Toyota's mid-size pickup received a 2019 Top Safety Pick nod from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the organization announced earlier this month. The award comes thanks to a new set of optional headlights that boosted it toward the top of the class in safety.
While the 2020 Tacoma crew cab didn't ace all of the IIHS safety tests, it qualified for Top Safety Pick recognition thanks to "Good" ratings in five of six crashworthiness evaluations, and top marks for its collision avoidance system. The Tacoma also managed to avoid collisions at both 12 and 25 mph, earning it a "Superior" rating in that category. The Tacoma faltered only in the tricky passenger-side small overlap test.
Offsetting its "Acceptable" score in that crash test were the available LED headlights on the 2020 Tacoma. The LED reflector lights on TRD models were rated "Good," which is an uncommon designation for the exacting standards of the Top Safety Pick. The base halogen reflectors were rated only "Marginal," being praised only for a lack of glare.
Top safety nods are rare in the pickup truck field. The 2020 Tacoma joins the 2019 Honda Ridgeline (Top Safety Pick) and the 2019 Ram 1500 crew cab (Top Safety Pick+) as the only trucks currently on the market to be recognized by the IIHS for their safety engineering. This particular award is for the Tacoma Crew Cab in particular; the extended-cab model could potentially receive the same recognition once it is tested for passenger-side small overlap crashworthiness.
While there are no other models in the IIHS small pickups segment currently rated as highly as the Tacoma, the new Ford Ranger scored identically in crashworthiness, failing to match the Toyota only in headlight quality, where its best configuration was rated only "Marginal." Jeep's new Gladiator has not yet been evaluated.