Is bigger always better? When it comes to vehicles on the road, many drivers would say yes. Record-low gas prices have made fuel efficiency less of a concern among drivers, leading to the regrowing trend of people purchasing bigger vehicles. 

One of the main reasons people enjoy these vehicles is the perception that they provide better safety in a crash, especially when involved in a crash with an eighteen-wheeler. However, this is not always the case. 

The 2016 verdict 

As early as 2016, MarketWatch published an article warning consumers that bigger is not always safer when it comes to pickup trucks. Most pickup trucks do not score well on safety crash ratings, particularly those related to small overlap crashes. 

MarketWatch sourced this information from the International Institute for Highway Safety. At the time, this was the first time IIHS had conducted these tests. 

The 2019 verdict 

Recent crash test results from the IIHS did not fair much better. USA Today reports that while drivers enjoy a little more safety, the passengers in newer pickup trucks face great risk. In fact, they have a much greater risk of death or injury than drivers. Most two-row pickup trucks did a poor job of maintaining their structures during crash tests. 

Some trucks did much better or worse than others. The Toyota Tundra is a favorite among drivers for its reliability but USA Today reported that it scored the worst grades of all the pickup trucks tested. The trucks with much better passenger safety records include the following: 

  • Toyota Tacoma 
  • Honda Ridgeline 
  • Ford F150 
  • Nissan Titan 
  • Ram 1500 

The Bottom Line 

For some people, pickup trucks are work vehicles used for towing and hauling. Other people may use these trucks as family vehicles. Regardless of use, it is important to include safety in the factors taken into consideration before making a purchase. 

We do not endorse any specific manufacturer or model of truck. Information regarding specific brands comes directly from USA Today.