Last week we published a comprehensive table of 2011 pickup truck crash test ratings, and today we’ve got updated crash test results from the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) website detailing the crash test results of the Ford F-150.
While the 2011 F150 scored an overall crash test rating of 4 stars, the F-150 only scored 3 stars in frontal impacts, making it the second worst truck in terms of frontal impact safety among products for Chevy/GMC, Toyota, and Ram. Only the Ram 1500 scored worse – a paltry 2 stars. Fortunately for Ford, their strong performance in IIHS crash test studies seems to indicate that, overall, the F150 is comparably safe to the Tundra as well as trucks for Chevy and GMC.
Still, technically speaking,
the F150 did not perform as well as the Tundra in the NHTSA tests the F150 had a lower front impact score, but as noted by Tim in the comments, the F150 did slightly better than the Tundra in a couple of ways (albeit small ways)…so the performance is likely closer to “equal” between the Tundra and the F150 than it is towards the Tundra.
Die-hard Ford fans and industry observers alike (myself included) have been quick to give Ford credit for creating the Eco-Boost V6. What’s not to love about a fuel-efficient twin-turbo V6 with torque and horsepower figures that are comparable to a V8?
Indeed, Ford’s Eco-Boost has been considered the “next evolution” of truck engines because it’s becoming harder and harder for V8 engines to satisfy new fuel economy and emissions rules. Ford was very smart to bring the Eco-Boost to market, as they are ahead of the curve in terms of efficiency.
HOWEVER, many people (including myself) wondered if the Eco-Boost would be accepted by consumers. Considering today’s news that Ford is offering an extra $500 cash back on certain F150s with the EcoBoost engine, it sounds like consumers aren’t quite ready to jump on the twin-turbo V6 band wagon. At least not in their trucks.
The question: Is this about the EcoBoost, or is this about truck buyers?
Racing Accident Kills 8
First, my heart goes out to the friends and family of dozens of people today that were either killed, injured, or witness to a really awful racing accident. The video below tells the story:
The driver, according to a few opinions I trust, was doing what he was supposed to be doing (racing) and his truck got away from him. There are people trying to find someone to blame right now – the BLM, for example, has said that their use permit required drivers to slow to 15mph when they were within 50′ of spectators – but anyone who watches these races will tell you that’s a rule that is not followed. The fans were too close, and there are no easy answers as to how to solve this problem. Frankly, it’s a little surprising something like this hasn’t happened before.
Last week PickupTrucks.com published some spy photos of Ford’s 2011 V6 EcoBoost F150. The rumor is that the new engine will be a 3.5L V6 with a twin-turbo setup. Estimates are that this new V6 will have 400+ hp and 400+ lb-ft of torque, but that it will also get an EPA rating of 23 mpg on the highway.
While this new EcoBoost engine isn’t going to be “free” – it’s a premium option at this point with a hefty sticker price – it’s definitely the next killer app in pickups, and an indicator that the entire auto industry may use small-displacement motors with turbochargers to replace larger naturally aspirated motors.
However, as the comments in the PickupTrucks.com post point out, What about longevity and reliability?
A few months ago we posted an article about the 10 most outrageous truck quality problems of the last decade. In that article, we mentioned that some F150 owners had complained about exploding airbags. According to some 2005-2007 F150 owners, the driver’s airbag went off the minute the key was put into the ignition. While there are definitely some humorous aspects to this concept (talk about a bad way to start the day), it’s a serious issue. So serious, in fact, that NHTSA has expanded their investigation into these complaints.
As part of their decision to expand the investigation into the F150, NHTSA has released documents showing that a little more than 1.5 million F150’s made between 2004 and 2006 could have this problem.