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You may think that a big truck is going to be pretty safe, and that there’s little difference between two pickups. You’d be wrong. Every year the IIHS tests a variety of vehicles, and we can look at the results to weigh one against the other. Is the 2021 Toyota Tundra safer than the 2021 Dodge Ram 1500? Or is it the other way around? Let’s take a look.

A white 2021 Toyota Tundra in the woods.
2021 Toyota Tundra | Toyota

The 2021 Dodge Ram 1500 is an IIHS Top Safety Pick

An IIHS Top Safety Pick is awarded to a vehicle which gets good ratings in the driver-side and passenger-side small overlap front crash ratings, and moderate overlap front crash ratings. A vehicle must also get a good rating in the side crash tests, roof strength and head restraint tests. 

A vehicle must also get a superior or advanced rating for front crash prevention in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian tests and have acceptable or good headlights available. 

The 2021 Dodge Ram 1500 got a good rating in each of these tests. The IIHS Top Safety Pick applies only to the large, crew cab Dodge Ram pickups with optional crash prevention and certain headlights. In fact, all IIHS crash tests typically apply to certain levels and trims, so know what you’re looking at.

Small overlap front tests were better in the Dodge Ram

The overall evaluation of the small overlap front: passenger side tests for the Dodge Ram 1500 was good, but the structure and safety cage was only acceptable. 

The 2021 Toyota Tundra got a marginal in its small overlap front: driver side test. This includes a marginal for its structure and safety cage, but good in most of the driver injury measures except for the lower leg/foot, which got a poor score. 

The small overlap front: passenger tests were even worse. The overall rating for this was poor. This included a poor rating for structure and safety cage, and a good for the passenger injury measures: head/neck and chest. However, the passenger injury measure: hip/thigh was marginal, and the lower leg/foot was poor. Passenger restraints and dummy kinematics were just adequate. 

How were the moderate overlap tests for the Dodge Ram and the Toyota Tundra?

To conduct the moderate overlap frontal test, the IIHS simulates a situation like what would happen if two same-size vehicles hit each other at just under 40 mph. Forty percent of the width of the vehicle strikes an aluminum honeycomb barrier on the driver side.

The 2021 Dodge Ram 1500 scored a good rating in the moderate overlap tests. The Toyota Tundra, on the other hand, got a good rating in every subcategory other than leg/foot, right getting a good score. Only the leg/foot, right side got a marginal score. 

How was the roof strength, head restraints and seats?

The 2021 Dodge Ram 1500 did much better than the 2021 Toyota Tundra in these tests. The Ram scored a good result for roof strength. It also got good scores in the overall evaluation for power leather seat, as well as a good dynamic rating and seat/head restraint geometry. 

On the other hand, the Toyota Tundra’s roof strength was just adequate. The head restraints and seat ratings were all good for the power cloth seat. 

How did the Dodge Ram and Toyota Tundra do in crash prevention?

The Ram 1500 scored a superior rating in the overall vehicle-to-vehicle evaluation with the optional Advanced Safety Group or Level 1 Safety Group. In both the 12 mph and 25 mph IIHS test, the Ram 1500 was able to avoid a collision. 

The Ram 1500 scored advanced and in the 12 mph crossing child test, the Ram 1500 avoided a collision. In the 25 mph test, the speed was reduced by 21%. 

In the crossing adult 12 mph and 25 mph tests, the Ram was able to avoid a collision. It also avoided a collision in the parallel adult 25 mph test. However, in the 37 mph, the Ram 1500 didn’t slow down. A warning was issued 2.4 seconds before the collision. 

In front crash prevention: vehicle to vehicle, the Tundra had a standard pre-collision system and pedestrian detection. It avoided a collision in both the 12 mph and 25 mph IIHS tests. 

The headlights in the Toyota Tundra received a marginal score. The child seat anchors were just adequate. The IIHS found them hard to find and too deep in the seats. This can be a problem because car seat safety is partially dependent on being able to correctly install the car seat. 

Overall, is the Toyota Tundra safer than the Dodge Ram? No. The 2021 Dodge Ram 1500s better crash test ratings and IIHS Top Safety Pick make it a better choice than the 2021 Toyota Tundra. When safety is your priority, choose the Dodge.


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