The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hands out awards and ratings based on a vehicle’s performance in safety every year. In order to earn a Top Safety Pick rating, a vehicle must earn good ratings in most crash tests, advanced or superior ratings in front crash prevention, and an acceptable/good rating for headlights. In order to earn a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS, on the other hand, the IIHS requires that all vehicle tests and headlights come with a good or superior rating. And the IIHS has never handed out the coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating to any full-size truck. Until the 2020 Ram 1500 came around that is.
How the 2020 Ram 1500 earned the first full-size pickup Top Safety Pick+ rating
According to Car and Driver, the IIHS recently gave the 2020 Ram 1500 its highest honor of distinction: a Top Safety Pick+ rating. But only the Ram 1500 crew cab in upper trims earned this honor, with the extended cab version falling behind in the headlamps category. But for the first time ever, a full-size pickup truck has earned this distinction, making the Ram 1500 quite arguably the safest new truck on the road. The Ram 1500 crew cab scored “good” ratings in all small overlap, moderate overlap, and side/roof crash tests, as well as for its head restraints and seats. Its headlights earned a good/marginal rating, while the vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention earned an impressive superior rating.
If you ask the experts, this new honor is due to the Ram 1500’s new adaptive LED projector headlamps with high-beam assist, as well as the introduction of automatic emergency braking and forward-collision tech. But that’s not it either. The Ram 1500 is redesigned with more than just new headlamps, with a new ladder frame and frame-rail extensions that are better designed to offset crash forces and reroute them “through the sturdiest parts of the frame,” according to MotorTrend. The Ram 1500’s suite of collision prevention technology has also helped it to earn this high distinction from the IIHS.
The Ram 1500’s safety stacked up against the competition
According to the full-size truck ratings and rankings offered by the IIHS, the only difference between the crew and extended cab ratings is in the headlights. The Ram 1500 extended cab pickup only received marginal ratings for its headlights. But when compared to other full-size pickups, the Ram 1500 still excels. The new Honda Ridgeline received IIHS’ Top Safety Pick rating (without the +) for good results in crash tests, but it lacked in passenger-side crash results, as well as headlights ratings. No other full-size pickup truck received a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS.
Even the Ford F-150, which performed well in crash tests, received a poor rating for its headlights. The GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado both received the same, poor rating for headlights, but also received marginal ratings for its results in passenger-side crash tests. The full-size pickup that falls to the bottom of the safety ratings seems to be the Toyota Tundra crew cab, which received an average score for its roof strength, a marginal rating for its driver-side crash results, and a poor rating for its passenger-side crash results.
What the 2020 Ram 1500 has to offer, aside from superior safety
According to U.S. News, the 2020 Ram 1500 is ranked as its number one pick for new, full-size pickup trucks. It gets an impressive overall score of 9.0 out of 10 and a J.D. Power reliability rating of four out of five. The experts rank it as the top full-size pickup for not just safety, but its ride quality, interior space, tow ratings, and impressive fuel economy as well.