PhotoThe results are in for the new round of crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and three out of seven large pickup trucks evaluated earned an acceptable or higher rating for occupant protection in a small overlap front crash.

Two body styles of each 2016 model-year pickup (crew cab and extended cab) were included in the tests. Crew cabs have four full doors and two full rows of seating. Extended cabs have two full front doors, two smaller rear doors and compact second-row seats.

Top marks for Ford

By improving the 2016 model F-150 SuperCab, Ford clinched a good rating in the small overlap crash test -- up from the 2015 model’s marginal rating. The F-150 is the only large pickup in the latest test group to earn the test's top rating. It joins the F-150 SuperCrew in earning a 2016 TOP SAFETY PICK award when equipped with Ford’s optional basic-rated forward collision warning system.

“Ford is leading the way among large pickup manufacturers when it comes to protecting people in a range of crashes and offering technology to warn drivers of imminent frontal crashes,” said Raul Arbelaez, vice president of the IIHS Vehicle Research Center. “We commend Ford for taking last year’s test results to heart and upgrading protection for SuperCab occupants in small overlap crashes.”

Vehicles that earn a basic rating for front crash prevention in addition to good ratings in the small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint evaluations qualify for TOP SAFETY PICK. To qualify for 2016 TOP SAFETY PICK+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the five crashworthiness tests and an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.

The also-rans

Differences were observed in performance between the extended-cab and crew-cab versions of two other pickups. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Double Cab and the Toyota Tundra Double Cab both earned an acceptable rating for occupant protection in a small overlap crash. Survival space for the driver in these extended-cab pickups was maintained reasonably well overall, contributing to their acceptable ratings for structure.

The story was different for the larger crew cabs. The Silverado 1500 Crew Cab and the Tundra CrewMax earned a marginal rating in the small overlap front test. Both models had considerable intrusion into the occupant compartment that compromised survival space for the driver.

Ratings for both of the Silverado pickups extend to their GMC Sierra 1500 twins.

The worst-performing pickups in the small overlap test are the Ram 1500 Crew Cab and the Ram 1500 Quad Cab. Both earned a marginal rating overall and a poor rating for structure. The force of the crash pushed the door-hinge pillar, instrument panel, and steering column back toward the driver dummy. In the Ram Crew Cab test, the dummy’s head contacted the front airbag but rolled around the left side as the steering column moved to the right, allowing the head to approach the intruding windshield pillar.

IIHS plans to test the redesigned 2016 Nissan Titan and Honda Ridgeline later this year. The 2015 Titan Crew Cab is rated as good in the moderate overlap front test, acceptable for roof strength, and good for head restraints. The Ridgeline was last sold as a 2014 model. It earns good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint evaluations.

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