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Silverado, Titan, Ram fare poorly in crash tests

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3 large pickups don't live up to brawny image in side tests; none rates better than marginal for occupant protection

ARLINGTON, VA — The Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Dodge Ram 1500, and Nissan Titan are billed as workhorses, but the side crash protection these 2009 model large pickups provide is wimpy, at best. The trio earns either poor or marginal ratings in side tests by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Even with side airbags, occupant protection in these crew-cab pickups is no better than marginal.

"The size, weight, and height of these large pickups should help them ace the side tests just like the other large pickups we've tested. Not these three," says Institute senior vice president David Zuby. "They perform worse than many cars we've evaluated."

The Dodge Ram with standard side airbags earns a marginal rating. The Nissan Titan and Chevrolet Silverado earn poor ratings when tested without their optional side airbags. The Titan's side rating improves to marginal in models tested with side airbags, while the Silverado's optional side airbags don't improve the rating over models without them. The Silverado's ratings also apply to its twin, the GMC Sierra 1500, both of which were redesigned in 2007, so the ratings apply to 2007-09 models. The Ram is a new design for the 2009 model year. The Titan was introduced in the 2004 model year, so results apply to 2004-09 models.

The Institute's side tests assess occupant protection in vehicles struck in the side by SUVs or pickups. Results can be compared across vehicle type and weight categories, while frontal crash test ratings can't. This is because the kinetic energy involved in the side test depends on the weight and speed of the moving barrier, which are the same in every test. In contrast, the kinetic energy involved in the frontal crash test against an immovable barrier depends on the test vehicle's speed and weight.

The Ram, Titan, and Silverado should have an advantage in side crash tests over smaller vehicles, not just because of their size and weight but also because the dummies' higher seating positions put their heads and shoulders above the striking barrier. Occupants of cars, for instance, are more vulnerable because their bodies are in line with the fronts of vehicles, especially tall ones, which might hit them in the side.

"These large pickups don't have to work as hard as smaller vehicles do to protect their occupants. Even with their characteristic advantages, the Ram, Titan, and Silverado still miss the mark when it comes to occupant protection in side crashes," Zuby says.

Continued: http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr021109.html

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I hate that site. They show some photos but not all of them. Why do they have photos up of side impacts but not frontal? Anyway, wow, the Silverado looks pretty bad. Image if it was a hardtop! :spin:

Also, why do they make it such a pain in the ass to link to their images? You'd think they'd want people to share the findings. f@#ktards.

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Also, the bottom line is they want 400 more airbags in vehicles, as they even admit the structure of the Ram held up well.

In contrast, the Ram and Titan's side structures are designed to better limit intrusion. The Ram's side structure/safety cage earns a good rating, while the Titan's earns acceptable marks. The Ram has standard head-protecting side curtain airbags but not torso airbags. Both curtain and side torso bags are optional in the Titan. Adding torso airbags might improve the Ram's side protection.
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Looks like the Silvy's B-pillar is collapsible. Of course, big trucks and SUVs often roll over in a side impact.

Looks like they are doing ok on the front collision standard...remember the old Astro and S-Blazer which collapsed like accordions in front collisions?

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I hate that site. They show some photos but not all of them. Why do they have photos up of side impacts but not frontal?

Since practically all new vehicles get "good" frontal ratings, they outsource the testing to the vehicle's manufacturers, hence no pictures. Occasionally they will do a frontal "verification" test.

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Since practically all new vehicles get "good" frontal ratings, they outsource the testing to the vehicle's manufacturers, hence no pictures. Occasionally they will do a frontal "verification" test.

That's not an excuse. The site's job is to be informative. It should include the text as well as the visualization. If they are going to half-ass it they shouldn't do it at all. That's web 101.

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Also, the bottom line is they want 400 more airbags in vehicles, as they even admit the structure of the Ram held up well.

The new ugly Chryslers (so excluding 300, PT Cruiser) tend to have very good structures; they're only let down by the lack of torso airbags.

In fact the Caliber has the best side structure (-14.5 cm, B-pillar to longitudinal centerline of driver's seat; tied with Corolla) of any small vehicles tested by the IIHS. It gets a "marginal" overall because of poor torso protection.

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The new ugly Chryslers (so excluding 300, PT Cruiser) tend to have very good structures; they're only let down by the lack of torso airbags.

In fact the Caliber has the best side structure (-14.5 cm, B-pillar to longitudinal centerline of driver's seat; tied with Corolla) of any small vehicles tested by the IIHS. It gets a "marginal" overall because of poor torso protection.

True, their unibody cars have good ratings. Crash test ratings and safety seems to have been an afterthought w/ trucks among many carmakers, though...

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True, their unibody cars have good ratings. Crash test ratings and safety seems to have been an afterthought w/ trucks among many carmakers, though...

Not really an afterthought. The Ram would have gotten a top safety pick had it done better in side impacts, and it would have done better in side impacts if it had another set of airbags, the structure held up well.

The Silverado though...

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Not really an afterthought. The Ram would have gotten a top safety pick had it done better in side impacts, and it would have done better in side impacts if it had another set of airbags, the structure held up well.

The Silverado though...

I was thinking historically, cars have had various crash test requirements for decades, applying them to trucks is a relatively recent development, I believe. It does look like the Ram's structure faired the best of the 3. I wonder why the new F150 wasn't included.

Edited by moltar
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