Toyota Tundra (left) shows relatively little cab intrusion during
the 40-mph crash simulation when compared to the Ford F-150 (right)
which suffered much more damage to the passenger compartment. (photos,
Tundra Triumphs, Ford F-150 and Dodge Ram Fail Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety Full Size Pickup Truck Crash Tests
Compiled By: Michael Levine
06-04-01 22:00, Last
Edited: 06-05-01 22:00
In a 40-mph
simulated, frontal offset barrier crash test administered by the Insurance
Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) on full size pickups, the best selling
truck in America scored the lowest rating.
rated "poor" while Toyota's Tundra scored the highest with the
only "good" rating among the group of four pickups. The Dodge
Ram scored slightly better than the F-150 with its own "poor"
rating while the Chevrolet Silverado ranked second with "marginal"
results. Suprisingly, the IIHS results are the reverse of rankings the
same four trucks received during government frontal impact testing.
debated as an accurate gauge of real-world crash performance by the auto
manufacturers, the IIHS test attempts to measure 10 different data points
to determine how a driver would fare during the most violent of front-end
collisions. Eight of the data points measure cab intrusion around the
driver while the remaining two measure steering column movement.
OF OCCUPANT COMPARTMENT INTRUSION AND STEERING COLUMN MOVEMENT (cm), 40
MPH FRONTAL OFFSET CRASH TEST SHOWS TREMENDOUS DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TRUCKS
offset crash testing 40% of a vehicle's front end impacts with a deformable
aluminum barrier at 40-mph to simulate a head on collision between two
vehicles of the same weight. According to the IIHS this test measures
passenger compartment strength and durability more rigorously that the
federal government's National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) full-width frontal impact test that all vehicles must pass. The
IIHS claims the NHTSA test better measures the performance of a vehicle's
restraint system and not passenger compartment intrusion because the force
of the impact is spread evenly over the entire front of the truck, so
both tests complement each other.
do not necessarily agree with the IIHS testing methodology. Ford's Automotive
Safety Office Director, James Vondale, says, "The IIHS frontal offset
test is an extremely severe high-speed test that does not often occur
in real world situations. Improving the rating for full-size pickup in
the IIHS high-speed offset test would require stiffening the front-end
on the F-Series. This would have tradeoffs for frontal government testing
and could affect other areas such as compatibility with other vehicles."
scores of good (G), acceptable (A),
marginal (M) and poor (P)
are calculated and assigned by combining the occupant compartment intrusion
results above with injury measurements on a highly sophisticated crash
test dummy and slow motion video analysis of seat belt and airbag performance.
Toyota Tundra's high scores can be attributed to the very strong
safety cage surrounding the driver. In fact, so strong was the Tundra
that even after the test its doors still worked.
key aspect of protecting people in crashes is keeping the space
around occupants intact,'' said Brian O'Neill, president of the
institute. "Then the safety belts and air bags can prevent
significant injuries, even in very serious crashes. This is what
happened in the Tundra, but not in the F-150.''
NHTSA front impact tests, performed at 35-mph, the Toyota Tundra
only scored three out of five stars for both passenger and driver
Toyota Tundra Frontal Offset Crash Test Results:
Chevrolet Silverado shares a marginal score with its untested twin,
the GMC Sierra, because the two pickup trucks are so similar.
the test the Silverado showed poor cab compression but, surprisingly,
its combined score was saved by a lack of injuries to the dummies
head, neck and chest.
examined after the test, poor restraint of the dummy's head showed
it drop below the window sill.
Chevrolet Silverado Frontal Offset Crash Test Results:
again that, "No single test can measure a vehicle's overall
safety performance, and they don't necessarily reflect a vehicle's
real-world safety," a DaimlerChrysler spokesperson was quoted
by the Associated Press after the Dodge Ram scored a poor rating.
Dodge Ram dummy suffered high neck and head injuries due to late
airbag deployment and poor body restraint during the test. Like
the Silverado, the driver's head dropped below the window sill on
the rebound, and made contact with the inside door panel, as seen
by the smeared greasepaint on the door.
cab intrusion further lowered the score.
Dodge Ram Frontal Offset Crash Test Results:
its first ever large pickup crash testing, the Insurance Institute
for Highway Safety said the F-150 was by far the worst performer
among the four 2001 models tested.
O'Neill, IIHS President, stated that the F-150, "exhibited
major collapse of the occupant compartment in the offset test. As
a result of this collapse, the dummy's movement wasn't well controlled.
High injury measures were recorded on the dummy's head and neck.
The airbag deployed late in the crash, and this also contributed
to the high injury measures."
should be noted though that the Ford F-Series trucks recently became
the first pickups to earn quadruple five-star rating in government
crash tests, achieving
Ford F-150 Frontal Offset Crash Test Results:
possible ratings for driver and passenger frontal protection,as well as
front and rear seat side protection. No other full-size pickup truck tested
by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety performed as well.