IIHS Picks Three Top Trucks for 2012

IIHS lede

By Larry Edsall

Only three pickup trucks — the Ford F-150, Toyota Tundra and Honda Ridgeline — have been named Top Safety Picks for 2012 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). 

“The award recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover and rear crashes based on ratings in Institute evaluations,” IIHS said in announcing the list of 69 cars, 38 SUVs, five minivans and three pickups. “The ratings, which cover all four of the most common kinds of crashes, help shoppers pick vehicles that offer the highest levels of crash protection.”

“It’s Packaging 101. If the box doesn’t collapse, then the cargo that’s inside is better protected,” IIHS President Adrian Lund said.  In the case of the IIHS awards, that cargo is people: the driver and passengers. 

All the pickup trucks that made the list of Top Safety Picks were considered full-size crew cabs. 

Is a crew cab inherently safer than extended or standard cab configurations? Maybe yes and maybe no. When it comes to full-size pickups, crew cabs are the only ones IIHS puts through its crash testing.

“They’re the versions of pickups that we usually test,” IIHS spokesman Russ Rader said. “The reason is we want to rate the version of the trucks that are most likely going to be used as family vehicles rather than work vehicles. We haven’t tested the other versions of the trucks.”

IIHS Ridgeline
“For drivers who need to haul loads, the Ford F-150, Honda Ridgeline and Toyota Tundra are good choices in the large-pickup category,” IIHS said in its press release, adding, “small pickups continue to be shut out. None the Institute has evaluated qualify for the award.” Regular PUTC readers will remember we reported the mixed test results from last year in the midsize pickup truck segment

IIHS tests compact pickups, but for 2012 none of them earned Top Safety Pick status. In fact, since pickups were included in the program starting in 2008, only one small truck, the Toyota Tacoma, has earned Top Safety Pick acclaim, and that was in 2009. No word as to the IIHS will continue to use the term "compact" or reclasify the Ridgeline at a latter date as a "midsize". 

In 2008, the Tundra, which had standard side airbags, was the only pickup to be named a Top Safety Pick. In 2009, the F-150, Tundra, Tacoma and Ridgeline all received such recognition. No full-size pickups were tested as part of the 2010 program. The F-150 and Tundra repeated on the 2012 list and were rejoined by the re-engineered Ridgeline.

"With frontal-offset, side-impact and rear-crash evaluation ratings already at IIHS’ Good levels, we focused on improving the roof-crush performance of the Ridgeline to achieve IIHS Top Safety Pick for 2012,” said Chuck Thomas, chief engineer of vehicle safety at Honda R&D Americas. 

IIHS gauges vehicle protection in a rollover by using machinery that pushes down on the roof and measures the force needed to deform structural integrity.

IIHS Tundra
“Roof crush ‘Good’ performance was achieved by upgrading the material strength of select roof structure components and strategically adding reinforcements inside the existing roof structure sections,” Thomas said. (“Good” is the highest rating in IIHS crash tests.) “This elegant and efficient approach improved performance with little affect to surrounding parts, keeping the overall cost of improvement lower and providing more value to our customers.

“Ten of the 18 new additions are Honda/Acura models,” IIHS said, noting that Honda and its luxury division had, in Lund’s words, “buckled down and upgraded roofs on 10 models that missed winning last year because of rollover protection. Now the automaker has winners in the minicar, small car, midsize car, small SUV, midsize SUV, minivan, and large pickup categories.”

IIHS notes that “vehicles rated Good for rollover protection have roofs more than twice as strong as the current federal standard requires. The Institute estimates that such roofs reduce the risk of serious and fatal injury in single-vehicle rollovers by about 50 percent compared with roofs meeting the minimum requirement.” A new federal standard for roof strength is being phased in with the 2013 model year.

Based on IIHS crash tests of 2012 model pickups, the Ram and Nissan Titan scored Good in front and rear protection while the Chevrolet Silverado/GMC Sierra achieved that score only in front protection.

Among 2012 “small” pickups, the Nissan Frontier and Suzuki Equator were rated Good in front, side and rollover tests; the Tacoma was rated Good in front, side and rear. The extended cab versions of the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon scored Good in front protection while the crew cab model had no “Good” scores.

For specific scores in all categories, visit www.iihs.org.

Note that IIHS’ crash-test procedures differ from those used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For NHTSA scores for pickup trucks, visit www.safercar.gov.


Great to see domestic is leading in safety - kudos to Ford it is good news we are getting better that in turn will lead us to regain our dominance in the auto industry over those Japanese autos.

so the ridgeline is a pickup?

they need it to be the best to keep the only retards alive that will buy their junk haha

Yup Ford in the top 3. No surprise there.
Ford wins Chevy fails again

@David Robertson,

The Tundra is a domestic pickup moron...

It is made in only one place in the world and that is Texas!

