IIHS Front Crash “Best Picks”

  • 2004 F-150 is a “best pick” in IIHS frontal crash test; the first pickup truck to receive this honor
  • 2004 Ford Freestar is a “best pick” in IIHS frontal crash test
  • 2004 Mercury Monterey is a “best pick” in IIHS frontal crash test

NHTSA Front Crash “5 Stars

  • 2004 Ford Freestar earns five stars for driver and front passenger in NHTSA frontal crash test
  • 2004 Mercury Monterey earns five stars for driver and front passenger in NHTSA frontal crash test

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 19, 2003 – The all-new 2004 Ford F-150 pickup truck and the new Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey minivans received “good” rankings and were named “best picks” in the most recent round of high-speed frontal offset crash testing performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) – the institute’s highest possible rating.

The F-150 is the first, and only, pickup truck to receive a “best pick” in the high-speed frontal offset crash category.

In addition to the IIHS high-speed frontal offset crash test rankings, the 2004 Freestar and Mercury Monterey also achieved the highest government rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for frontal crash safety by receiving five stars for both driver and right front passenger positions. The new F-150 will be tested next year.

“The new F-150 has proven itself in our most extensive impact testing ever for a truck,” said Steve Lyons, president of Ford Division. “The 2004 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey add new technologies designed to further improve on Ford Motor Company’s leadership for safe minivans.”

IIHS’ frontal offset crash test is one of the most demanding tests of a vehicle’s structure. During the test, a vehicle is crashed at 40 mph into a deformable barrier on the driver’s side only, rather than the full-frontal impact. Therefore, a much smaller area of the vehicle’s front-end structure must dissipate all of the impact energy.

According to IIHS, the “good” rating for the F-150, Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey mean that in a real-world crash of similar severity, belted occupants would likely walk away escaping serious injury. A “best pick” recommendation by IIHS means the ve
hicle performed exceptionally well in all phases of the test and is at the top of the vehicle segment.

2004 FORD F-150

The new F-150 has been designed, engineered and manufactured to be a breakthrough product that resets the competitive benchmark within the full-size pickup truck segment. One of the product areas key to this effort is safety. The 2004 F-150 has been developed with a dedicated focus on safety, making it the safest F-150 ever, as is evidenced from the enhancements below:

  • Crash-optimized structure: If a collision is unavoidable, the new F-150 helps to protect its occupants with a structure designed to help absorb and dissipate crash energy and maintain the occupant compartment integrity.

    • Strong hydroformed front frame rails are built with computer-designed front horns, that fold accordion-style during an impact, to help manage and absorb crash forces.
    • A wave pattern was stamped into the front horns, tailoring the shape and wall thickness to create trigger points where the frame sections would begin to collapse to absorb the crash energy efficiently.
    • The front frame rails extend through cutouts in the fully boxed bumper beam to its front face, where they are welded in place, providing maximum crush space.
    • A rugged steel platform beneath the cabin and special reinforcements on the frame rails further improve the frame’s stiffness.
    • The F-150’s nine-times stiffer, fully boxed frame, in combination with the outstanding body structure, includes stiffer door openings, doorsills, and underbody structure. Combined, these help to help preserve occupant compartment integrity during the severe front offset crash test.
    • Restraint systems: Advanced restraints provide additional occupant protection, which now includes passenger occupant classification as part of more than a dozen elements that make up the Personal Safety SystemÔ .

    • Passenger Occupant Classification allows the passenger airbag to be turned-off when a small child is present or when the passenger seat is not occupied.
    • Frontal air bags offer deployment levels to tailor inflation force based on the severity of the crash, driver and passenger safety belt use, driver seat position and passenger classification.
    • Three-point belts at all outboard seating positions and a three-point belt in the center rear seating position of the SuperCab and SuperCrew models.
    • Belt pretensioners pull the lap and shoulder belts tighter during a crash.
    • Load-limiting retractors release shoulder belt material as appropriate to reduce peak energy forces and help ease occupants to a stop.
    • Adjustable head restraints at all outboard seating positions.

  • Beltminder: A vehicle occupant’s best line of defense in crashes remains the safety belt. Ford Motor Company’s industry-leading technology reminds the driver and front-seat passenger to buckle up by sounding a gentle tone and displaying an icon on the instrument panel.
  • Child passenger safety: All new F-150 trucks have three sets of LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) fixtures and top tether anchors across the rear seat of SuperCab and SuperCrew models, and a top tether anchor on the front passenger seat. Regular Cab models have both LATCH lower anchors and a top tether anchor on the front passenger seat.
  • In addition to its emphasis on safety, the new 2004 F-150 extends its segment leadership through major improvements in several areas including capability, driving dynamics and interior design, and offers the industry’s widest variety of configurations.


    Major safety features of the new 2004 Ford Freestar and Mercury Monterey include:

    • The standard Personal Safety System™ incorporates passenger-weight-sensing technology designed to automatically deactivate the front passenger air bag when the seat is empty or occupied by a small child. This tailors the response of the restraints systems to particular crash factors and helps Freestar and Monterey earn excellent ratings in frontal crash tests.
    • An available segment-exclusive Safety Canopy™ side curtain air bag
      system offers protection in side impact collisions and rollovers for all three rows of seating. For front seat passengers, the protection of the Safety Canopy™ is complemented by seat-mounted side impact air bags.
    • Freestar and Monterey will offer AdvanceTrac™, an electronic stability enhancement system that continuously checks the vehicle’s path compared with the driver’s input. If a deviation is detected, AdvanceTrac™ intervenes to help restore stability.
    • Larger, four-wheel disc brakes with anti-lock control and electronic brake-force distribution are standard. AdvanceTrac™-equipped models also have Panic Brake Assist, which can help reduce stopping distances in a panic stop.
    • The front structural rails have been engineered with laser welds on their outer surfaces to help Freestar and Monterey to achieve an excellent result in offset crash tests.

    • Three-point seat belts – an occupant’s best line of defense in crashes – are standard in all seating positions. The belt for the center position in the third row retracts into the roof panel when not in use.