IIHS: Mid-size pickups crash well enough, lack advanced safety tech

September 6, 2017

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released its small-overlap crash test data for mid-size pickups on Wednesday, with mostly positive results for the 2017 Toyota Tacoma, 2017 Chevrolet Colorado, and 2017 GMC Canyon. The 2017 Nissan Frontier—set to embark on its 12th year since its last major refresh—trailed its competition.

None of the trucks tested qualify for the coveted IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+award, both because they lack active crash prevention such as automatic emergency braking, and the IIHS rates their headlights as “Poor.”

MORE: Here's our roundup of all the IIHS Top Safety Pick vehicles

The IIHS included eight trucks in its test, including both the crew cab and the extended cab versions of the Tacoma, Colorado, Canyon, and Frontier. In the small overlap crash test, which is designed to simulate a vehicle running into a tree or a telephone pole, the mid-size trucks generally performed better than their full sized counterparts.

Still, just one, the Tacoma crew cab, received a “Good” rating for structure during the small overlap test. The extended cab version was close, but only landed an “acceptable” structure rating. For overall crashworthiness, both Tacomas qualify as “Good.”

In crew cab form, the Chevy Colorado and its corporate cousin GMC Canyon both achieved a “Good” rating in the small overlap test, compared to “acceptable” for the extended cab. The reason for the difference is significantly higher risk of injury to the driver’s feet as the structure crumples inward.

DON'T MISS: Here's what Top Safety Pick+ means

While Toyota and Chevy will be reasonably pleased with the results for their trucks, both of which saw comprehensive redesigns in the past few years, Nissan will not be. Both versions of the Frontier, which hasn’t undergone serious modification since the second Bush administration, are rated as “marginal.”

According to the IIHS, “in a real-world crash like this, the driver would likely sustain serious injuries to the lower legs and left foot.” The key issue is that the foot well crumpled in by as much as 17 inches in the crew cab, and 14 in the extended cab, “compromising driver survival space.”

None of the trucks tested rated above “Poor” when it comes to headlights. That’s hardly a surprise, though, as the IIHS only started testing headlight effectiveness last year, and many manufacturers are waiting until they develop a new generation to introduce better performing lights.

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