The 2021 Ford F-150 Extended Cab Pickup was one of three large pickups selected for safety awards. - Photo courtesy of IIHS

The 2021 Ford F-150 Extended Cab Pickup was one of three large pickups selected for safety awards.

Photo courtesy of IIHS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has recognized both the 2021 Ford F-150 crew cab and extended cab with its Top Safety Pick award, making the two vehicles among the only three large pickups in the industry to garner 2021 safety accolades from IIHS.

The two versions of the F-150 — the top-selling vehicle nameplate in the U.S. — join the Ram 1500 in earning the award.

Both pickups were put through the paces of six trying crashworthiness tests — acing each with good scores across the board. These included the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests.

However, to earn this second-tier award from IIHS, vehicles must also be available with a front crash prevention system that earns advanced or superior ratings in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations.

Here again, the Ford F-150 models measured up. Both the standard and optional front crash prevention systems available on both trucks captured superior ratings in the vehicle-to-vehicle evaluation. In the vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluation — especially important for large pickups due to their size and weight — the standard, camera-only Ford Co-Pilot360 2.0 system earned a superior rating, and the optional, camera-and-radar Ford Co-Pilot 360 Assist 2.0 scored an advanced rating.

Headlights are among any vehicle’s most basic safety features, and this is where many vehicles fall short in IIHS engineer evaluations.

That was indeed the case with the 2020 models of Ford’s two large pickups. Neither met the headlight criteria at the time, so they were not given any safety recognition by IIHS.

But the 2021 editions of both Ford vehicles are available with good or acceptable headlights at some trim levels, giving them the final element needed to capture a Top Safety Pick award. However, because the base halogens included with certain trims got a poor rating, the pickups were prevented from earning “plus” status.

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