To investigate the crashworthiness capacity of a M1 type commercial vehicle, the full-scale finite element (FE) model of the vehicle has been established. On basis of the FE model, the impact simulation subject to the 100% frontal impact has been carried out, and the results have been verified with the physical impact test. The analysis of the deformation path and the energy absorption indicates that the M1 vehicle lacks sufficient frontal deformation area and its peak crash acceleration (PCA) is too high, which raises a huge challenge for the sequent development of a safety restraint system. To enhance the crashworthiness of the M1 vehicle, some structural improvements have been implemented, with adding the energy absorbing box, improving the frontal frame parts and enhancing the front door. The frontal collapsing area has been investigated in order to figure out the layout position of the energy absorbing box. The design of the aluminum foam reinforced energy absorbing box has been made by using the surrogate modeling technique. The impact simulation results of the improved M1 vehicle show a significant decrease of the PCA and a more homogeneous energy absorbing status, which verifies the validity of the proposed structures for crashworthiness improvement.