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Pickup trucks are known for being capable, large, and work-ready. Safety hasn’t always been a priority for full-size trucks, but all of that is changing now. The Insurance Institute for Highway rated some popular large pickup trucks, and the results were surprising. Toyota and Rivian are the only two truck brands with IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus awards for 2023, with two of the safest pickup trucks.

Toyota and Rivian are the truck brands with IIHS Top Safety Pick awards

Only two pickup trucks met the 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick award criteria: the 2023 Rivian R1T crew cab and the 2023 Toyota Tundra crew and extended cab. The 2023 Rivian R1T passed all the crashworthiness tests with flying colors, including the updated side test. One area that has been an issue for vehicles in previous years is the headlights, but the R1T received high marks for the LED projector headlights on all trim levels.

On the newest category of front crash prevention, vehicle to vehicle, the Rivian R1T earned the highest score of superior. This system is standard on all trim levels and avoided a collision at 12 mph and 25 mph. The vehicle-to-pedestrian daytime test earned a superior score, and the night version also saw positive results.

The frontal and side curtain airbags worked well during the driver-side small overlap frontal crash test to protect the driver. All of the safety measures were enough to receive the highest scores possible on the entire driver-side evaluation, making the Rivian one of the safest pickup trucks for 2023.

Toyota’s Tundra truck received an IIHS top safety pick plus award

These Toyota and Rivian trucks were the brands with IIHS top safety pick plus awards
A 2023 Toyota Tundra, 2023 Rivian R1T | Toyota, Rivian

Two different styles of the 2023 Toyota Tundra made the list. Even though Toyota is a truck brand with IIHS top safety pick plus awards in the past, the automaker got things right the first time with the 2023 Tundra. The extended and crew cab made the list, offering high scores on all the main crashworthiness tests.

The extended cab received two different scores for headlights. LED projector lights on the Limited trim equipped with the Premium package and extended cab received the higher score. The SR, SR5, and Limited trim received LED reflector headlights that earned slightly lower marks.

For the crew cab, five trim levels received the higher-scoring curve-adaptive LED projector headlights. These were the Limited trim equipped with Premium package, Platinum, 1794, TRD Pro, and Capstone trim. On the SR, SR5, and Limited trims, the LED reflector lights earned a lower but acceptable score. Both versions of the 2023 Tundra earned superior scores on the front crash prevention vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian scores.

Updated requirements for 2023 mean fewer winners but safer vehicles


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For this year, the 2023 test strengthens the requirements to earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick Award, which resulted in fewer winners. Due to the changes, only 48 vehicles qualified for an award this year. Only 28 cars, trucks, and SUVs earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award, and only 20 made the IIHS Top Safety Pick award. Upon announcing the changes for 2022, 101 vehicles qualified, and 65 of those earned the Top Safety Pick Plus award.

So far, no small pickups have qualified for an award out of the 10 options. 14 large pickup trucks were tested for the 2023 Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus awards, but only Toyota and Rivian won in the entire truck category.