The majority of pickups recently put through the passenger-side small overlap front test struggled to maintain their structure, but two trucks — the Ford F-150 and the Nissan Titan — earn a good rating.
The F-150 and the Titan join the Ram 1500, whose good rating in the test was released late last year.
The Honda Ridgeline, which earns an acceptable rating in the passenger-side test, is the only pickup so far to qualify for the 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK award, thanks to available good-rated headlights, which the other models all lack, and available superior-rated front crash prevention. The Ridgeline qualifies for the award only when equipped with those features.
The Toyota Tacoma also earns an acceptable rating in the passenger-side test, but it falls short of an award because of headlights.
In total, IIHS has rated 11 crew cab pickups in the passenger-side test — four small and seven large. The Toyota Tundra, a large pickup, earns the only poor rating, while five of the trucks rate marginal.
“We commend Ford, Nissan and Ram for providing state-of-the-art crash protection for both drivers and front passengers of their large pickup models,” says David Zuby, IIHS chief research officer. “As a group, however, the pickup class still has a lot of work to do.”
A small overlap crash occurs when just the front corner of the vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole. IIHS began rating vehicles for protection in a driver-side small overlap front crash in 2012. In 2017, the Institute launched the passenger-side test to make sure occupants on both sides of the vehicle get equal protection.
Pickups took longer than other vehicle categories to meet the Institute’s challenge for driver-side small overlap protection, so it’s no surprise that they are lagging a bit in the newer passenger-side evaluation. Today most pickups earn a good rating in the driver-side test.
A front crash test represents a much more severe crash for a pickup than for smaller vehicles because the severity of a crash into a fixed barrier depends on the weight of the vehicle.
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