The latest Nissan Titan serves as a reminder that automakers are starting to get serious about pickup truck safety. Certain 2017 and 2018 Titan Crew Cab trucks earned "Good" overall marks from the IIHS in the latest round of safety testing, the agency said Tuesday.
In its instrumented tests, the IIHS praised the strength of the Titan's structure and noted acceptable intrusion into the cabin in the challenging small-overlap test that simulates two cars making driver-side contact on a one-lane road.
Notably, the Titan's structure was modified late in the 2017 model year. The "Good" small-overlap test score applies only to models built after August of 2017. Earlier Titan trucks earned a "Marginal" rating in the test.
However, "Marginal" headlights and a lack of advanced safety gear capable of bringing the trucks to a stop automatically prevented the Titan from earning a Top Safety Pick award from the insurance industry-funded crash-testing group.
Pickup trucks may be big sellers in the U.S.—they took home the top three positions on the best-selling vehicles chart last year—but they have lagged behind sedans, crossovers, and SUVs in offering advanced collision-avoidance tech. For the 2018 model year, only the Honda Ridgeline, Ford F-150, and Toyota Tacoma are available with systems that can both warn drivers of an impending collision and apply the brakes if drivers don't intervene. The Titan does not offer either of these features.
Among pickups, currently only the Ridgeline earns a Top Safety Pick award. The Ridgeline aced its crash-tests, offers a collision-avoidance system that the IIHS says is rated "Superior," and is available with high-rated headlights.