By Dave Bean, FMW Associate Editor
When the IIHS launched its updated moderate overlap front crash test last year, it revealed that many vehicle segments fell short of passenger safety, specifically in the rear seat compartment. Now included among that group are 2023 model year large pickups.
While they offered strong protection during the side impact collision test, all four large pickups in the front crash test fared less than desirable in protecting those who may be in the back seats. Here, only Toyota Tundra earned so much as a marginal rating. The Ram 1500 crew cab, Ford F-150 crew cab and Chevrolet Silverado crew cab all were branded as poor.
“Like most other vehicle classes, large pickups don’t perform as well in the new moderate overlap evaluation as they do in the updated side test, which is now a requirement for our TOP SAFETY PICK awards,” said IIHS President David Harkey.
When IIHS began its revamped moderate overlap front test last year, it wasn’t due to new safety issues in the rear compartment. It seemed that upgraded and improved safety features in the front section were so effective that the disparity between front and back widened significantly. These improvements included better performing airbags and seat belts – neither of which had made it to the rear passenger section. Despite this finding, the back seats are still the safest option for children. And little ones fastened correctly into child safety seats fare even better.
In order to earn a ‘good’ rating, a crash test dummy needs to stay securely positioned in the rear. If not, the dummy records projected injury data, such as head, neck, chest or thigh damage. The biggest failure occurs when a dummy ‘submarines’ forward and underneath the seat belt, which can cause tremendous injury to the abdomen, as well as extremities.
In testing the 2023 larger pickup trucks, all four succeeded in providing solid protection in the front driver and passenger seats. Conversely, all four were, indeed, vulnerable to ‘submarining’, resulting in the low ratings.