- The IIHS announced the 2022 Toyota Tundra as the only current pickup to earn its Top Safety Pick+ rating.
- Apart from notable crashworthiness improvements, the new Tundra also scored better for its headlight design.
- The 2022 Ram 1500 and Ford F-150 score similarly on crashworthiness, but only earn Top Safety Pick due to lower headlight ratings on their entry-level and mid-range (halogen-equipped) models.
There’s a new top truck in town when it comes to safety — the 2022 Toyota Tundra.
According to data published by the IIHS Wednesday, it is the only pickup truck in current production to manage a “Top Safety Pick+” rating, beating out both the Ford F-150 and the Ram 1500. While all three half-ton trucks fare similarly well in crashworthiness tests, Toyota receives the highest safety rating based on its standard LED headlights.
What it takes to claim a Top Safety Pick+ award
The IIHS awards crashworthiness — including frontal impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head restraints and seats — as well as headlights on a four-tier scale, ranging from “Poor” to “Marginal”, “Acceptable” and “Good”.
In the current range of 2022 model year tests, a vehicle has to score a good rating in six crashworthiness tests for the IIHS to consider it for Top Safety Pick in the first place. In addition, models must have good or acceptable headlights as optional equipment to achieve Top Safety Pick. To hit Top Safety Pick+, good or acceptable headlights must be standard equipment. Frontal crash prevention systems are also a requirement to secure Top Safety Pick. Contenders must reach either “Advanced” or “Superior” ratings there. The lowest tier for front crash prevention, “Basic”, or no standard system at all disqualifies a vehicle for TSP.
Bear in mind, though, that it’s exceedingly rare these days to see any vehicle, including truck, without any front crash prevention system whatsoever. Most have at least automatic emergency braking. The latest models have more advanced systems, featuring both pedestrian and cyclist collision avoidance technology.
The IIHS has an updated side impact test, with a heavier 4,200-pound barrier crashing into test vehicles at a faster 37 mph speed. The 2022 Toyota Tundra, for its part, underwent the original side test. That evaluation used a 3,300-pound barrier to impact the side of the truck at 31 mph (the last-generation Tundra also underwent this test). New vehicles will have to score a good or acceptable rating in the new, tougher side impact test to achieve a Top Safety Pick award for the 2023 model year.
Where the 2022 Toyota Tundra stands against its predecessor
While we’ve discussed the 2022 Toyota Tundra’s new powertrains, styling and design at great length, one of the most telling differences between the two generations is safety.
You would expect as much, as the last Tundra dates back to 2008. In earlier IIHS ratings, the aging half-ton struggled in small overlap crash tests. Earlier Tundras earned “Marginal” on the driver side front crash test, and a poor rating on the passenger side. Roof strength was an issue (it earned an acceptable rating there), as were the headlights at any trim level.
Fast forward to 2022, and the new Tundra scores top marks across the board in all crashworthiness tests. The IIHS noted that the survival space was “maintained very well” in frontal crash tests. Most areas for potential injury (including head/neck, chest and hip/thigh) scored well for driver and passenger. The risk for lower leg and foot injuries earned a slightly lower acceptable rating. However, the agency said the risk of injuries to the crash test dummy’s legs and feet remained low.
The 2022 Toyota Tundra earned an assist credit for its automatic high beam feature. With the credit, though, the IIHS also noted some glare across all models. On the lower end, the base SR, SR5 and Limited trims with LED reflector headlights earned an acceptable rating. Limited models with the Premium package as well as Platinum, 1794, TRD Pro and Capstone trucks earned a good rating with their LED projector headlights.
How the Tundra stacks up to the competition
While the 2022 Toyota Tundra technically beat the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 to Top Safety Pick+, the IIHS’ data suggests all three trucks protect their occupants well in an accident. Across the same battery of six crashworthiness test, all three trucks earn good ratings across the board.
Where the F-150 falls down, as does the Ram, is the headlight evaluation. Specifically, the halogen reflector headlights on the base XL, the XLT and the Tremor trims earn a poor rating, despite getting a high-beam assist credit, with low and high beams falling well short of an adequate rating across multiple tests. The XLT trim with Ford’s 302A equipment package, the Tremor with the 401A package, the Lariat and the Raptor earn an acceptable rating with LED reflector headlights. At the top end, the Tremor with the 402A package, the Lariat trim with the 502A package, the Raptor with the 801A package, the King Ranch, the Platinum and the Limited earn a good rating for their LED projector headlights.
As for the Ram 1500, the base halogen reflector headlights on Tradesman, HFE, Big Horn and Lone Star earn a marginal rating. Laramie and Rebel trims (even with optional packages) also earn a marginal rating with their LED reflector headlamps, despite a high-beam assist credit. The only trims to score a good headlight rating are the Longhorn, Limited and TRX models.
Another minor note
It’s also worth noting both trucks’ poor and marginal ratings for seat belt reminders and child latch ease of use. Neither are required to earn a Top Safety Pick rating, but it appears these full-size trucks don’t score particularly well for user friendliness in those areas. The 2022 Toyota Tundra scored a good rating for seat belt reminders but has not been tested for child seat latch ease of use.
Watch the full Tundra crash test below: