In side-impact crashes, small pickup trucks offer less protection than many cars and sport-utility vehicles -- with some models receiving 'dismal' safety ratings -- according to a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study of side-impact tests involving small pickups.
Of the 2008 model small pickups tested by the IIHS, only the Toyota Tacoma received a rating of "good" for occupant protection in side-impact crashes, which the IIHS calls the "second most common type of fatal motor vehicle crash." In a news release announcing the test results, IIHS President Adrian Lund stated that, while "more people may be looking at small pickups because of rising gas prices . . . , they won't find many that afford state-of-the-art crash protection."