The 2022 Toyota Tacoma may have faltered in its passenger-side, the vehicle garnered good ratings in five other evaluations.  -  Photo: IIHS

The 2022 Toyota Tacoma may have faltered in its passenger-side, the vehicle garnered good ratings in five other evaluations.

Photo: IIHS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the 2022 Toyota Tacoma extended cab pickup just a marginal rating in one of its key crashworthiness evaluations — the passenger-side small overlap front crash test.

The reason the small pickup did not score better was due to heightened injury risks to the front seat passenger, notes IIHS.

Also noteworthy, the marginal rating applies to vehicles built after October 2021, when Toyota modified the rear leaf springs — arc-shaped steel pieces that stabilize the axle. Vehicles built prior to that date are rated poor.

In an earlier evaluation of a vehicle built before the changes, one of the rear leaf springs punctured the fuel tank, resulting in a fire risk and an automatic downgrade. While the automaker’s modifications corrected the fuel-leak issue, other problems persisted in the more recent test.

Specifically, the Tacoma’s doorframe and dashboard intruded into the occupant survival space during the crash, contributing to heightened injury risks to the front seat passenger. Based on the crash dummy, IIHS engineers determined a high risk of injury to the occupant’s right leg and a moderate risk of injury to the left leg. Though the frontal and side curtain airbags performed reasonably well, the dummy’s head also struck the grab handle on the A-pillar on the right side of the windshield.

Although the Tacoma struggled through the passenger-side small overlap front crash test, it garnered good ratings in five other evaluations. These included the driver-side small overlap, moderate overlap front, original side, roof strength, and head restraint tests.

The IIHS also sets rigorous standards for front crash prevention and headlights. In both cases, the Tacoma performed relatively well.

The pickup’s standard front crash prevention system captured a superior rating in the vehicle-to-vehicle evaluation but was not tested for pedestrian detection. The optional LED reflector headlights available on higher trims scored a good rating, but the base halogens are rated marginal.

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