It’s The First Full Size Truck To Earn This Award

2020 Ram 1500

In 2006, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) introduced its Top Safety Pick rating for vehicles that passed its test with flying colors. But to raise the bar even higher, the IIHS introduced the Top Safety Pick+ rating in 2013, and is reserved for vehicles that pass the test with a “Good” rating in every category. For 2019, that means passing the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests all with a ‘Good’ rating – the highest possible. Additionally, the vehicles must demonstrate either ‘Superior’ or ‘Advanced’ front crash protection, and must also have a ‘Good’ headlight rating for optimal nighttime visibility. Surprisingly, there has yet to be a full size pickup truck to pick up this coveted rating, until the 2020 Ram 1500 Crew Cab passed the test.

The 2020 Ram 1500 Crew Cab takes the highest rating given by the IIHS thanks to an improved headlight design. Specifically, it pertains to trucks equipped with adaptive LED projector headlamps that have high-beam assist and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) technology.

Of the six crashworthiness evaluations conducted by the IIHS, three simulate frontal impacts. And the Ram 1500 recorded ‘Good’ results in each. Per the criteria, 2020 Ram 1500 scored the same in the three remaining crashworthiness tests: side impact, rear impact and rollover.

2020 Ram 1500

Forward Collision Mitigation in the 2020 Ram 1500 earned a “superior” rating from IIHS. The optional feature blends camera capability with radar detection to determine when an impact is imminent. The system initially warns the driver to take action to avoid a collision. If the driver does not act in a timely manner, the system may activate the vehicle’s brakes if collision risk remains.

We personally have found that a perfectly alert driver who is attentive to the task at hand behind the wheel (ie: not texting and driving or distracted by a touchscreen) does not need this kind of technology.

Other full size trucks have come very close to earning the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating before, but ultimately fell just short because of their headlights. This included the 2019 model year Ram 1500. The LED projector headlights on the most expensive trims received a ‘Poor’ rating for creating excessive glare in previous test. That sent FCA engineers back to the drawing board, and released a rolling update for models built after May 2019. They now pass with the highest possible ‘Good’ rating, and sealed the deal for a Top Safety Pick+ award.

2020 Ram 1500

The latest accolades just add to the already decorated mantle of the fifth-generation Ram 1500 pickup. It also has taken home the Motor Trend Truck of the Year award, and North American Truck of the Year, while its eTorque V6 powertrain found a place among Wards 10 Best Engines.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety arguably has the most stringent crash worthiness rating system in America – even more so than the government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This is because of unique crash tests such as its various overlap impact tests and a more modern side impact test that reveal more about a vehicle’s crash structure than the tests from NHTSA. The IIHS is not a government entity, and its rating system serves as another tool for customers looking to drive a vehicle based on safety.

That said, the IIHS does stress that its awards identify the best vehicle choices for safety within size categories during a given year. Larger, heavier vehicles generally afford more protection than smaller, lighter ones. Thus, a small car that qualifies for an award might not protect its occupants as well as a bigger vehicle that doesn’t earn the award.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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