Is a compact pickup inherently safer than a compact car?; Not so, says the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, having just crash-tested a number of small trucks.
After a series of destructive tests, including a frontal-offset collision at 40 mph and a side impact at 31 mph, the 2008 Toyota Tacoma came out as the IIHS top pick.; Receiving a 'good' rating in both front and side impact situations, the Tacoma's performance is hampered only by a 'marginal' rating in rear-end collisions.
The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon twins are the IIHS's worst-rated pickups.; Although head-on collisions yield an 'acceptable' rating (the second-highest rating the IIHS gives), the trucks received a 'poor' rating in side-impact testing and a 'marginal' rear-impact score.; Although side-impact airbags are optional on both the Colorado and Canyon, IIHS tests vehicles without the devices unless a manufacturer requests otherwise.
The IIHS also takes manufacturers to task over the lack of stability control systems on small pickups.; Although the Tacoma and Colorado/Canyon will have ESP as standard equipment for 2009, it's only available for 2008 on the Nissan Frontier.
2008 Toyota Tacoma: ; ;Front: Good ; ;Side: Good ; ;Rear: Marginal ; ;ESP: Not available; standard in 2009
2008 Dodge Dakota/ Mitsubishi Raider: ; ;Front: Good ; ;Side: Marginal ; ;Rear: Acceptable ; ;ESP: Not available
2008 Nissan Frontier ; ;Front: Good ; ;Side: Marginal ; ;Rear: Poor ; ;ESP: Optional
2008 Ford Ranger/ Mazda B-Series ; ;Front: Acceptable ; ;Side: Marginal ; ;Rear: Poor ; ;ESP: Not available
2008 Chevrolet Colorado/ GMC Canyon ; ;Front: Acceptable ; ;Side: Poor ; ;Rear: Marginal ; ;ESP: Not available; standard in 2009