The 2019 Ram 1500 performed well in the IIHS' crash tests, but it missed out on a Top Safety Pick award due to its headlights.
The independent safety body said the new Ram 1500 is much improved over the previous model when it comes to crash integrity on Thursday. The pickup earned "Good" ratings in all six crash tests. Ram's previous Ram model received "Marginal" ratings in the driver-side small overlap front test and the roof strength test. The optional automatic emergency braking system earned a "Superior" rating.
However, the "Good" ratings in the small-overlap front test only apply to the 2019 Ram 1500 models built after July when the brand improved the cab mounts in the truck's frame.
Last year, the Ram 1500 was one of the worst performers in the roof-strength test. The test involves pushing a metal plate against the vehicle's roof at a slow speed; while most new vehicles earn a "Good" rating, the previous Ram 1500 only received a "Marginal" rating. This year, the 2019 Ram 1500 earned a "Good" rating.
The IIHS lauded the optional automatic emergency braking system. In tests, the big pickup avoided a crash at speeds between 12 mph and 25 mph.
Despite the improvements, the full-size pickup's headlights were the truck's downfall. A "Marginal" headlight rating kept the Ram 1500 away from a coveted Top Safety Pick. Either an "Acceptable" or "Good" rating nets the top accolade. Many new vehicles miss out on the award due to their headlights.
That could soon change, though. The NHTSA submitted changes to current regulations last month to allow brighter self-dimming headlights on U.S. roads. The change in regulations will allow automakers to fit vehicles with more advanced matrix LED systems, as many already do in Europe. The headlights default to the high-beam setting, but dim specific portions to keep from blinding other motorists and pedestrians.