Trucks are known for a lot of really great things; they can tow a lot, haul a lot, and are bigger than nearly every other vehicle on the road. Yet there’s one area where pickup trucks seem to really suffer, and that’s handling. A look at Consumer Reports’ best pickup trucks reveals one major deficiency; both routine and emergency handling scores for every single rated truck on the list are mediocre, at best. So why aren’t there any trucks with good handling in 2022?
The #1 pickup truck has mediocre handling
If you’re in the market for a new pickup truck, you probably want to know which trucks have good handling. You may be surprised to learn that even in 2022, there are 0 large pickup trucks rated by Consumer Reports that have either a routine or emergency handling score of 4/5 or better. Even the #1 rated pickup truck, the 2022 Ram 1500, only has handling scores of 3/5 in each category.
While the 2022 Ram 1500 gets an overall rating of 75/100 and a road test score of 83/100, putting it in first place by a mile, its routine and emergency handling scores are lackluster. Things get worse for the second and third-rated pickup trucks. The 2022 Ford F-150 has scores of 2/5 for both routine and emergency handling while the 2022 Ford F-250 has pretty poor scores of 1/5 in each category.
It isn’t until you get to fourth place that handling even returns to mediocre, with the 2022 Nissan Titan. The Titan has a 3/5 in both handling scores.
Do 2022 trucks have good handling?
Pickup trucks aren’t exactly known for excellent handling. It’s partly because of their massive size. The fact that they’re so high off the ground can make them more prone to things like tipping over, which certainly don’t contribute to good handling.
To determine the routine handling score, Consumer Reports says that “Our expert judgment reflects how agile the vehicle is on the road by the amount of body lean and steering response. Also includes turning circle, the bumper clearance needed to make a complete U-turn”
To find the emergency handling score, it says, “Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.”
Why are pickup trucks not safe?
Part of the reason that pickup trucks may not be considered safe is due to their sheer size. Consumer Reports reports that some trucks have blind spots much greater than cars – up to 11 feet. Their blind spots can even be 7 feet greater than those in SUVs. Consumer Reports writes, “Research has found that modern pickups—which can have tall hoods, large blind spots, and stiff body-on-frame designs, and which can often exceed 4,000 pounds—are particularly deadly in crashes with pedestrians and smaller, lighter vehicles.”
In addition, big trucks can’t avoid accidents as easily as smaller vehicles. Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ senior director of auto testing, says, “Pickups and other large vehicles routinely do worse in our emergency handling and braking tests.”
So what does all this mean for pickup trucks? If you can’t find trucks with good handling in 2022, after years of opportunities to learn from studying accidents and changing truck profiles, how can trucks become safer? It’s a quesiton that consumers may want to start asking, so that the pickup trucks we all love can become the vehicles we’re all safer around.