Small trucks safer than cars and SUVs: IIHS report

According to recent results published by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) small trucks are much safer now than they used to be, in part because “small trucks” are not actually so small any more. New test data from the IIHS shows that three of the six small trucks tested earned the IIHS’ top mark: good. Additionally, two of the six models received acceptable ratings, “marking the segment as generally safe”.

Toyota’s Tacoma was the only model that received a marginal marking. Though the popular truck received good testing marks in almost every category and ensured the occupants received minimal injuries,the overall structure of the truck was easily compromised. “That alone pushed the overall rating down to marginal,”  said IIHS Senior Research Engineer Beck Mueller. “We weigh structural performance very heavily because it is tied so closely with survivability.”

IIHS test engineers said the Nissan Frontier’s safety cage and structure fared the best. Ford’s Ranger performed similarly, with an intact safety cage and low risk of injury to the driver and passenger. The reason these models received only an acceptable was a high likelihood of head impacts with the C-pillar. According to the report, even the top-rated models weren’t perfect, “with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon duo as well as the Honda Ridgeline tests showing possible pelvic injuries”.

None of the trucks tested received a poor safety mark in a new side impact test, in which a 4,200-pound barrier strikes the side of test models at 37 mph.

The report states that the small truck segment has “received excellent safety ratings as compared to the small car and midsize crossover segments”. Engineers at the IIHS say this is helping keep owners injury-free.

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