1 Ford F-150 Trim Shines in Consumer Reports Rear-Seat Safety Testing

​When considering a Ford F-150, you’re likely thinking about performance, payload, and towing. Child safety probably isn’t top of mind when test-driving a pickup truck. But it’s an important consideration. And one Ford F-150 trim excels in Consumer Reports’ rear-seat safety testing.

How Consumer Reports testers assess rear-seat safety

In 2021, Consumer Reports developed a comprehensive methodology for determining which vehicles perform the best in rear-seat safety. Since then, CR testers have been evaluating cars, SUVs, and trucks to create a rear-seat safety score. This score considers not only infants and toddlers in child car seats but also teens and adults sitting in the back seat.

To create this score, Consumer Reports evaluated vehicles in six categories:

  • advanced rear restraints
  • booster-seat fit
  • car-seat fit
  • rear-occupant alert
  • rear-seat minders
  • rear head restraints

They help CR’s testers gauge whether the vehicles they’re assessing are designed optimally to save lives in an accident.

Consumer Reports applied that scoring methodology to 54 2022 models and four 2023 models. And of the five Ford models that CR evaluated, one F-150 trim — the XLT — ranks in the top 10.

The Ford 150 XLT’s placement on the list

Ford F-150 trim: XLT
Ford F-150 XLT Sport Appearance Package in Carbonized Gray | Ford Motor Company

None of the 58 models tested achieved a perfect score. In fact, only eight received the next highest score. Four 2022 Ford models earned that score, including the Mustang Mach-E, Bronco four-door, Bronco Sport, and F-150 XLT.

And though the F-150 XLT’s accompanying numerical score placed it eighth on the overall list, considering that 50 other vehicles scored quite a bit worse, the XLT’s placement is notable. According to reviewers, the XLT performed exceptionally well in the child-seat fit, booster use, belt reminder, and head restraints categories.

Subsequent F-150 models could use some improvement in the areas of rear-occupant alert and advanced restraints. However, prospective XLT buyers and owners alike should be heartened that their rear-seat passengers are better protected than in low-scoring vehicles as long as occupants wear their restraints correctly.

In addition, Consumer Reports clarifies that just because a model scores poorly on these tests doesn’t mean it’s dangerous. “The message from our new rear-seat safety testing is not that vehicles with lower scores are unsafe, but that they do not offer the same comparative margin of protection as those vehicles that earn higher marks,” says Emily A. Thomas, an automotive safety engineer at CR.

More about the Ford F-150 XLT

Aside from excellent rear-seat protection, there’s plenty else to like about the 2022 Ford F-150 XLT. Named a Car and Driver Editor’s Choice pick, the 2022 F-150 XLT starts at $40,960. The base 3.3-liter Ti VCT V6 engine, producing 290 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque, pairs with an electronic 10-speed automatic transmission. If that’s not enough power, buyers can choose from four other powertrain options, including a hybrid.

Furthermore, the XLT offers a selection of bed lengths: 5.5, 6.5, and 8.0 feet. This trim can tow 8,200 pounds and haul 1,985 pounds. If that isn’t sufficient, an XLT equipped with the Max Trailering package and the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 can tow 14,000 pounds and carry 3,250 pounds. Those are competitive numbers in a segment abounding with other powerful full-size pickup trucks like the Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado 1500.

In addition, the 2022 Ford F-150 XLT is available in multiple configurations, including Regular Cab, Super Cab, and SuperCrew. Choosing one of the latter two will provide the safe rear seat that Consumer Reports noted. Also, the XLT has automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, and a rearview camera. Buyers can pay for additional advanced safety features in the optional Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 package.

If you’re a budget-conscious shopper, you might be eyeing the base-model Ford F-150, roughly $6,000 less than the XLT. But considering the XLT provides better rear-seat protection, especially for children, you might want to think twice.

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