Consumer Reports recently released a report that could change the landscape of safety in today’s vehicles and America’s best-selling vehicle is in the middle of it all.
The Ford F-150 has always been highly rated according to JD Power and Associates as well as generally by most publications and websites. Although there have been a slew of recall issues related to the 2019 and 2020 F-150, it’s widely considered a safe and reliable vehicle.
However, Consumer Reports recently announced an agenda to make several safety elements as standard, instead of only available on higher trims, at higher costs. The safety features involved are: Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Blind Spot Warning (BSW).
As someone who reviews many vehicles every year, I’ve said the same thing as Consumer Reports, but that publication has far more pull than I do. So, I support Consumer Reports push to make these features standard, and included in the price of all vehicles and all trims. Consumer Reports will no longer consider any vehicle as their coveted “Top Pick” if it doesn’t include these safety features as standard.
What Safety Features Are Standard For the Ford F-150?
Pedestrian detection and AEB is a standard feature across all trims of the Ford F-150. That will work in the truck’s favor in the mind and rankings of Consumer Reports. However, Blind Spot Warning is not available on all trims of the 2020 Ford F-150.
BSW is part of an expensive add-on for the higher trims Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum and Limited. The base XL does not offer BSW at all and that is where Consumer Reports will ding the vehicle. The XLT has this feature, but it is part of the Luxury Package.
According to reports, to add BSW to certain trims can cost upwards of $12,000 as some of the equipment packages really add up quickly. And again, Consumer Reports is right to take offense at that. This isn’t heated or cooled seats or other luxurious amenities, this is some basic, safety features.
I asked Dawn McKenzie, who is part of the F-150’s truck communication team for Ford about this and she said: “BSW is optional for fleet customers that typically purchase F-150 XL work trucks and want maximum flexibility determining options. It’s also available below the price of the average F-Series truck.”
She also pointed, as I mentioned earlier that, “Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection is standard on every F-150 today.”
Will Blind Spot Warning and Other Safety Features Be Standard on the 2021 Ford F-150?
As to be expected, McKenzie would not comment on any future vehicles merely saying, “We look forward to soon sharing more details about the all-new F-150.”
As I reported, the 2021 Ford F-150 will be virtually revealed on June 25. This will be one thing we will be listening to see gets changed for the next-generation F-150. Consumer Reports is adamant that it become standard, and I agree with that assertion.
“We have been calling for BSW to be a standard feature on all new cars since October 2018,” says Kelly Funkhouser, program manager for vehicle interface testing at Consumer Reports. “In our surveys, drivers tell us they like this feature and that it helps them avoid collisions.”
In the story by Consumer Reports, it opined: “(BSW) and (AEB) with pedestrian detection have been shown to reduce the risk of crashes, injuries, and fatalities. But some manufacturers bundle these key safety systems with luxury options, such as heated seats, larger wheels, and chrome exterior trim. That means some car buyers may be forced to pay more than $2,000—and in one case, more than $15,000—just to add one of these important safety features.”
Personally, blind spot monitoring is an easy technology to add in some capacity. It should not be limited to higher trims nor should it be lumped into expensive equipment packages, so I agree totally with Consumer Reports in this notion.
So, do you agree with me? Are safety features like these something that you, as the consumer, even pay attention to? Leave me a comment and let me know.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.