IIHS Testing Shows Aluminum as Safe as Steel
News was made last week when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) released their findings from their battery of tests for the 2015 Ford F-150. The SuperCrew version of the pickup truck earned the company’s coveted Top Safety Pick award. This should put to rest the question on whether or not aluminum is as safe as steel.
In fact, IIHS chief research officer David Zuby said as much;
Consumers who wondered whether the aluminum-body F-150 would be as crashworthy as its steel-body predecessor can consider the question answered.
Many cars use aluminum in part of their design, but the 2015 F-150 was the first vehicle to have so much of the stuff. Ford went to great lengths to ensure that their truck, made with an aluminum body, would perform as well as the previous generation steel body.
We reported last week that the 2015 SuperCrew performed better in the IIHS’ small overlap test than the SuperCab configuration. The SuperCrew, which makes up for 83% of 2015 F-150 retail sales has steel countermeasures in place to assist in a small overlap crash. Ford is working to implement similar countermeasures in the SuperCab and regular cab trucks.
What should be noted is that these countermeasures that Ford is using are attached to the steel frame of the truck, and not the aluminum. It stands to reason that Ford will use a similar setup on the other trucks. We highly doubt that the changes will affect the aluminum of the truck at all.
So what does that mean? It means that the aluminum body of the truck responds as well in a crash as steel, and didn’t affect how the truck responded in a crash as performed by the IIHS.
The 2015 F-150 also has a litany of additional safety features to prevent an accident from happening in the first place. Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert helps you from side-swiping a car or getting smashed in a parking lot. Active lane keeping prevents your truck from swaying into another lane.
We had all of those options and more in our latest review sample 2015 F-150 Platinum, and found them to be effective and not-intrusive (until they needed to be). The only thing keeping the F-150 from being a Top Safety Pick+ is that the truck doesn’t have a fully-autonomous braking system available. It does, however, have red flashing lights in a heads-up display that will warn you of an impending crash with hopefully enough time to mash the brake pedal.
At the end of the day, that’s the most important. It’s important that you prevent the crash to begin with, which saves lives, time, and money. The 2015 F-150 has more of those available safety features than the competition, and a 5-star NHTSA and Top Safety Pick title to help if the worst does actually happen.
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