Cars and Trucks

2021 Ford F-150 Improves Headlights, Gets IIHS Top Safety Pick Award

  • The 2021 Ford-F150 crew-cab and extended-cab models have been given a Top Safety Pick award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
  • The big change came from the headlights; the 2021 F-150 now has optional LED setups that received Good and Acceptable ratings.
  • The presence of the basic halogen lights on lower trim models, which received a Poor rating, prevented the F-150 from elevating to the highest Top Safety Pick+ award.

    Automakers covet the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick awards, plastering them across advertisements and name-dropping them in TV spots to entice buyers into their latest offerings. While Ford probably doesn’t need any help selling the F-150 pickup truck—already the bestselling vehicle in the United States by a healthy margin—the Blue Oval now has another tool to promote its popular truck, with the IIHS announcing that the 2021 F-150 crew-cab and extended-cab models have received a Top Safety Pick award.

    The 2020 F-150 had missed out on the accolade, but changes to the truck’s headlight offerings for 2021 have promoted it to a Top Safety Pick. In order to qualify for a Top Safety Pick, a vehicle has to earn a Good rating in all six of the IIHS crashworthiness tests, as well as come fitted with a front crash prevention system that receives either Advanced or Superior ratings. A vehicle also must be available with at least one Good or Acceptable headlight system. To achieve a Top Safety Pick+ award, however, requires that headlights with a Good or Acceptable rating be standard across all trims, which they aren’t on the 2021 F-150.

    The 2020 F-150 had received Poor ratings for every available headlight system, but for 2021 some trim levels have gained headlights that were granted Good or Acceptable ratings, qualifying the truck for the Top Safety Pick award. However, since the base halogen headlights that come on lower trims are still classified as Poor, the Top Safety Pick+ award was out of reach for Ford’s bestseller. The F-150 joins the Ram 1500 as the only large pickup trucks receiving a IIHS award for 2021. The award is only for trucks built after June of this year that come with the adaptive LED projector headlights, which received a Good rating, or the LED reflector headlights, which were rated as Acceptable.

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