Zach Gale on May 12 2011
Power and towing capacity may be more important to some truck buyers than good safety ratings, but that hasn’t stopped the Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra from earning the Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Becoming a Top Safety Pick requires a vehicle to score a “good” rating in the front, side, rear, and rollover crash tests. The Ford F-150, traditionally the best-selling vehicle in the United States, has a new engine lineup for the 2011 model year. Only F-150s made after February 2011 — when Ford made changes to the truck’s roof structure — are considered part of the F-150′s Top Safety Pick designation. At the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the 2011 Ford F-150 scored a four-star overall rating (out of a possible five stars).
The Toyota Tundra also become a Top Safety Pick, thanks to its previous “good” test scores in the front, side, and rear impact results plus its ability to withstand a force of 4.5 times its weight (the F-150 withstood a force 4.7 times its weight). Like the Ford, the Toyota has a four-star overall safety rating at the NHTSA.
The Nissan Titan is next in line with the IIHS’s ratings. The Titan’s “acceptable” rating was limited by the truck’s strength-to-weight ratio of about 3.6 — a rating of at least 4 is required for a “good” rating.
Unfortunately, the other domestic pickups did not fare so well during testing. The 2011 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Ram 1500 each earned a “marginal” rating from the IIHS. While the Nissan Titan hasn’t been rated by the NHTSA since the organization made the safety tests more stringent, the Silverado has a four-star overall rating and the Ram scored three stars overall. If you were shopping for a full sized truck, how important would safety be?