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).
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 Pickups|
|Model/Ranking||Chevrolet Colorado||Ford Ranger||GMC Canyon||Honda Ridgeline||Jeep Gladiator||Nissan Frontier||Toyota Tacoma|
|Small overlap front: driver-side||G||G||G||G||M||Not Available||G|
|Small overlap front: passenger-side||M||A||M||A||Not Available||Not Available||A|
|Moderate overlap front: original test||G||G||G||G||G||G||G|
|Moderate overlap front: updated test||P||M||Not Available||Not Available||P||A||P|
|Side: original test||G||G||G||G||Not Available||Not Available||G|
|Side: updated test||G||A||G||G||Not Available||A||M|
|Roof strength||G||G||G||G||G||Not Available||G|
|Head restraints & seats||G||N/A||G||G||Not Available||Not Available||G|
|Crash avoidance & mitigation|
|Headlights (varies by trim/option)||P||M||P||M||M/P||A/P||G/M|
|Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-vehicle||Basic||Superior||Basic||Superior||Superior||Superior||Superior|
|Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian (day)||Not Available||Advanced||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available||Superior||Advanced|
|Front crash prevention: vehicle-to-pedestrian (night)||Not Available||Basic||Not Available||Not Available||Not Available||Advanced||No Credit|
|Seat belts & child restraints|
|Seat belt reminders||P||P||Not Available||Not Available||M||A||M|
|LATCH ease of use||M||M||M||A||A||Not Available||M|
|Side Crash||5/5||5/5||5/5||5/5||Not Rated||5/5||4/5|
|Recommended Safety Technologies|
|Forward Collision Warning||Optional||Standard & Optional||Optional||Standard||Optional||Standard||Standard|
|Lane Departure Warning||Optional||Optional||Optional||Standard||Not Available||Optional||Standard|
|Crash Imminent Braking||Optional||Standard & Optional||No||Standard||Optional||Standard||Standard|
|Dynamic Brake Support||Optional||Standard & Optional||No||Standard||Optional||Standard||Standard|
IIHS Key is:
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 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.