Trucks no longer lag behind modern safety measures. These popular midsize pickup trucks from brands like Toyota and Ford were the subject of an updated crash test by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While three pickups passed, the other three needed finishing work.
Only three popular midsize pickups earned high scores in the IIHS test
Tests are constantly changing when it comes to the IIHS, but for good reason. While all automakers want to get high scores in IIHS tests, that doesn’t always apply to newer or more difficult crash tests. In the recently updated IIHS side crash test, many popular midsize pickups on the market performed well.
These are the 2022 Chevrolet Colorado, 2022 GMC Canyon and 2022 Honda Ridgeline crew cab trucks; all got good grades. Good is the highest rating, followed by Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor. The crew cab of the Nissan Frontier and the cabin of the Ford Ranger received an acceptable rating. One of the most popular midsize pickups on the market right now, the Toyota Tacoma, received only a marginal rating.
IIHS Senior Research Engineer Becky Mueller said, “Overall, these vehicles performed well.” The ground clearance of the trucks affected the test results. “Their high ground clearance means that the barrier we use to present an impressive car directly hits the strong sill structures. This probably prevented too much interior intrusion, with the exception of the Tacoma,” noted Mueller.
Most popular mid-size pickup trucks provide adequate protection
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In the case of the Colorado, Canyon and Ridgeline, the structure and roll cages of the trucks held up well. This is likely to help protect the driver and passengers from a side impact. However, one area of the test proved too large, even for the safest trucks. A test dummy removed from the trucks after the side test showed that the driver had a possible pelvic fracture.
Of all six popular midsize pickups, the 2022 Nissan Frontier received the highest score for overall structure and rollover. The Ford Ranger protected the driver and minimized the risk of injury. In both the Frontier and the Ranger, the rear seat dummy crashed into the C-pillar, even with the side curtain airbags.
In the case of the Toyota Tacoma, the IIHS noted a minimal risk of injury. However, the structure and roll cage did not protect during the crash. On impact, the barrier crumpled the door and center pillar, which pushed the pillar into the driver’s seat. “This has only reduced the overall rating to marginal. We place a lot of emphasis on structural characteristics because they are very closely related to survivability,” commented Muller.
This updated IIHS side crash test is designed to save lives
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety changed the side crash test after a study found that these crashes are the leading cause of roadway fatalities. In fact, side crashes account for more than 25% of passenger vehicle fatalities.
In the new test, a 4,200-pound barrier hits the test car at 37 mph. The old test used a 3,300-pound barrier moving at 31 mph. In 2023, vehicles will need a Good or Acceptable rating to earn a Top Safety Pick award, and a Good rating will be required to earn a Top Safety Pick Plus award.
While these popular midsize pickups are still safe vehicles, you can read about the crash tests on the IIHS website. Most automakers directly address deficiencies identified by the IIHS, which means a safer car, truck, or SUV is in the works.
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