FORD F150
AP
The 2004 F-150 earned five stars in NHTSA's front driver and front passenger tests.
updated 3/11/2004 5:50:01 PM ET 2004-03-11T22:50:01

Ford Motor Co.'s redesigned F-150 was the only 2004 pickup to earn the government's top safety rating in two frontal crash tests, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Thursday.

NHTSA released ratings Thursday for three pickups that were new or newly redesigned for 2004: the F-150, the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon. It also posted ratings for pickups that were tested earlier and weren't redesigned for the 2004 model year.

An extended cab version of the 2004 Toyota Tacoma 4X2 has the worst ratings of the 28 pickups listed, earning three stars on front and side tests. Three stars means the chance of serious injury in a crash similar to the 35-mph test is between 21 and 35 percent.

The 2004 F-150 earned five stars in NHTSA's front driver and front passenger tests. The GMC Canyon and the Chevrolet Colorado both earned four stars on NHTSA's two frontal tests and on its side-impact test on the passenger side. Four stars means the chance of serious injury is between 11 and 20 percent.

The Canyon and the Colorado earned five stars on NHTSA's side-impact test on the driver's side.

The ratings are an improvement over the previous version of the F-150, which earned four stars on NHTSA's two frontal tests. The earlier F-150, which was designed in 2001, is now being sold as the F-150 Heritage. The Canyon and the Colorado are new vehicles.

NHTSA didn't conduct side crash tests on the F-150 pickup. Although the agency generally chooses vehicles to test based on sales and the F-150 is a top-selling pickup, spokeswoman Liz Neblett said the agency has limited resources and doesn't plan to conduct side crash tests on the 2004 F-150. The F-150 Heritage earned five stars in NHTSA's two side crash tests.

It was the second time in three months that the new F-150 has earned top safety ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also gave the pickup its highest safety rating in a 40 mph crash test and praised the company for making numerous safety-related changes.

"The F-150 went from the worst-performing large pickup we've ever tested to the best-performing," institute president Brian O'Neill said.

NHTSA also released ratings for the Nissan Quest minivan, which earned five stars on each of NHTSA's four front and side crashes.

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