Ford has earned a “Top Safety Pick” rating for its updated 2018 F-150, but failed to achieve the organization’s coveted “Top Safety Pick+” award due to a “Poor” rating for headlight performance. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the base halogen headlights fell short due to “inadequate visibility in all scenarios.” The optional LED headlights improved visibility, but the IIHS found that the low beams created excessive glare for oncoming drivers.
When equipped with the optional automatic emergency braking system, the F-150 fares well in five IIHS crashworthiness tests: driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. Plus, the automatic braking system gets a “Superior” rating for front crash prevention. Crew cab and the extended cab versions met the criteria when equipped with optional front crash prevention. The F-150 also avoided collisions in IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph.
Ford is, apparently, not alone when it comes to headlight issues and IIHS testing. A quick glance at primary full-size truck competitors showed that most received “Acceptable” ratings at best, and when equipped with optional headlights. In fact, both the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Toyota Tundra also received a “Poor” rating for headlight performance, while the Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan are rated “Marginal” in certain configurations. The GMC Sierra gets an “Acceptable” rating with its upgraded headlight option.
Of all the pickup trucks evaluated by the IIHS, the only one to score a “Good” headlight rating is the Honda Ridgeline, making it the only truck to receive a “Top Safety Pick+” designation.
Note that within its competitive segment only the Ford F-150 scores a “Good” rating in the IIHS small front overlap test*. This is especially important on, say, a Friday night, after dark, on a rural two-lane in west Texas, when the drunk in the oncoming vehicle crosses the double-yellow line and plows into your front left corner. All other full-size truck models fail to get the highest rating for safety in this type of collision.
The new rating only applies to SuperCab (extended cab) and SuperCrew (crew cab) models equipped with optional front crash prevention technology, and is only valid for the 2017 calendar year. Starting in 2018, vehicles must also excel in a new small overlap test conducted on the right side of the vehicle, which, ironically, became a new mandate after the IIHS discovered that 2017 F-150 models did not initially provide the same level of protection for drivers as passengers.