Small Trucks Better on Gas, But Not So Good in Crash Tests

As more drivers consider buying smaller vehicles because they get better mileage, one thing they shouldn’t overlook is crash test ratings.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported Thursday that several 2008 model-year small pickups offered dismal protection in side crashes, reports the AP and The Chevrolet Colorado and twin, the GMC Canyon, without optional side air bags, earned the institute’s lowest rating of poor in the side test.

Several small pickup trucks were judged marginal, the second-lowest in the four-scale ratings, in the side tests: the Dodge Dakota and Mitsubishi Raider without optional side air bags; the Ford Ranger; Mazda B-Series; and the Nissan Frontier without side air bags. The Ranger and B-Series do not offer side air bags.

Dodge Dakota crash test

Dodge Dakota during a front-end crash test


The Toyota Tacoma was the only small pickup tested to merit the top score in side crashes. The Tacoma was tested with optional side air bags because the equipment will be standard on 2009 Tacoma pickups being shipped to dealers this month, the institute said.

In front-end crashes, the Tacoma, Dakota, Raider and Frontier received the top score, or good; the Ranger, B-Series, Colorado and Canyon earned the second-highest score, acceptable.

The institute reported that only a few of the vehicles offer anti-rollover technology, or electronic stability control. Stability control is optional on the Frontier and Tacoma and unavailable on the other vehicles tested. It will be standard equipment on the Tacoma, Colorado and Canyon in 2009.

Photo via the AP.