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SAFETY | 7 out of 10
Some trim levels lack crucial safety features, but the 2011 Suzuki Equator gets strong ratings from at least one of the crash-test specialists.
In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) testing, the Equator earns a top "good" rating for front, side and roof-crush impact protection.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has changed its criteria for the new model year, and hasn't re-assessed the Suzuki pickup. Last year, the NHTSA gave the Equator a mix of four- and five-star ratings for frontal protection in the Extended Cab model but four-star ratings for Crew Cab models.
In all Equators, dual front, side and curtain airbags now are standard. Four-cylinder trucks still do not have standard electronic stability control, which would keep us from recommending them as first vehicles for any new drivers. As you climb the model ladder, the Equator adds on Hill Descent Control and Hill Hold Control, but the features aren't even available as options on the four-cylinder versions.
Like the near-identical Nissan Frontier, the Suzuki Equator has excellent outward visibility. Since it doesn't offer any rearview camera or parking sensors, even as options, its tall glass areas and easy-to-see corners are fortunate.
The most safety-conscious shoppers should steer clear of the four-cylinder 2011 Suzuki Equator--it's missing stability control, even on its options list.