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Nissan Frontier Excels in IIHS Rollover Crash Tests

February 17, 2010

ARLINGTON, VA - In new crash tests aimed at evaluating rollover protection, the Nissan Frontier proved to have the strongest roof, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said. 

Five 2010 small pickups took part in the testing. The Frontier, also sold as the Suzuki Equator, was the only pickup in the group to draw the highest rating of "good." The Ford Ranger was rated "acceptable." The Dodge Dakota, Toyota Tacoma and Colorado (also sold as the GMC Canyon) drew the IIHS rating of "marginal." The Chevrolet Colorado was deemed the weakest among the five small pickup trucks tested, IIHS said. 

IIHS said the rating system was based on research showing that occupants in rollover crashes benefit from stronger roofs. Vehicles rated "good" must have roofs that are more than twice as strong as the minimum required under the current federal safety standard. 

The ratings, products of the institute's new roof strength testing program, add to consumer information tests that rate vehicles' front, side and rear crashworthiness. The rollover test is designed to help consumers pick vehicles that will protect them the best in one of the most serious kinds of crashes, IIHS said. 

According to the institute, there's plenty of room for future improvement in the safety of small pickup trucks. 

"As a group, small pickups aren't performing as well as small cars or small SUVs in all of the institute's safety tests," said David Zuby, IIHS senior vice president. "None of the ones we tested is a top-notch performer across the board. In fact, no small pickup earns our Top Safety Pick award." 

The Frontier, IIHS said, came close to winning the 2010 award, but it's rated "acceptable" instead of "good" for protection against neck injury in rear crashes. To earn Top Safety Pick, a vehicle has to earn "good" ratings for protection in front, side, rear and rollover crashes. It also has to have electronic stability control.


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