Once again PUTC missed another story how about the Tundra being on Forbes for one of the vehicles they think can go over 200,000 miles http://autos.yahoo.com/news/cars-that-can-run-for-over-200-000-miles.html


Tundra is Japanese !!!

It is a Toyota and Toyota is Japanese,all profits go to Japan,Toyotas headquarters are in Japan,therefore it is Japanese !

Toyota is not domestic,just because it is made in the U.S doesnt meen it is domestic !

Toyota Tundra,Tacoma is Japanese ! They are Jap trucks,rice mobiles ect...

@ oxi
with parts shipped in from Japan and Mexico

Tacoma needs to step it up in its marginal roof strength, 2nd to last. Even the "outdated" Ranger has acceptable roof strength. Fronteir is number one.


@Dan the man I'm pretty sure ALL trucks contain lots of components from Japan and Mexico. Why do people hate Toyota so much? I picked an F-150 over a Tundra, and am happy with my choice, but Capitalism (and the bettering of pickup trucks) is encouraged by competition for the best product. Toyota included. Not to mention they build them in Texas, on US soil. So not all the profits go to Japan, some of them go to US men and women in texas putting them together. Although based on Tundra sales, it hasn't been a whole lot of profit.

Frontier is number one in small pickups.

So if I flip my Raptor and Oxi flips his Tacoma I will be better off than him?


You say if its built in the US but the company is in Japan, then the company is Japanese. So if the company is American but the product says "MADE IN CHINA" What kind of company is that? Whether Toyota is Japanese or not, the Tundra is made by THE AMERICAN HANDS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!

Nice to know I'm safe in my Ford. Nothing wrong with Toyota. You guys in your new tin foil sheet metal and bumper GM's are rolling on wheels Made In China. I saw it with my own eyes when getting new tires put on my F-150. An entire set of wheels off a GMC were there waiting for the tires to be installed and the entire shop was laughing about 'Made In China' being stamped on the back of the rims. American made? Ya right.

Have mercy lets put this to an end an unbiased end so we will let ABC be the judge. The ABC series is "Made in America" not "Profits in America" and Toyota Tundra is made in America.

some logics some of u's throw out there r just as stupid as the person who said them. stupid peeps says stupid things.

applicable to everything, life or product. toyota is japan, but the tundra is american. u mama/papa is japanese, but ure born here so ure american.

Kudos to them all!

The Toyotas Tundra and Tacoma are Japanese in brand but they were assembled in the US, as were the Nissans Frontier and Titan. American-built Japanese-brand products. Seems contradictory but it's a fact. Just as there are American brand products that have parts made elsewhere. Sure wished Walmart stuck to American-made products...That's what made them unique over other retailers.

Ridgeline is not a truck...it is a crossover

can we all just get along? Capitalism is great. I am more biased towards ford and gm because overall ford and gm contribute a lot more to the economy of the USA. It's great that the Tundra is made in America but overall if you buy a Ford you or GM vehicle you are contributing a lot more to the economy of the USA. But capitalism and freedom are great things buy what you want and don't complain. Nothing wrong with buying a toyota if that's what you like you're not killing America. But the FACT is you're doing more for AMERICANS in general if you buy from GM or FORD because more of the money from those COMPANIES stays in the USA. Please lets not argue about this anymore.

Toyota doesn't even own Toyota.

Last I checked, they only owned about 25% of the company.

To be ignorant of that is no big deal. To be racially prejudiced is disgusting and very un-American.

Im more inclined to trust American's post than anyone else's on here, and you will never catcth me in a japaneese auto, unless maybe if I'm in Japan..........Past that, I think Toyota has major quality issues. Only truck where you can call the parts dept and order a frame, and better get an engine to whilst you're on the phone, cause, prob thats sludged up too and just waiting to go at anytime if it hasnt yet.

@Dan the man I'm pretty sure ALL trucks contain lots of components from Japan and Mexico. Why do people hate Toyota so much? I picked an F-150 over a Tundra, and am happy with my choice, but Capitalism (and the bettering of pickup trucks) is encouraged by competition for the best product. Toyota included. Not to mention they build them in Texas, on US soil. So not all the profits go to Japan, some of them go to US men and women in texas putting them together. Although based on Tundra sales, it hasn't been a whole lot of profit.
Posted by: Zach j | Dec 16, 2011 9:38:43 AM

i have no problem with the Tundra and will be one of the trucks i research when buying a truck again, i just don't buy into the whole American made thing they can say what they want, yes it maybe assembled in America but not all the parts are made in America and yes same goes for the other trucks

Nice to know the furd is such a safe truck cus I plan on crashing my Impala into screwie louie

Actually Toyota is a publicly traded company, just like Ford, which means the profits go to share holders, etc. So Ford profits could also be going to Japan investors........

