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  1. #1
    CPS Technician
    Join Date
    Feb 2003

    Ford Freestar, F-150 crash test ratings

    My husband e-mailed me this, and in turn I kindly pointed out the "Forrester" error in the second graf.

    WASHINGTON (AP) _ Ford Motor Co.'s new F-150 pickup and Freestar
    minivan earned top ratings in high-speed crash tests by the insurance
    industry, a big improvement for the redesigned pickup.
    ¶ Ford had asked the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to test both
    vehicles, which were redesigned for the 2004 model year. The Forester is
    replacing the Windstar minivan. Besides the top crash ratings, the
    institute gave both vehicles a "best pick" designation.
    ¶ Other current pickups that have the institute's top rating are
    2000-2004 models of the Toyota Tundra and 2002-2004 models of the Dodge
    Ram. Among minivans, the 2004 Toyota Sienna also is a best pick. Other
    minivans with top ratings are the 1999-2004 Honda Odyssey and the 2004
    Nissan Quest.
    ¶ In results announced Friday, the institute said the F-150 performed
    significantly better than its 2001 predecessor, which earned the
    institute's lowest rating in the 40 mph crash test. If a vehicle earns the
    highest safety rating, it means a driver wearing a seat belt probably would
    not be seriously injured in a similar real-world crash.
    ¶ "The F-150 went from the worst-performing large pickup we've ever
    tested to the best-performing," institute president Brian O'Neill said.
    ¶ The Freestar also was an improvement over the Windstar, which earned
    the institute's second-highest safety rating.
    ¶ Ford said it restructured both vehicles' frames to absorb the impact of
    a crash better. The company claims that the F-150's frame is nine times
    stiffer than the previous model.
    ¶ "The new F-150 has proven itself in our most extensive impact testing
    ever for a truck," said Ford Division president Steve Lyons.
    ¶ The Freestar and the F-150 didn't perform well in the institute's
    bumper tests, which rate vehicles based on the cost of repairs in 5 mph
    fender benders. Results of those tests were released last week.
    ¶ In those tests, the F-150 got the institute's worst rating because it
    required an average of $1,500 in repairs in each of four tests. The
    Freestar got the second-lowest bumper crash rating, with average repairs of
    $700. Ford stressed the bumper tests are not related to the vehicle's
    ¶ The institute said Ford took the unusual step of requesting the
    high-speed crash tests, but not the bumper tests, and reimbursed the
    institute for the cost of the tested vehicles. The institute buys vehicles
    off dealer lots for testing.
    ¶ Automakers often use safety ratings from the institute in their

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    April, 2001

  3. #2
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003

    Kudos to Ford, not necessarily to the IIHS

    Great results for Ford.

    Interestingly, last year the IIHS downgraded the most recent version of the Windstar from "Good" to "Acceptable". I contacted them to ask why, and was told that the "Good" rating included a 'bonus" for having side impact airbags, and this was included in the fine print of the testing summary. This bonus was removed from all vehicles in 2003 with the advent of their side impact testing.

    The problem is that the same 'bonus' notation was also given to the 2002+ Chrysler minivans. They were originally given an "Acceptable" rating with the bonus, but only "Marginal" without, all based on the test of a 2001 model. Nonetheless, in 2003 these vans were not downgraded like the Ford, and furthermore all mention of the "Marginal" rating was removed.

    My inquiries to the IIHS on this conflicting information have so far gone unanswered. I would hate to think these ratings have an element of subjectivity involved in them, enough to make a model appear safer than it actually is...



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