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With the growth of trucks as family vehicles, safety has become a lot more important in a truck. For this list, we’ll be focusing solely on the 2023 model year and models that have completed crash testing from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

This means the new 2023 Chevy Colorado and 2023 GMC Canyon will be excluded since they came out late in the model year and haven’t been tested yet. Instead, I’ll show results for the 2022 model.

Finally most NHTSA and IIHS ratings are for crew cab models only. As we reported on recently, midsize truck rear cabin occupants aren’t as safe as one would assume.

Safest 2023 midsize trucks

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the IIHS and NHTSA ratings for all seven midsize trucks on the market.

Safest 2023 Midsize Pickups
Model/RankingChevrolet ColoradoFord RangerGMC CanyonHonda RidgelineJeep GladiatorNissan FrontierToyota Tacoma

IIHS Ratings

Small overlap front: driver-sideGGGGMNot AvailableG
Small overlap front: passenger-sideMAMANot AvailableNot AvailableA
Moderate overlap front: original testGGGGGGG
Moderate overlap front: updated testPMNot AvailableNot AvailablePAP
Side: original testGGGGNot AvailableNot AvailableG
Side: updated testGAGGNot AvailableAM
Roof strengthGGGGGNot AvailableG
Head restraints & seatsGN/AGGNot AvailableNot AvailableG
Crash avoidance & mitigation
Headlights (varies by trim/option)PMPMM/PA/PG/M
Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-vehicleBasicSuperiorBasicSuperiorSuperiorSuperiorSuperior
Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian (day)Not AvailableAdvancedNot AvailableNot AvailableNot AvailableSuperiorAdvanced
Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian (night)Not AvailableBasicNot AvailableNot AvailableNot AvailableAdvancedNo Credit
Seat belts & child restraints
Seat belt remindersP PNot AvailableNot AvailableMAM
LATCH ease of useMMMAANot AvailableM


Overall4/54/54/55/5Not Rated4/54/5
Frontal Crash4/54/54/55/54/54/54/5
Side Crash5/55/55/55/5Not Rated5/54/5
Recommended Safety Technologies
Forward Collision WarningOptionalStandard & OptionalOptionalStandardOptionalStandardStandard
Lane Departure WarningOptionalOptionalOptionalStandardNot AvailableOptionalStandard
Crash Imminent BrakingOptionalStandard & OptionalNoStandardOptionalStandardStandard
Dynamic Brake SupportOptionalStandard & OptionalNoStandardOptionalStandardStandard

IIHS Key is:

  • G – Good
  • A – Acceptable
  • M- Marginal
  • P – Poor

The results are quite interesting looking at them in one chart. It is also clear which ones are safer than others.

For example, the Jeep Gladiator gets rather low marks across the board and lacks many of the others standard safety ratings

This is in sharp contrast to the Honda Ridgeline with its high scores and standard equipment across the board.

For the midsize sales leader, the Toyota Tacoma, the results are a mixed bag for the IIHS crash ratings since the test was changed during the time the Tacoma has been on sale.

The General Motors twins are a mixed bag as well as the Nissan Frontier.

The bottom line

The question of the safest midsize truck changes all the time. Not only are new models coming out which have been designed to ace the safety tests, but the tests themselves evolve over time as well.

For example, the IIHS headlights section has only become a thing in the past few years.

What does all this mean? The newer the truck in its product life is often is better for safety ratings, but older trucks aren’t necessarily less safe. Rather the test and goal posts have been moved forward.

Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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