When you’re driving a big, burly pickup truck, it can give you a sense of being in control, above it all, indestructible even. But if crashworthiness is a standard by which you judge invulnerability, then the truth of it is this: Pickup trucks simply aren’t a safe assumption — in most cases, at least.
Earlier this year, the Insurance Institute for Highway safety conducted a round of crash-safety evaluations on a field of pickups, and only a very precious few held up under the scrutiny (not to mention collisions). And that overwhelming majority that failed to earn a Top Safety Pick crashworthiness award from IIHS by and large weren’t just dinged on a headlight technicality, but on the merits (or lack thereof) of their actual structural integrity.
In fact, just three pickups in any size category across all of mainstream truckdom earned a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick Plus award. Joining the Top Safety Pick-awarded 2019 Honda Ridgeline and the Plus-earning 2019-20 Ram 1500 crew cab is the 2020 Toyota Tacoma crew cab. When properly equipped, the new Tacoma earns scores of good nearly across the board, with the exception of the IIHS’ newest collision evaluation, the passenger-side small overlap test, which approximates what happens when the front passenger side of the vehicle strikes an object such as a tree or utility pole; here, the Tacoma snagged a one-notch-down rating of acceptable.
If the Tacoma’s Top Safety Pick crashworthiness was just the nudge you needed to make it your next truck, bear in mind that to get the award-winning version, you’ll have to spring for headlights only available on the pickup’s higher trim levels. You can read all about the specifics via the link below to our full story on the Tacoma’s crash-worthiness success — the No. 1 most popular story for all of November on Cars.com sister site PickupTrucks.com.
From that very practical, truck-shopping-centric news, we do a bit of a sideways skid into more, shall we say, enthusiastic matters. Courtesy of the Las Vegas-hosted 2019 Specialty Equipment Market Association Show back in the beginning of November, we brought you a look at a host of trucks for which pragmatism — like that very last job skill listed in an employment ad — is merely a plus. Case in point: Our No. 2 story from last month, our article ticking off the conceptually appropriate exterior and interior features on the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado HD Carhartt Special Edition, branded to the workwear apparel line that’s as popular with soft-handed suburban shopping-center loiterers as it is with rebar workers and spot welders.
Also out of SEMA were a 2019 Nissan Titan XD heavily modified to create a one-off dually version of the truck billed as the “ultimate low rig,” at No. 4; the 2020 Jeep Gladiator “Alpine Equalizer,” themed and equipped for maximum beat bumpin’ courtesy of audio-equipment luminary Alpine, at No. 6; and another amped-up aftermarket Gladiator in the Hennessey Maximus 1000, with a cognac brandy theme … wait, no, that’s not right … rather, it’s a very limited-edition Gladiator that’s been PED’d up by Hennessey Performance Engineering for the fortunate two dozen buyers who can afford to pay $225,000 for the privilege of “badassery on four wheels,” at No. 9.
Another pickup carrying tons of enthusiast appeal — albeit for a truck that theoretically will actually reach the mass market — is the hyperbolically hyped Tesla Cybertruck. Following its unveiling last month concurrent, but not affiliated, with the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Southern California luxury electric automaker released a skeptically scrutinized video of the Cybertruck easily outpulling a Ford Super Duty F-250. The B.S. calling on the tug-of-war stunt was swift, so we figured it would be germane to the back-and-forth to make a specs comparison of the two trucks to see how they really stack up. That comparo pulls in at No. 5, while the Tesla truck makes an encore appearance on our countdown at No. 7 as part of PickupTrucks.com’s monthly electric-truck news roundup.
Be sure to keep on truckin’ beyond that, though, because elsewhere on the list, you’ll find news on the 2020 GMC Sierra 2500 AT4 diesel’s fuel economy, the Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup starting production in 2021 and a Ford F-Series Super Duty safety recall. Here are the top 10 articles readers couldn’t get enough of on Cars.com sister site PickupTrucks.com:
More From Cars.com:
- More Pickup Truck News
- Find Your Next Pickup Truck, Now
- Research the 2020 Toyota Tacoma
- Tesla Cybertruck: Impressive Specs, Killer Price, Polarizing Looks
- 10 Biggest Pickup Truck Stories: 2020 Toyota Tundra Pulls Ahead With Nissan Titan in Tow
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