiting the force to the cab frame.

So the F150 crewcab didn't do as good as the supercab so it's not on the chart above because it would look bad.

From Ram, with Love

Sung to the tune of Sinatra singing " High Hopes "...

" Ooops there goes another body part "
" Ooops there goes another body part "...

@ooxxii - to Toyota's credit they did say they are looking at the test results and will take measures to improve. GM declined and Ram came up with excuses just like the fanboys here.

@ Beebe

I did go back and look at the previous generation F-150. they received the same rating on the same tests as the Ram, Chevy, and Tundra. The small overlap test however, first showed up in 2015. Just like when the first overlap test showed up, automakers scrambled to find a fix. And fix it they all did. Now it is a "small overlap test." GM did not offer any feedback. Ram said they are compliant with Government crash tests. Toyota said the same. THEY WILL ALL FIX IT AND PASS IN TIME. Until then, Ford can make a new commercial about this.

"You have to give credit to Ford for so quickly modifying its 2015 design. When it was discovered that the 2015 SuperCab models without the wheel-well support bars did not survive the small-overlap front crash test as well as the SuperCrew model (which had the wheel-well bars), Ford instantly made them standard on all regular-cab and SuperCab F-150s."

Once Ford knew they couldn't skid by half-assing and cost cutting the extended cab design, they had to "scramble" to fix the mistake.

@Ram - adding a heavy bumper can make it worse. You then have more energy transferred directly to the frame and to the passenger cabin. The human body can only survive a direct impact/deceleration force equivalent to 30 kph or from a 20 foot fall. There does not need to be direct impact with the human body. A rigid bumper might reduce the crumple zone but it will increase the transfer of forces to occupants.

There are three separate collisions in a crash.

1. Vehicle to vehicle or vehicle to object.
2. Human occupant to vehicle either direct contact to vehicle components or indirectly through restraint devices.
3. internal organs moving within body cavity striking skeletal structure and/or anchor points.

Deceleration forces need to be reduced to the point where internal organs and structures within the body can survive. The other point is a structure needs to allow for "room to live". i.e. not impact or crush the human occupant.

@ Montands - Ford won't need to make a commercial. It was all over the evening news last night but I'm sure Ford will take full advantage of it.

Why does GM not have any iihs data for 2007-2013? That entire generation of pickups are unaccounted for.

**Extended cab**

I want to see some Heavy duty bloated whale trucks do the small overlap test, those heavy trucks should make for great video.

I'd bet the Super Duty wouldn't fare too well since it is the oldest basic structure, basically dating back to the early 2000's.

A agree with John. However, I personally do not like the small overlap test for one reason-the structure hit never moves. How likely would it be the light pole, or brick building would move or fall? The way the test is setup now would be the worst case scenario.


If you had one bit of knowledge on the Ford, you should know IT'S NOT THE SAME TRUCK FROM 2000!

How's that possible that Chevy & GMC trucks failed the crash test????

I remember seeing the GM truck commercial in front of Navy Sub. Saying that the GM trucks were using same thick steel that was being use for the haul of the Sub.

Unless GM got there steel from Subway. LOL

real life Silverado crash test. ps please wear your seat belt! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GEnHdJmIL8

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