The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) has released its passenger-side and small-overlap crash test results for light-duty pickup trucks.
While most pickups put through the passenger-side small overlap front test struggled to maintain their structure, two trucks — the Ford F-150 and the Nissan Titan — earned a "good" rating. They join the Ram 1500, whose "good" rating was released late 2018.
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. According to the IIHS, this is due 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 the IIHS reported it fell short of an award because of its 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," said 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. 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.
The Ford F-150 was the best performer in the passenger-side test. The structure held up well with maximum intrusion of 5 inches at the rightmost section of the toepan. The seat belts and air bags worked well together to control the movement of the passenger and driver dummies, and neither dummy recorded any potential injuries, according to the IIHS.