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IIHS Crash Tests: Most New Trucks in Need of Significant Improvement


By: Alex Reid –

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s latest crash tests of 11 new trucks have found more than half the segment is in need of significant improvement, especially when it comes to collisions with objects like trees or poles.

The IIHS’ new “small-overlap” crash test mimics the vehicle striking an object across only about a quarter of the front bumper.

The test is done for both the driver’s side and the passenger’s side, and the latest results are for the passenger side only.

According to the IIHS, small-overlap crashes like this are harder to provide protection from, because the parts of the vehicle that are supposed to absorb the impact are often missed. In real life, the same thing happens when a car strikes a lamppost, utility pole or other narrow obstacle.

Four of the vehicles tested were small pickups: the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Nissan Frontier. All but the Tacoma scored a “Marginal” for the passenger-side test, while the Toyota scored an “Acceptable.”

The other seven trucks tested were from the full-size truck segment: the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Nissan Titan all earned a “Good” score in the test.

The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, however, both earned a score of “Marginal,” while the Toyota Tundra sunk to the bottom with a “Poor” score. The Honda Ridgeline slotted below the Ford, Ram and Nissan but above the GM twins, with an “Acceptable” score.

The poor scores are mostly as a result of their vehicle architecture; the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tundra, for example, both are underpinned by chassis dating back to 2005 and 2007, respectively.

The Tundra’s fail also saw it net the most intrusion into the passenger compartment, with the A-pillar alongside the truck’s windshield even compressing and hitting the dummy’s head.

The Ford F-150 earned the highest overall score in the tests, and was touted specifically for its brighter headlights. However, the test results generally showed most pickup trucks need to offer more in terms of safety, and specifically better protection for the passenger side.


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