Small Pickups Disappoint in Crash Tests

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

No mid-size pickup truck earned an award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in a recent round of testing.

A total of eight small pickups were evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with four earning good ratings for occupant protection in all five crashworthiness evaluations. But the lack of an automatic emergency braking system and poor-rated headlights resulted in no safety awards given out. For the tests, IIHS evaluated two body styles of each pickup: crew cab and extended cab.

The top performer in the small overlap test for these 2017 models is the Toyota Tacoma Double Cab (crew cab), which was also the only small pickup to earn a good rating for structure in the small overlap test. Results on the Access Cab (extended cab) model were similar, except it received an acceptable rating for structure due to some additional occupant compartment intrusion.

Both the Chevrolet Colorado Crew Cab and the GMC Canyon Crew Cab earn good ratings for occupant protection in the small overlap front crash test. The Extended Cab variants earn an acceptable rating.

SEE ALSO: Nissan Titan Disappoints in IIHS Crash Tests

Both Nissan Frontier variants received marginal ratings on the small overlap front crash test. They did however, earn good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, and roof strength test, while having acceptable-rated head restraints.

Unfortunately for all the small pickups tested, none are available with anything other than poor-rated headlights. Only the Colorado and Canyon are available with an optional forward collision warning system that receives a basic rating for front crash prevention.

Toyota did say the 2018 Tacoma will have a standard autobrake system with pedestrian detection and upgraded headlights that include high-beam assist, which automatically switches between high beams and low beams depending on the presence of other vehicles.

“This group of small pickups performed better in the small overlap front test than many of their larger pickup cousins,” says David Zuby, the Institute’s executive vice president and chief research officer. “The exception was the Nissan Frontier, which hasn’t had a structural redesign since the 2005 model year.”

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Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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