• The Ram 1500 Is Officially The First Full Size Pickup to Earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick + Rating

The automaker is on fire and nothing seems to stop it at the moment

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Ram is on a roll these days. The company recently unveiled the third-gen EcoDiesel engine and it has put the competition under pressure. As if that wasn’t enough to attract customers, the Ram 1500 has now won the IIHS’s (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) most coveted award - Top Safety Pick+ - making it the first full-size pickup truck to be conferred with this rating. With the way the automaker is rolling, can it do anything wrong at all?

Trucks Are The Highest Selling Vehicles In The U.S. And This Is The First One To Score Full Marks

First of all, kudos to Ram for developing a truck that could earn the top safety prize. We take safety very seriously and this trumps every other aspect of a vehicle. Moving forward, it’s quite ironic that despite being muscular and butch, not a single full-size pickup truck to date was given the top safety award. Let it be clear that not all Ram 1500s received this rating. It was the Ram 1500 Crew Cab model with optional equipment installed. Ram sacrificed a few trucks for it, but it will be happy with the end result.

The model in question scored ‘Good’ ratings in all six crash-worthiness tests.

These include three frontal impact tests, along with a side impact, rear impact, and a rollover test. 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 for that to happen. But the optional equipment on the truck helped the 2020 Ram 1500 get over the line and add another feather to its hat.

2019 Ram 1500 safety rating
Rating overview
Small overlap front: driver-side G
Small overlap front: passenger-side G
Moderate overlap front G
Side G
Roof strength G
Head restraints & seats G

Those Are Some Really Strict Conditions To Pass The Test

Coming to the carmaker of the hour, it was the optional headlights that helped the 2020 Ram 1500 earn the highest-rated "Superior" mark.

Even the Forward Collision Mitigation helped, but the headlight test is apparently the toughest test for any vehicle to pass. Many vehicles in the past lost out on the ‘+’ because of the headlights. 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 and Ram’s automatic emergency braking technology to help the truck pass the tests with flying colors. Even an "Acceptable" rating stops the vehicle from winning this award. Also worth noted is that the headlights are available solely on the Laramie and Limited trims.

Ram Has Consciously Worked On Making The Truck Safer

The Ram 1500 Is Officially The First Full Size Pickup to Earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick + Rating
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Actually, credit needs to be given to the reinvigorated structure as well. In January 2018, Ram engineered the front of the Ram’s new ladder frame entirely with octagonal-section frame-rail extensions. These are mandrel-bent and welded from tailor-rolled sheet steel blanks that vary from three millimeters to two millimeters thick going forward to ensure they crumple in a gradual, controlled manner.

The frame-rail extensions are splayed outward to better capture small-offset crash forces and route them through the sturdiest parts of the frame.

As for the Forward Collision Mitigation feature, it boasts a sensor-fusion technology that combines camera capability with radar detection to predict the likelihood of a forward impact. It first warns the driver to take action to avoid the collision and if the action taken is insufficient, then the system can apply the brakes to limit the damage.

How Did The Competition Fare?

The Ram 1500 Is Officially The First Full Size Pickup to Earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick + Rating
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Speaking of the competition, the 2019 Ford F-150 also earned the ‘Good’ rating in half-a-dozen tests, but scored ‘Poor’ in the headlights test. The Nissan Titan earned the same rating, but scored ‘Marginal’ in headlights. The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, on the other hand, scored a ‘Marginal’ rating in the passenger-side small overlap crash test.

Ram’s Reid Bigland said that “this recognition validates our unrelenting efforts to deliver more value for our customers. The new Ram 1500 has earned many accolades for its capability and design. It is immensely satisfying to have the IIHS recognize our truck for its compelling safety story.”

For the sake of the argument, even the Honda Ridgeline earned the IIHS’ top medal, but since it’s not based on a body-on-frame platform, it doesn’t qualify as a full-size pickup truck.

The New EcoDiesel Engine

Ram's New EcoDiesel Engine Undercuts The Price of The Competition While Claiming The Top-Spot In The Towing Department Drivetrain
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Ram will be introducing the 2020 1500 truck with the new third-gen EcoDiesel engine.

It is a 3.0-liter, V-6 mill that generates 260 horses and 480 pound-feet of torque.

This is a noticeable increase over the second-gen EcoDiesel engine that produced 240 ponies and 420 pound-feet of torque. It will be mated to the existing eight-speed TorqueFlite transmission. This new engine comes with a water-cooled turbocharger with variable geometry that helps it respond better to your throttle inputs. Ram has also introduced a dual, high-pressure and low-pressure exhaust gas recirculation system, redesigned the pistons, optimized the combustion chamber geometry, and added a brake system vacuum pump with low friction blades. The automaker has not officially revealed the fuel economy figures, but seeing these tweaks and additions, we expect it to be significantly higher than the current-gen mill.

The new engine also boasts a higher towing capacity than the outgoing model. Trucks equipped with the new mill can tow up to 12,560 pounds compared to the previous rating of 9,300 pounds, thus trumping the Chevy Silverado as well as the Ford F-150. Ram is already making big strides in the segment. In the first half of 2010, Ram trucks’ sales went up by 28 percent, thus pipping the Chevy Silverado to claim the second position. As for the price, the new EcoDiesel mill commands a premium of $3,000 over the 5.7-liter, V-8 Hemi engine with eTorque mild-hybrid technology. But, despite this, the starting price will the cheapest among the three.

Final Thoughts

The Ram 1500 Is Officially The First Full Size Pickup to Earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick + Rating
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Ram has not been developing an electric truck that we know of, but it is creating a buzz in the traditional pickup truck market. Do you think this is a good move, or is it high time it built something to take on Tesla’s, Rivian’s, and Ford’s offerings? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Further Reading

Ram's New EcoDiesel Engine Undercuts The Price of The Competition While Claiming The Top-Spot In The Towing Department Exterior
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Ram’s New EcoDiesel Engine Undercuts The Price of The Competition While Claiming The Top-Spot In The Towing Department

2019 Ram 1500 Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 760723
Give the Silverado and F-150 some stout competition

Read more about the 2019 Ram 1500.

Source: IIHS

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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