I'm always wary of the IIHS. The IIHS puts themselves up a a quasi-government agency when they are not. They are a testing company funded by the Insurance Industry. Their goal is to save the insurance industry money on repairs and injuries. Saving lives is just a secondary byproduct.


Tacoma's roof is fine. The Tacoma's roof is the strongest in its class...

oxi would have caused $25,000 of dollars of damage on the trails to his truck and roof in this year alone if he would have gone with another truck or full-size tank!

Don't believe everything you read from the IIHS!

Team Oxi

yea right that's the best you can come up wiyh oxi LMAO

Can Toyota fans learn that not liking foreign cars is NOT the same as not liking foreign people. A car is a piece of metal, it does not have feelings. Even if you think your Toyota has a soul, it does not! People who hate Toyotas are not racist! Come up with a new comeback, please!

u r right that peeps who hate toyota don't necessary hate japanese. it is a product after all. but theres a fine line in how things r said that coins a person a racist or not, even if thats not what they meant to say.

peeps can hate toyota bcuz they don't like their product nor does it fits their likings, fine its cool, it's a product of preference.

but when one hates toyota/honda bcuz its japanese, it is racist of the person to say such. especially those who blatantly speak out that they wouldnt get caught dead in a foreign vehicle n walk r those who hate out of racism.

hate it bcuz its toyota.... not bcuz its japanese.

i personally hate one or more vehicle from each brand bcuz imo it does not meet what i like/want regardless of manufacture origin.

but when one hates toyota/honda bcuz its japanese, it is racist of the person to say such. especially those who blatantly speak out that they wouldnt get caught dead in a foreign vehicle n walk r those who hate out of racism."

Everything is RAAAAACIST!!!!!!! these days. Shut up, libtards.
I hate the Japanese/Toyota/Honda (trucks) and wouldn't be caught in one because they are ugly and don't have the features and benefits I want. Stop throwing the race card. The truth isn't racist.

I never said anybody who doesnt like Toyota is racist but you can give out that impression when you call it a "jap truck" and then give out incorrect facts about the current model. I dont know anyone hear so I dont know if you are racist and wont call you that. Also I would love to know why you big 3 owners apologize for the current Nissan Titan then send out words of encouragement for the next gen Titan but bash the other full size Japanese pickup with all the awards? Im goona go off on a limb and assume the reasons for the Toyota hate is because some of you come from families of certain brands and others of you fear that Toyota is more of a threat to your superiority complex than Nissan is.

I hate toyota simply because they are the weineriest. Period.

Way to go Ford -representing the United States of America. An American automobile company, making products in the U.S.A., taking care of Americans. Thank you!

Arigato, to Honda and Toyota also, for protecting the 10,000 Americans, or so, that have snatched-up these things.

@ uh huh - you raise some valid points/concerns. In some cases, hating Toyota because it is Japanese is racist, and in other cases it is xenophobia. In many cases it is a case of confusing nationalism with patriotism.
I find that for many people it is easier to hate Toyota and other companies with a foreign head office than to admit that their own government and big business sold them out for short term profits and taxes.
Blame Ford, GM or Chrysler for selling crap because they had no competition (don't tell me the stuff made by Detroit in the 70's and even into the '80's was good). That opened the door wide open to cheeper more reliable products. People left the Detroit 3 and never came back.
Blame corporate America for abandoning the middle class, especially the unskilled middle class. Companies would rather pay a Mexican 3.75 an hour, or a Chinese dude 0.30 cents and hour (and ship the stuff here) for unskilled labour then an American with a UAW card getting 33 dollars an hour or a Canadian with a CAW membership getting 38.00 dollars an hour.
If you don't like Toyota products or Honda products. Give your reasons and leave it at that. Jap scrap, or what ever label you throw at it does venture into the realm of racism. Blaming Toyota for the USA economy is falling into xenophobia or misplaced nationalism.
@Jason - calling someone a libtard is no different than calling them a gook, jap, or chink. You don't like someone's views, explain your reasons. Anything more is crossing the line.
"The truth isn't racist"?
All depends on how you word it or spin it.
Slave traders didn't think they were racists.
(Just an extreme example but I hope people see my point).


You always speak (type) with a clear, informed, and open mind. That is what I love about you!

Myself, on the other hand, preach with a narrow and closed mind. I can honestly say, though, that I am not racist on any level. I waive the flag of the United States of America. My descendants came from two other North American countries. I am a first generation U.S.A. citizen on my father's side and second generation U.S.A. citizen on my mother's side. I appreciate where my family, before me, came from but my loyalty starts and ends with the U.S.A.

Again, I am not racist, but I do want the U.S.A. (as I live here) -followed by Canada, Mexico, and Central America (extended to South America) to have economic/financial security before anywhere else. Solely because I live in North America, and am directly affected by the economy here, and not because of any racial views or stereotypes.

