NEWS

2022 Toyota Tacoma Safety Rating Marginal Despite Improvements

2022 Toyota Tacoma IIHS 2022 Toyota Tacoma IIHS | IIHS image

The 2022 Toyota Tacoma extended cab will not be joining stablemates like the Highlander, Sienna or Camry as an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick. The mid-size pickup truck earned a marginal rating in the passenger-side small overlap front crash test because of an increased risk of front-seat passenger injury.

Related: Here’s Every Car That Earned an IIHS Top Safety Award for 2022

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A vehicle must earn good ratings in six key crashworthiness tests to qualify for a Top Safety Pick or the higher Top Safety Pick Plus designation. The Tacoma did earn good marks in the remaining five tests, however: driver-side small overlap, moderate overlap front, original side, roof strength and head restraint.

The passenger-side small overlap test is similar to the driver-side small overlap frontal test in which a vehicle traveling at 40 mph strikes a barrier while a dummy is positioned in the driver’s seat. But instead of striking the left side closest to the driver, the vehicle makes contact with the barrier on the right side, and an additional dummy is placed in the front passenger seat. In the latest test of the Tacoma extended cab, the pickup’s door frame and dashboard intruded into the occupant space during the crash, causing a high risk of injury to the passenger’s right leg and moderate injury to the left leg. The dummy’s head also struck the grab handle on the right side of the windshield despite the vehicle’s airbags performing well.

2022 Toyota Tacoma IIHS Crash Test 2022 Toyota Tacoma IIHS | IIHS image

The new marginal rating applies to 2022 Tacoma extended-cab models built after October 2021, an improvement over the poor ratings earned by older variants. In prior tests, one of the vehicle’s rear leaf springs punctured the fuel tank, creating a fire risk — and a failing grade. Toyota addressed the issue of the fuel leak in October, but the changes were not sufficient to perform better in this latest round of testing.

Another Top Safety Pick requirement is an acceptable or superior rating for a vehicle’s standard front crash prevention system in both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian collision avoidance. The Tacoma’s system earned a superior grade for the former evaluation but was not evaluated for the later. The pickup comes with Toyota’s Safety Sense suite that includes standard forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic high beams. The pickup’s optional LED headlights — available on higher trims — received a good rating, but the base trim’s headlights were rated as marginal.

The 2022 Tacoma four-door crew-cab variant performed slightly better in IIHS testing, with an acceptable score for the passenger-side small overlap front crash test, but it, too, failed to earn a Top Safety Pick award.

The Tacoma isn’t the only pickup that struggles in IIHS crash tests: Rivals like the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger, Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Frontier all failed to secure good ratings across all six categories in their latest evaluations. To find a Top Safety Pick, truck shoppers will have to consider the full-size Ford F-150 crew- or extended cab or Ram 1500 crew cab, or the Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickup.

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