2019 Ford Ranger Crash Tests Well, but Misses a Top Award

2019 Ford Ranger IIHS Crash Test

IIHS image

By Aaron Bragman

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash-tested the new 2019 Ford Ranger crew-cab mid-size pickup truck, and it seems Ford's resurrected Ranger holds up well in crashworthiness ratings. And that's good thing, given its marginal rating for its headlight illumination on IIHS' scale of poor, marginal, acceptable and good. These are the first published crash tests of the all-new Ranger since its reintroduction as a 2019 model, and IIHS only tested the crew cab — the SuperCab model was not tested.

Related: Report: Pickups Struggle in New IIHS Crash Test

The new Ranger scored a top good rating in five of IIHS' crash tests, including the driver-side small front overlap, moderate front overlap, side impact, roof strength, and head restraint tests. It got an acceptable rating in the passenger-side small front overlap test with IIHS reporting that it measured forces in the passenger space that indicated a likely risk of injury to the passenger's lower right leg. The icing on the Ranger's cake, however, is the standard front crash prevention system that includes a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking. It earned a superior rating (out of superior, advanced and basic) in the IIHS collision prevention tests. The organization reported that the truck's system successfully avoided a collision in the 12-mph test and reduced its speed by an average of 24 mph in the 25-mph test.


So why didn't it earn IIHS' coveted Top Safety Pick award (one of IIHS' top two awards)? The headlights are rated marginal for effective illumination regardless of which of the three headlight options you order. Had they earned even an acceptable rating, the Ranger would have qualified for the Top Safety Pick rating, IIHS said in a statement. It's not an uncommon problem for modern automakers; many recent IIHS tests have revealed illumination deficiencies, often leading to urgent redesigns like Hyundai did with the recent 2019 Tucson.

How Ranger Compares to Competitors

The Ranger did better than most pickups, earning five good ratings and an acceptable for the actual crash tests. GM didn't fare too well, however, with the newer, tricky passenger-side small front overlap test earning the new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon marginal ratings with poor ratings for structural deformation. The Nissan Frontier fared worst due to its aged design that's in need of an engineering update. Ford's full-size F-150 performed well, achieving a good rating in all subtests and the six overall crashworthiness tests — the only full- or mid-size pickup to do so — and missing that Top Safety Pick due to its poor headlight performance.

The 2019 Honda Ridgeline does score a Top Safety Pick rating because of its headlight performance — though the headlights rated good only come on its top trims — despite scoring only an acceptable rating in the overall passenger-side impact test and getting two marginal ratings in subtests that factor into overall ratings. So sounds like a Ford Ranger or F-150 with some auxiliary driving lights might be the way to go.

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