This is eye-opening because some of the beloved trucks out there have behaved miserably during the crash tests

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Pickup trucks these are days are not only about their hauling and towing capacities; they are fast, they often come with a luxurious cabin, and are loaded to the gill with high-tech features. So, why should they lag behind in terms of safety? People use trucks today as their daily driver, and family haulers, and they are concerned about safety. Automakers have started offering safety features, but which one tops the list and which truck scrapes the bottom of the barrel?

About The Safety Organizations And Their Tests

Until recently, pickup trucks came only with basic safety equipment like seatbelts. However, with the way this segment has evolved over the last decade, it was only a matter of time before the top safety suites made their way in here. To brief you a bit before we dive deep, there are two organizations in the U.S. that crash-test vehicles.

The first one is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), while the other one is the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The NHTSA is a branch of the Department of Transportation, whereas the latter is an independent safety-research agency. Both the organizations conduct similar tests using different methodologies, barring a couple of procedures. In addition to the front and side impact crash tests, the NHTSA conducts a rollover test, whereas the IIHS tests cars for roof rigidity as well as rear crash protection.

The IIHS is generally considered as the more stringent of the two and unlike the NHTSA, it is actually a group sponsored by auto insurers. The IIHS conducts nine tests – driver side small overlap front, passenger side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side crash, roof strength, head restraints and seats, front crash prevention, headlight rating, and child anchor seats. These parameters are rated on two scales – one rates the test on “Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor,” while the other one rates it on “Superior, Advanced, or Basic.”

2020 Ram 1500 Crew Cab

Ram was recently in the news for ‘killing’ it in this test (pun unintended). The truck won the most coveted award (Top Safety Pick+) recently, with the 1500 becoming the first full-size pickup truck to be conferred with this rating. The 2020 Ram 1500 scored ‘Good’ ratings in all of the six crashworthiness tests. These include three frontal impact tests, along with a side impact, rear impact and a rollover. In fact, it even earned the same rating in the passenger side small overlap front test.

To earn the ‘+’ rating now, Ram had to score at least an ‘Advanced’ in the frontal crash avoidance test. In the near future, even an ‘Advanced’ rating will not add a ‘+’ to the rating. Automakers will have to score a ‘Superior’ rating only. IIHS clearly states that the clarity and strength of the headlight output also matters in getting a perfect rating. Ram engineers tweaked the optional adaptive LED projector headlights with high-beam assist as well as Ram’s automatic emergency braking technology to help the truck. So, it was this optional equipment that helped the 2020 Ram 1500 Crew Cab get over the line and add another feather to its hat.

2020 Ram 1500 Crew Cab Safety Ratings
Small Overlap Front - Driver-Side: Good
Small Overlap Front - Passenger-Side: Good
Moderate Overlap Front: Good
Side: Good
Roof: Good
Head Restraints and Seats: Good
Front Crash Prevention: (With optional feature) Superior
Headlights: Straight Roads – Good, Curved Roads - Marginal
LATCH - Ease of Use: Marginal

Read our full review on the 2020 Ram 1500.

Honda Ridgeline Crew Cab

This truck is the true underdog among the larger pickup trucks. It is not exactly as butch as the Fords or the Rams, but it has the finesse and grace that the other trucks lack. The Ridgeline is a true workhorse and a competent all-rounder. It is the classic example of ‘Jack of all trades, master of none.’ Until recently, the Ridgeline boasted having the top score that a pickup truck has ever obtained. It currently holds the 2019 Top Safety Pick award, and narrowly missed the ‘+’ because of the poor headlight throw on curved roads and an acceptable rating in the small overlap front test for the passenger side. Nevertheless, the Ridgeline is still the safest truck when compared to the others in the segment, barring the 2020 Ram 1500 Crew Cab model.

2020 Honda Ridgeline Crew Cab Safety Ratings
Small Overlap Front: Driver-Side: Good
Small Overlap Front: Passenger-Side: Acceptable
Moderate Overlap Front: Good
Side: Good
Roof: Good
Head Restraints and Seats: Good
Front Crash Prevention: (With optional feature) Superior
Headlights: Straight Roads – Good, Curved Roads - Poor
LATCH - Ease of Use: Acceptable

Read our full review on the 2019 Honda Ridgeline.

