The all-new aluminum-bodied 2015 Ford F-150 crew cab recently received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s 2015 Top Safety Pick award; however, the extended cab version struggled in an important small overlap crash test. While crew cab versions of the F-150 earned solid ratings for occupant protection in all five IIHS crashworthiness evaluations, extended cab versions earned good ratings in four out of five assessments, but only managed a marginal rating in a key small overlap front crash.

Why were two F-150s evaluated? In an article published by IIHS on July 30, the Institute stated it picked the F-150 to test because it is not only the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., but also the first mass-market vehicle with an all-aluminum body. The Institute said that for vehicles with multiple body styles, it typically evaluates the one with the most sales, which initially was only the crew cab version of the truck.

 "After we tested the crew cab in the spring, questions were raised about the extended cab's ability to match the crew cab's good small overlap performance. We did some initial analysis and decided to test the extended cab, too," said David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer.

Ford plans on adding countermeasures in the extended and regular cab versions of the F-150 in the 2016 model year, which should help align crash test results across the entire F-150 model lineup.