You've seen the commercials. A big brute of a pickup truck tows a cluster of boulders through a wall of fire, as a deep-voiced announcer touts the truck's strength. Even the minute disclaimer at the bottom of the screen warns you that you're not tough enough to try this. But results of a new crash test study show that a number of large pickup trucks aren't even as safe as most cars when it comes to providing protection in side-impact crashes.
The Chevy Silverado 1500, Dodge Ram 1500, GMC Sierra 1500, and Nissan Titan large pickup trucks all earned "poor" or "marginal" ratings in side-impact crash tests perormed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the organization announced Wednesday. "The size, weight, and height of these large pickups should help them ace the side tests just like the other large pickups we've tested. Not these three. They perform worse than many cars we've evaluated," IIHS senior vice president David Zuby stated in an IIHS News Release issued Wednesday.
In contrast, a number of popular large pickups managed to perform well in the IIHS's side-impact crash tests, including the Ford F-150, Honda Ridgeline, and Toyota Tundra, all of which earned a rating of "good" and the IIHS's "Top Safety Pick" award for 2009. The IIHS side-impact evaluations are based on crash tests in which a vehicle's side is struck by a barrier moving at 31 miles per hour. "Injuries" are measured on test dummies, and the vehicle's structural performance is assessed, according to IIHS.