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When we look at safety and reliability, Toyota usually tops the list of both. However, we got thrown for a loop with this updated midsize truck crash test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Toyota Tacoma hits the bottom of the list, and (get this!) the General Motors twins are on top.

IIHS updated this test after realizing real-world side impact crashes are more severe than the original evaluation. So, the agency now uses a heavier barrier traveling at a higher speed. For 2023, a Good or Acceptable rating will be required to achieve Top Safety Pick awards.

What’s really interesting is in the original crash test, all six midsize trucks got Good ratings.

So, yeah, we need to dig into this bizarre outcome a bit more.

GM duo gets top marks in updated midsize truck crash test

We find it interesting the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon top out with this updated midsize truck test – especially considering their big brothers are usually the least safe full-size trucks. The Colorado and Canyon both get mostly Good ratings, with Acceptable ratings for “Safety and structure cage” as well as driver pelvis injuries.

Commentary from the test says the Colorado and Canyon held up well with minimal risk of most injuries.

The other truck that got a Good rating was the Honda Ridgeline, though it received a Marginal rating for driver’s pelvis injuries.

midsize truck crash test

Screen shot of the updated midsize truck crash test results. (Image courtesy of IIHS)

Why Tacoma did so poorly

Keep in mind the Tacoma was last all new for the 2016 model year, which makes it one of the oldest trucks in the midsize segment. Thus, it only stands to reason this midsize truck needs some safety upgrades.

As IIHS points out the Tacoma’s structure and safety cage was not maintained well during the crash test. In fact, the impact pushed the B-pillar within a few inches of the center of the driver’s seat. It’s unclear why this doesn’t translate into driver injuries.

The bottom line

If you look at the overall crash test ratings for midsize pickup trucks, they aren’t great. Nary a one gets a Top Safety Pick designation, with headlights being the primary problem. But this updated crash test shines a brighter light on the midsize truck segment and the need for general improvement – especially in the area of driver’s pelvic injuries.

We appreciate that the IIHS keeps moving the safety needle, and when the Tacoma is redesigned, likely for 2024, we’ll be curious to see what improvements are made because of this.

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Jill Ciminillo

Jill Ciminillo is the Managing Editor for Pickup Truck + SUV Talk as well as a Chicago-based automotive writer, YouTube personality and podcast host, with her articles and videos appearing in outlets throughout the U.S. Additionally, she co-hosts a weekly radio show on car stuff for a local Chicago station. Previously, Jill has been the automotive editor for both newspaper and broadcast media conglomerates. She is also a past president for the Midwest Automotive Media Association and has the distinction of being the first female president for that organization. Jill is also currently a juror for the North American Car, Utility and Truck of the Year (NACTOY).

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