The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released its 2019 testing data for the small overlap crash, and the Ford F-150 is this year’s winner.
Most people consider pickup trucks to be big, tough, and durable. They also expect them to hold up well in the unlikely event of a crash, giving pickups this impression of safety. After all, what can happen to a big pickup?
Well, the IIHS is here to burst your bubble. Not all pickup trucks are created the same, and there are some that are absolute death traps if you get into an accident. However, there are some that will keep you safe whether you’re in the driver or passenger seat.
The small overlap test is a favorite benchmark for traffic safety as it’s one of the most common collisions that occur. Very rarely does a truck strike an object head-on, and usually it’s either a more glancing blow or it runs into something like a traffic light or telephone pole.
The IIHS has been using the small overlap test for years, but only started testing both the driver and passenger side since 2017. This has led to many pickup trucks earning Good ratings on the driver’s side, but Poor or Marginal on the passenger side.
But three pickups stood out for earning Good ratings on both the driver and passenger overlap tests. Those are the Ford F-150, Nissan Titan, and the Ram 1500 (which technically earned that rating last summer for pickups built after July).
The Ford F-150, in particular, earned high praise from IIHS analysts. "The structure held up well with maximum intrusion of 5 inches at the rightmost section of the toepan,” the institute wrote. “The seat belts and airbags worked well together to control the movement of the passenger and driver dummies, and neither dummy recorded any potential injuries."
Eleven pickups were tested, including 4 small trucks and 7 large ones. Five earned Marginal ratings, while the Toyota Tundra was the only pickup to earn a Poor rating. The Tundra and Nissan Frontier earned the lowest ratings, which the IIHS chalks up to being the oldest two pickups on the market.
However, as good as the F-150 was in testing, only the Honda Ridgeline has earned the coveted 2019 Top Safety Pick “thanks to available good-rated headlights, which the other models all lack, and available superior-rated front crash prevention.”