When my own, are well and taken care of, then I am able to help outside causes.

Lou, keep it real. You are one of the few, here, that I take the time to read their views and comments.

@ Alex- I generally dont like foreign cars or people. No Lou, that does not apply to Canadians.

im not racist i got a color tv just hate japan china junk. it pisses me off i spend money on tools like the grinder and drill i've had and the screws fall out of it after 3 day uses and you look at the label and it says made in china japan blah blah doesn't make me even want to spend 30 grand on a car or truck from them people if that can't even make a simple tool that will last 5 days

@TUNDRA - WHAT A JOKE - Funny, When I was in a wreck in my F150 and the frame was buckled, they just ordered the frame from the dealership and swapped all the parts. I would think you can still order a frame for any pickup regardless of manufacturer. I would think parts not offering a frame would be more of a planned obsolescence than a frame problem.

Lou, Get off your high Candaian horse. Hating Japanese products is not racist. I hate bad products and high prices. I buy the best product at the cheapest price. Some are Japanese, but not their trucks. Jap trucks are crap and overpriced.

Buy American,
Unfortunately Lou is just another racist concern troll. He also hates big businesses.

I agree with you said above. I live in the southeastern United States. Unions are very rare here. Which is why people have jobs making $20 per hour. The companies people work for have plants and business world wide. Someone with my same job title out west in Ohio or California gets a starting pay of almost $30 per hour. Good for them, right? No, do you ever wonder why cost of living is so much higher the further north or west you go. It is always higher where unions are prevalent. Everyone feels like they are better off by making more per hour, or a higher salary. It all balances out. All unions do is drive companies away. Everyone likes to blame the big companies for taking business elsewhere to help save money but it is unions and government regulations.

"but when one hates toyota/honda bcuz its japanese, it is racist of the person to say such"

Nobody even made that point here. You are another racist concern troll like Lou posting in the guise of "corncern" to disrupt this post which was supposed to be about safety ratings!

These racist cocern trolls disrupt dialogue or undermine morale by pointing out that posters and/or the site may be racists. They point out problems that don't really exist. The intent is to derail, stifle, control, the dialogue. It is viewed as insincere and condescending.

You guys are right.

When someone dislikes a Toyota or Honda product, just say that is "racist" and move on.

Left-wing tacticts at their finest...

For all of you in the south "jap" is offensive http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jap it is a ethnic slur you are using and then you want say that you are not a racist and people are making stuff up about racism. Some of you need to read the last 3 paragraphs of this http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/40822-why-people-hate. The problem I keep hearing is from big 3 owners who are used to their truck being one of the best and most profitable vehicles in American history http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/11/top-12-most-profitable-vehicles.html/12 saying the Japanese or "jap crap" isnt as good as thier when this article http://autos.yahoo.com/news/cars-that-can-run-for-over-200-000-miles.html says otherwiese. The need to feel better than others is the reason why you use a ethnic slur or make up lies about the current Tundra and not the Titan the Tundra is made by Toyota the worlds former #1 automaker which Nissan wasnt so you dont fear it and because you dont fear it you dont hate it.

Way to go Tundra!

The ONLY pickup that has made the safety list since this program started.

The ONLY pickup to make the Top 10 most American Made Index:


The ONLY pickup to make the list of 10 Cars That Will Make it Past 200,000 Miles:


You got it Toyota!!

Way to go Tundra!

The ONLY pickup that had made the safety cut since the tests started.

The ONLY pickup on the Top 10 American Made Index:


The ONLY pickup on Cars That Will Make it Past 200,000 miles:


You got it Toyota!

@Don E- IONS evaluates occupant protection, because safe occupants also save insurance companies money. Replacing vehicles outright pales in comparison to life flight followed by a few weeks hospital stay. Price only goes up if someone is in e dry seat. Yes, you are right that they aim to save insurance Co's money, but that can work for you as well.

Thumbs up to Honda for addressing the weak spots by making minimal changes. Thumbs down to toyota that they weren't willing or able to do the same with the Tacoma, especially as it was already getting a refresh.

Mr Knowitall,
Good point.

Toyota city Japan! Yeah I'm pretty sure most of there profit goes back too jap land. So fast people forget history, next big auto maker will be bin laden motors! Cause people love too support countries and people that hate and want us dead. Be American drive American!

@ 5.3 LOL
I'm not from the south and I don't like or care what happens to the Japanese people. I don't and won't buy there crap. They lost the war to us just to call us lazy and take us over economically. And i think the people of America let it go cause they feel bad about dropping the bomb on them. Well I'm 40 years old and i haven't forgotten. All of you foreign car lovers need too do some research on the Japanese companies in America. Look at facts about true employment by them. How many are temps and permanent . How many reach retirement before being let go. Notice I didn't say JAP so I would offend you. Drive what drives America!

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