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When new vehicles come out on the market, companies hope for stellar reviews from the big-name reviewers. JD Power, Edmunds, USNews, Consumer Reports, Kelley Blue Book, and so on. While it’s probably more important to get high marks from consumers, it doesn’t hurt to get a nod or two from those notable reviewers. Another plus? A high safety rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Getting a high rating here can often lead to reviewers taking notice as well. This isn’t always the case, though. When it comes to truck safety, the perfect example of this is the 2020 Ford F-150.

The importance of safety testing trucks

Safety is a significant concern for most drivers — not just how they drive, but how safe drivers around them are. The NHTSA makes it their mission to “save lives, prevent injuries, and reduce economic costs due to road traffic crashes.” They do this through “education, research, safety standards, and enforcement.”

Why is this important? 2018 stats show that 36,560 lives were lost on U.S. roads that year. To accomplish their mission, they test vehicles each year based on a set of standards and then rate them accordingly. These tests give ratings for frontal crash, rollover rating, side barrier, and side crash, and then provide an overall crash test rating to each vehicle they test. The average score is an overall 3/5, so any car that does better than that is a pretty safe bet. 

The 2020 Ford F-150 ranks highest in safety

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Truck safety is a big deal these days, especially since truck sales have increased over the years. For 2020, the Ford F-150 was the only truck that the NHTSA gave a perfect score to — it scored five stars on all the required tests.

That’s saying a lot. It may also be why they were Kelley Blue Book’s ‘Best Buy’ for the sixth year in a row. JD Power rates it 81/100, gives it ‘great’ marking in each category except ‘resale,’ where it gets a ‘best’ rating. It also scored the best performance award in the large light-duty pickup category for 2019. And U.S. News gave it the #2 spot in its full-size pickup trucks category, with an overall score of 8.6/10.

So why does it get so much love? With six powerful and capable engines, the ability to out-tow and out-haul every rival, its smooth ride, lots of space, and a ton of technology and driver assistance features, it’s hard not to love it. The truck has lots of interior styling and an infotainment system that’s one of the best in its class. And remember that safety rating? Yeah. There’s a lot to love about this truck, even if not everyone agrees.

Despite the safety, Consumer Reports still not a fan of this truck

Not everyone is a fan of the F-150, though. Despite all the great reviews and top truck safety honors, Consumer Reports hesitates on the truck. While it’s still the top-selling truck in 31 states, it has its share of problems.

Out of the eight full-size trucks tested from 2020, the Ford F-150 came in 5th with an overall score of 57. Perhaps it’s that there are already three recalls on the truck, making it get a predictability rating of 1/5 from Consumer Reports. Or maybe it’s that the truck scored a 2/5 for fuel economy, braking, emergency handling, and ride quality.

Owner satisfaction didn’t seem to matter; the 4/5 rating for that didn’t make Consumer Reports love the truck any better. So where does this leave the 2020 F-150?

Is the new F-150 for you?

If you’re looking for a new truck and value safety then the new 2020 Ford F-150 is a sure bet. Besides, not everyone is going to agree. Reviews are reviews, it’s worth it to try one out for yourself. Fortunately for buyers, the truck’s safety stats don’t lie.