Toyota Tacoma is best performer in small pickup insurance crash tests

Toyota Tacoma is best performer in small pickup insurance crash tests”

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata earned the U.S. Insurance Institute of Highway Safety's highest accolade for safety, receiving a 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award when equipped with optional front crash prevention and dynamic bending headlights. IIHS said it tested two body styles of each pickup because results can differ between cab designs. Crew cabs have four full doors and two full rows of seating.

Extended cab versions of the Colorado and Canyon also fared well but earned an "Acceptable" rating in the front small overlap crash test rather than Good.

IIHS started testing headlight performance testing in 2016 to encourage manufacturers to provide better quality lighting options for all vehicles.

"This group of small pickups performed better in the small overlap front test than many of their larger pickup cousins", said David Zuby, executive vice president for IIHS. The Nissan Frontier was the worst performer.

The small overlap test is the most challenging of the IIHS crashworthiness evaluations.

The institute conducted a small overlap test, which replicates what happens when a vehicle runs off the road and hits a tree or a post.

The only category in which it did not earn a "good" mark was in the lower leg and foot area, where it earned an "acceptable" mark.

2017 Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab IIHS Test

The Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab and its GMC Canyon Crew Cab twin also earn good ratings for occupant protection in a small overlap front crash.

Both the Nissan Frontier King Cab and the Frontier Crew Cab earn marginal ratings.

Those airbags helped in the IIHS test, but the organization said its test dummies' legs were pushed back almost 17 inches in the crew cab and 14 inches in the extended vehicle, which would cause serious injuries for humans.

The dummy's position in relation to the door frame, steering wheel, and instrument panel after the crash test indicates that the driver's survival space was maintained reasonably well. So far for pickups, only a few top trim levels have headlight technology proficient enough to receive the IIHS good rating. None are available with anything other than poor-rated headlights. To achieve Top Safety Pick Plus status, a vehicle must also get an average or good rating for its headlights.

To qualify, winners must earn good ratings in each of the Institute's five crashworthiness tests - small overlap crash test, moderate overlap crash test, side and roof strength, and head restraint tests - and have an available front crash prevention system earning an advanced or superior rating.

All of the eight trucks that were evaluated fell short of qualifying for the institute's top safety pick and top safety pick plus awards due to the lack of an automatic emergency braking system and poor-rated headlights.

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