Is Ford’s safety rating for large trucks better than GMC’s?

Ford's large trucks have better safety ratings than GMC's large trucks. Insurance costs for a Ford F-150 are $110 a month compared to $133 a month for the GMC Sierra.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Driving a truck has become an epitome of power for people who are interested in more than an average vehicle
  • Regardless of an enormous frame, wheels, and cabin, trucks still maintain safety requirements equal to any other vehicle in the market
  • Ford and GMC produce some of the best trucks in the world
  • Comparing the safety performance of these two brands might be difficult, although it is possible by utilizing a variety of tests

Driving a vehicle that weighs over 5,000 pounds might give one a false sense of safety.

Although a head-on collision between a pickup truck and a small vehicle will not end well for the latter, how do new pickup-truck drivers stay safe?

Also, what is to be expected out of driving in the rain and off-roading? These are some areas that people undermine while purchasing a powerful truck.

Large horsepower and engines capable of almost anything do not matter when one spins out of control due to the weight of the car. Thus, paying attention to the safety rating is essential to make a legit purchase.

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IIHS In-Depth Assessments

Every vehicle, including pickup trucks, gets extensively tested before a mass-manufacturing for the market.

The IIHS does real-life collisions between the subject and a concrete wall to see if the dummy placed in the driver seat will get minor injuries or wind up dead.

The cars get tested for airbags efficiency and speed, roof’s power-to-weight ratio, side impact, and more. The ultimate objective is to enable buyers to be well-informed about risks.

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Which truck has the best crash rating?

If an individual does not know what two vehicles are discussed here, they could simply look at any highway in the United States as these models are extremely common around the nation.

Ford F-150 has won half-a-dozen awards for categories such as the Best Truck Brand and the Best Pickup Truck.

With an impressive fuel efficiency varying from 18 to 24 mpg, it is a convenient way to get around.

GMC’s Sierra 1500, however, is slightly more attention-grabbing because of its piercing high-beam headlights and monstrous front.

The vehicle also sports traditional features such as a WiFi router, an entertainment center, highly adjustable seats, and more.

So, how do these vehicles compare in crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and latch performance tests done by the IIHS?

Crashworthiness

When the IIHS tests vehicles by crashing them into a wall, they are rated good, acceptable, marginal, or poor depending on the condition of the dummy.

The sensors on the doll will let experts diagnose a head, neck, or any other injury. Smaller factors such as knee displacement and chest compression are also quantified.

Ford F-150 achieved a “good” grade for each of the five categories of this test. This indicates that they substantially performed and preserved their dummy through small and moderate overlap front tests, side and roof strength tests, and head restraints test.

Importantly, this F-150 crew-cab pickup is not the only Ford’s truck to get positive reviews, as the extended-cab pickup F150 got the same scores.

GMC Sierra 1500, however, did not meet the same standards. They achieved “good” ratings in all categories besides the small overlap front test where they “moderately” performed.

This result was because the driver’s survival space was not maintained well as the driver was practically crushed between the steering wheel and the seat.

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Crash Avoidance & Mitigation

To guarantee top-notch safety, cars must be able to prevent accidents and not just perform well during them. This is where IIHS uses their prevention-systems testing that records how efficiently speed is reduced after a danger is detected.

The grading differs a little as cars can get the basic, advanced, or superior mark.

For F-150 and Sierra 1500, however, this test shows their main shortcoming. Both models are only able to provide “basic” crash prevention with one-point-score for each.

That point came from vehicles’ ability to detect collision danger, although there is no speed reduction via auto-brake.

Hence, people interested in automatic accident prevention may want to consider other models.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

This test is conducted to see how easy it is to utilize child seat anchors or latches. They are assessed on their visibility and ease of access through the same grading scale as crashworthiness.

Unfortunately for Sierra 1500, this test might be the culmination of its demise in this comparison. It was rated with a “poor” rating, whereas the F-150 performed “moderately.”

The low review for GMC’s model is because of its lack of latches for seat position 22, while those that do exist are hard to get to. F-150, on the other hand, has all the latches needed.

Ford’s underwhelming rating comes from the latch being easily mistaken with other hardware. Regardless, Ford seems to have won this category by a minimum margin.

2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+

Since F-150 perfectly performed in the five categories of crashworthiness, it was given this award.

Sierra 1500 only received a “moderate” score for its small overlap front test which denied it this recognition.

Therefore, Ford was able to achieve another notable mark for its long portfolio of awards.

Ford F-150 or GMC Sierra 1500?

After analyzing the data, the statistics are as follows:

  • Ford F-150 performed better in crashworthiness
  • Both models failed miserably in the crash avoidance area
  • Ford F-150 slightly outperformed Sierra 1500 in the Latch test

Ford had another F-150 model, the extended-cab pickup, which was awarded the Top Safety Pick and would have probably outperformed Sierra F-150.

Having considered the criteria mentioned earlier, one can present F-150 and Ford as the safer option that will preserve driver’s survival space better during a crash and make it easier to find the child seat anchor.

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