Ford says 31 safety-related improvements and innovations helped the new full-size pickup earn the coveted crash rating. A 12-corner front crush horn was among them, which manages crash forces to ensure the frame buckles in the right spots and in a predictable fashion. They also added in another crossmember for increased rigidity and used more high strength steel in the truck’s construction.
“The team had to invent new ways to manage crash energy, because advanced materials like high-strength steel behave differently,” said Ford truck safety manager Matt Niesluchowski.“We found that changing certain shapes led to a weight reduction, while also improving crash performance.”
There’s also new safety features in the 2015 F-150 designed to prevent a crash before it happens. An adaptive steering system will self-adjust its energy management depending on the driver’s size and safety belt usage, while ‘Curve Control’, will self adjust the vehicle’s speed if it senses the truck is going too fast for a curve or corner. There’s also adaptive cruise control and collision warning, a lane-keeping system and active park assist.
The NHTSA rating is surely welcome news for Ford, but we doubt they were surprised by the result. The engineering team behind the new F-150 started developing the truck with supercomputers and ran virtual crash tests before the first vehicle was even built, ensuring it would perform as designed in the event of an accident.