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If you’re interested in a pickup truck for your family, you’ll want to be aware of all of the benefits and drawbacks to buying one. After all, while pickup trucks are incredibly versatile – and increasingly so, in recent years – they are also not always designed with young children in mind. To illustrate just how true that is, there isn’t a single pickup truck with good car seat LATCH system ratings, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Here’s what ratings various pickup trucks received, and why that matters. 

A white 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz against a white background.
2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz | Hyundai

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz has an acceptable LATCH system

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the safest small pickup truck, according to the IIHS. It has the best overall crashworthiness ratings. However, the Santa Cruz only gets an acceptable rating for its car seat LATCH system. 

An acceptable rating may sound – well, acceptable, but good is what you’re really looking for. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. It’s one way that car seats are able to be safely secured to vehicles. It’s supposed to make it easier, and hopefully therefore safer.

The 2022 Toyota Tacoma has an even worse car seat LATCH system rating 

While the 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz may only have an acceptable rating, the Toyota Tacoma’s LATCH system rating is even worse. Despite being the second-safest small pickup truck, according to the IIHS, the Toyota Tacoma has a marginal LATCH system rating. Sure, this isn’t as bad as it could be – the worst rating a vehicle can get is poor – but a marginal rating doesn’t instill a whole lot of confidence in the Tacoma’s ability to easily and safely handle car seats. 

The 2022 Ford Ranger also has a marginal rating

The 2022 Ford Ranger may be a third-place pickup truck, but it’s car seat LATCH system ratings are only marginal. While the Ranger is a favorite pickup truck for a lot of reasons, if you’re shopping for a truck that can handle car seats, you may want to bypass this one. 

The 2022 Chevy Colorado doesn’t have good LATCH system ratings 

Unfortunately, the 2022 Chevy Colorado doesn’t present a better option to the other pickup trucks with less-than-perfect LATCH system ratings. The Colorado also has a marginal LATCH system rating, and as the fourth-safest pickup truck, you may want to consider one of the three other trucks, if safety is your priority. 

Why do LATCH system ratings matter?

If you plan on putting your child in a forward-facing car seat, you’ll need to use the LATCH system. The IIHS says that “tether anchors are always needed when installing forward-facing restraints, regardless of whether the lower anchors or the safety belt is used. The top tether keeps the child seat from pitching forward in a crash.”

Some of the things that the IIHS evaluates include the lower anchor accessibility, force, and also clearance angle. In addition, it pays attention to the location, any hardware that may be confusing, and how many LATCH systems are available in the vehicle. To get a good+ rating, the SUV must have a good rating and also have “A rating of good+ is awarded to vehicles that meet the criteria for a good rating and provide additional LATCH-equipped seating positions for maximum flexibility. For a two-row vehicle, that means having a third good or acceptable LATCH seating position. The third position may use either dedicated anchors or borrowed anchors.”

Small pickup trucks are a great option for anyone who needs a little bit of a passenger vehicle and a little bit of a work truck. Yet if you plan on putting car seats in your truck, none of these 2022 small pickup trucks are good options. Yet if you’re set on choosing one, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz is probably your best bet. 


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