Ford F-150, minivan crashworthy

Dec. 19, 2003 at 2:23 PM

ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 19 (UPI) -- The redesigned Ford F-150 pickup and new Freestar minivan earned the highest overall ratings in high-speed U.S. insurance industry-sponsored crash tests.

Both the full-size pickup, named 2004 truck of the year by Motor Trend and the Detroit News, and the Freestar were judged "best picks" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an industry group in suburban Washington.

Previous F-150 models fared poorly in the frontal offset crash at 40 mph. The resigned pickup, vital to Ford's return to profitability, earned a "good" rating for crashworthiness, which means a driver wearing a seatbelt likely would suffer minor injuries in a serious real-world crash.

Earlier F-150 models were among the poorest performing in crash tests.

"The good crash test results of the F-150 pickup and the Freestar minivan mean that Ford has the top-rated full-size pickup truck and one of the two top-rated minivans in the institute's frontal crashworthiness evaluations, said insurance institute president Brian O'Neill.

The Toyota Sienna minivan also was rated "good" and a "best pick."

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