While it’s easy to assume that large vehicles like pickup trucks will automatically offer higher levels of safety, this isn’t always the case. As such, it is always important to specifically shop for vehicles with high safety ratings and good crash test scores. If you’re on the hunt for a midsize pickup truck, the Toyota Tacoma, Honda Ridgeline, and Ford Ranger all made it to MotorTrend’s list of the safest trucks of 2021.
The Honda Ridgeline: MotorTrend’s safest midsize pickup truck
MotorTrend has compiled a list of the safest full-size and midsize trucks currently available for 2021. The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is the first midsize pickup truck on this list, with reviewers calling it “one of the safest trucks you can buy.”
The Ridgeline has five-star ratings from the NHTSA in both front and side impacts. Notably, it is also the only vehicle in its class to get an overall five-star rating from the NHTSA. The Ridgeline also received top ratings in almost every IIHS test, although its subpar standard headlights prevented it from becoming a Top Safety Pick.
This pickup starts at $36,490. It makes 280 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque and has a combined fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon. Standard safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning.
What to expect from the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck
Second on the list is the 2021 Toyota Tacoma, which outsells every other pickup truck in the segment, according to MotorTrend. This truck has a five-star side-impact rating from the NHTSA and received four stars in its front impact and rollover tests.
The Tacoma stands out as being the only vehicle in its class to receive a Good headlight rating from the IIHS, with the caveat that you must upgrade to the optional lights. It received Good ratings in almost every IIHS test, with a slightly lower Acceptable rating for passenger-side small overlap. Several key safety features, including emergency braking and pedestrian impact warning, are not available.
The 2021 Tacoma has an MSRP of $32,665. It features a 3.5-liter V6 that makes 278 hp and 265 lb-ft of torque and has a combined fuel economy of 20 miles per gallon. While this truck does not include emergency braking or pedestrian impact warning, it does come standard with the Toyota Safety Sense suite of features. These include lane departure warning and adaptive cruise control.
How the Ford Ranger ranks
The 2021 Ford Ranger made it onto MotorTrend’s list of the safest midsize pickup trucks thanks to its plethora of safety technology. It offers an emergency braking system and pedestrian impact warning, making it the only vehicle in its class with these features.
However, the Ranger ranks third on the list due to the fact that its aging platform resulted in lower crash test ratings. It has an overall score of four stars from the NHTSA and received just three stars in its rollover test. However, it performed well in the front- and side-impact tests, receiving four and five stars, respectively.
In IIHS testing, the Ranger performed identically to the Tacoma. It received perfect scores in each category except passenger-side small overlap, where it received a score of Acceptable.
This truck has an MSRP of $24,820. It features a 2.3-liter inline-four that makes 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. Auto stop-start technology comes standard on the Ranger, and it is EPA estimated to get 23 miles per gallon combined. Standard safety features include a rearview camera, stability control, and a post-crash alert system.
Each of these vehicles offers excellent safety ratings. If you’ve been shopping for a midsize truck, it’s definitely worth taking a look at the Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford Ranger.