The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has tested the crashworthiness of compact trucks in side impacts--and the Toyota Tacoma is the only truck to emerge with its safety reputation intact.
The Tacoma earned the IIHS's "good" rating for side-impact protection in the test of 2008 models. Its optional side and curtain airbags provided enough protection for crash dummies to get the rating, the agency's highest. The Tacoma also has a "good" rating for front-impact protection.
Other compact trucks didn't fare as well. The Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger, and Nissan Frontier all were rated "marginal" by the insurance industry-funded group, while the Chevrolet Colorado (and we correlate, the nearly identical GMC Canyon) was given a "poor" rating for side impacts.
The IIHS notes that all the vehicles involved in the test save for the Frontier and the Tacoma lacked stability control. (The GM trucks will have it standard in 2009.) The Tacoma was the only truck offered with side airbags as well. It also notes small trucks have the highest driver death rates on the road.
As a result of these latest tests, some of TheCarConnection.com's safety ratings for reviewed vehicles have changed. Click the trucks above if you're shopping and want to find more about the safety ratings of the vehicle of your choice.