Ram 1500 Extended Cab

Wondering why Ram 1500 is making an appearance here again? That’s because the 1500 that won the Top Safety Pick+ is the Crew Cab version, and it comes with the optional headlights and its complementary safety equipment. The version mainly caters as a work truck, so it doesn’t come with all the features of the 1500 Crew Cab. Despite that, the truck has fared fairly well. The ratings it has achieved are similar to the 150 Crew Cab, but it loses out because of the headlights. Like I mentioned in the first entry, Ram engineers tweaked the optional adaptive LED projector headlights with high-beam assist and autonomous braking. Equip that in here and this model would’ve scored the same as well.

2020 Ram 1500 Extended Cab Safety Ratings
Small Overlap Front: Driver-Side: Good
Small Overlap Front: Passenger-Side: Good
Moderate Overlap Front: Good
Side: Good
Roof: Good
Head Restraints And Seats: Good
Front Crash Prevention: (With optional feature) Superior
Headlights: Marginal
LATCH - Ease Of Use: Acceptable

Read our full review on the 2020 Ram 1500.

Ford F-150 Crew Cab

Does the F-150 need an introduction? The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in the States for over four decades consecutively. That itself is a testament to what an impeccable truck it actually is. It comes with a multitude of engine options, a great cabin in higher trims, intimidating exterior looks, but the truck is not known for its safety tech. That doesn’t mean it is bad, but Ford knows it is not the truck’s unique selling point. The truck has scored decently in all the tests except for the headlights. As you’ll notice in the whole list, this test is the toughest to crack, and Ford has failed at it, too; miserably even. It also got a poor ranking for the headlights. But you can expect Ford to retaliate with the upcoming 2021 F-150 and I’m quite certain the truck will win the Top Safety Pick+ award then.

2020 Ford F-150 Crew Cab Safety Ratings
Small Overlap Front: Driver-Side: Good
Small Overlap Front: Passenger-Side: Good
Moderate Overlap Front: Good
Side: Good
Roof: Good
Head Restraints And Seats: Good
Front Crash Prevention: (With optional feature) Superior
Headlights: Poor
LATCH - Ease Of Use: Acceptable

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford F-150.

Nissan Titan Crew Cab

Nissan recently rolled out the 2020 Titan and has paid a lot of attention to the safety aspect. It offers the Safety Shield Package 360 as standard across the range, and further enhanced some features by offering eight airbags and four seatbelt pre-tensioners - two each more than before - Intelligent Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Around View Monitor, Intelligent Cruise Control, and Intelligent Driver Alertness and Traffic Sign Recognition. However, this rating is based on the 2019 model. So, it was tested with the basic safety suite and did not score that well. The truck could not be tested for automatic braking because Nissan doesn’t offer it even as an option. This itself is a big reason as to why the truck lies low on this list. In the other test departments, there’s nothing much to complain about.

2020 Nissan Titan Crew Cab Safety Ratings
Small Overlap Front: Driver-Side: Good
Small Overlap Front: Passenger-Side: Good
Moderate Overlap Front: Good
Side: Good
Roof: Good
Head Restraints And Seats: Good
Front Crash Prevention: Not available
Headlights: Marginal
LATCH - Ease Of Use: Acceptable

Read our full review on the 2020 Nissan Titan.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab

The Silverado has not been able to trump the F-150 in terms of sales, and neither in terms of safety. Although it missed out on a ‘good’ score in many areas, the most baffling was it scoring a ‘marginal’ rating in the small overlap test for the front passenger. This is basically a test based on a 40-mph crash test in which 25 percent of the vehicle’s width on the right side strikes a rigid barrier. It didn’t even get an ‘Acceptable’ rating and that is quite sad, honestly. Chevy would better fix this not just from a pure safety point of view, but also because Ram overtook it in terms of sales. And things like this can lead to further downfall.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Crew Cab Safety Ratings
Small Overlap Front: Driver-Side: Good
Small Overlap Front: Passenger-Side: Marginal
Moderate Overlap Front: Good
Side: Good
Roof: Good
Head Restraints And Seats: Good
Front Crash Prevention: (With optional feature) Superior
Headlights: Poor
LATCH - Ease Of Us: Marginal

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.

GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab

The Sierra 1500 is essentially a Silverado in different clothing. They are structurally and mechanically the same. So, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell that even the safety ratings will be exactly the same. If and when the Silverado will get better safety equipment, you can expect the same to happen with the Sierra 1500.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500 Crew Cab Safety Ratings
Small Overlap Front: Driver-Side: Good
Small Overlap Front: Passenger-Side: Marginal
Moderate Overlap Front: Good
Side: Good
Roof: Good
Head Restraints and Seats: Good
Front Crash Prevention: (With optional feature) Superior
Headlights: Poor
LATCH - Ease of Use: Marginal

Read our full review on the 2019 GMC Sierra.

Ford F-150 Extended Cab

The F-150 extended cab receives the same rating as its crew cab avatar, but for some reason, the truck has not been tested for the passenger side small overlap test. Even though it’s a work truck, Ford should’ve gotten it tested for passenger safety as well. It could also be that Ford didn’t get that tested on purpose because in recent years, trucks are finding it difficult to ace this test due to its offset nature that pushes many structural components to their limits.

2020 Ford F-150 Extended Cab Safety Ratings
Small Overlap Front: Driver-Side: Good
Small Overlap Front: Passenger-Side: —Not tested—
Moderate Overlap Front: Good
Side: Good
Roof: Good
Head Restraints and Seats: Good
Front Crash Prevention: (With optional feature) Superior
Headlights: Poor
LATCH - Ease of Use: Marginal

Read our full review on the 2019 Ford F-150.

Toyota Tundra Extended Cab

A rare example in this list where the extended cab version has scored better than its crew cab counterpart. And, even though it’s better, it scored ‘Acceptable’ in the driver side overlap test. The passenger side overlap test was not even conducted. The Tundra has its own pros and cons, but the truck not scoring decent marks is not acceptable. Customers should start basing their decision-making process on safety and all the automakers will fall in line. The only saving grace here is that it scored a superior rating in the front crash prevention section even on standard spec, unlike others which scored the same marks with optional features specified.

Toyota Tundra Extended Cab Safety Ratings
Small Overlap Front: Driver-Side: Acceptable
Small Overlap Front: Passenger-Side: —Not Tested—
Moderate Overlap Front: Good
Side: Good
Roof: Good
Head Restraints and Seats: Good
Front Crash Prevention: (With standard system) Superior
Headlights: Marginal
LATCH - Ease of Use: Marginal

Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota Tundra.

Nissan Titan Extended Cab

The Titan extended cab version shouldn’t be your first pick even if you are buying it as a work truck. It did not even take all the tests. While the Titan crew cab fared decently, this one fails miserably. Nissan does not offer automatic braking on this truck, not even as an option. This truck didn’t undergo the passenger side overlap test and roof test, and it wasn’t rated for the latch test either.

2020 Nissan Titan Extended Cab Safety Ratings
Small Overlap Front: Driver-Side: Good
Small Overlap Front: Passenger-Side: —Not Tested—
Moderate Overlap Front: Good
Side: Good
Roof: —Not Tested—
Head Restraints and Seats: Good
Front Crash Prevention: —Not Available—
Headlights: Marginal
LATCH - Ease of Use: —Not Rated—

Read our full review on the 2020 Nissan Titan.

Toyota Tundra Crew Cab

Like I mentioned a couple of points above, the Tundra’s extended cab version scored better than the crew cab version. The car was put through its paces on all the parameters and it even failed the basic tests. The driver side and the passenger side overlap tests yielded ‘Marginal’ and ‘Poor’ ratings, respectively. Even in the roof test it only got an ‘Acceptable’ rating.

2020 Toyota Tundra Crew Cab Safety Ratings
Small Overlap Front: Driver-Side: Marginal
Small Overlap Front: Passenger-Side: Poor
Moderate Overlap Front: Good
Side: Good
Roof: Acceptable
Head Restraints and Seats: Good
Front Crash Prevention: (With standard system) Superior
Headlights: Marginal
LATCH - Ease of Use: Acceptable

Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota Tundra.

Sidd Dhimaan
Sidd Dhimaan
Senior Editor, Truck Expert, EV Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. Fast forward to today, and he is currently serving as a senior editor, pickup truck expert, and EV expert.  Read full bio
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