Is Nissan’s safety rating for small trucks better than Chevy’s?

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Things to remember...
  • Small pickup trucks have mastered the art of bringing the best of both worlds
  • To hold vehicle manufacturers accountable in regards to safety, organizations such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety have been established
  • A comparison between two prominent brands, Nissan and Chevrolet, is a great way to get acquainted with important safety features, vehicles’ performance, and overall rankings
  • Although close, this match-up reflects a lot of room for improvement for both models

Compact pickup trucks have been around ever since regular models came out.

They tend to come less size-dominant, slightly lighter, and with two doors. Nissan and Chevrolet have both been involved with the auto industry for over 160 years combined, and they have manufactured millions of compact trucks.

Facilitating a comparison between the safety of their models, 2017 Nissan Frontier and Chevrolet Colorado, is a great battle of two 4,000 pound models.

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Chevrolet is an American car producer that is a part of the General Motors Company. Nissan comes from Japan where it produces over 5 million vehicles that yield in trillions of Japanese yen yearly.

Combined, these brands push the automotive supply with a large percentage of market share owned.

International Institute of Public Safety (IIHS)

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Currently led by Adrian Lund, the IIHS has been around since 1959. It was formed with a joint-action from the main insurance companies. It specializes in high-quality, reliable testing of vehicles’ safety.

The tests are broken down into categories of crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and child seat anchors. The ratings for the first and the last category are:

  • poor
  • moderate
  • acceptable
  • good

The crash avoidance, however, is evaluated by a basic, advanced, and superior standing.

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Safety in Numbers

As previously stated, the IIHS compares the safety of vehicles by looking at crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and child seat anchors.

—Crashworthiness

One of the most invasive tests done by the IIHS is a high-speed collision that provides scores for the crashworthiness. Cars are crashed against an impenetrable surface and sensor-dummy is evaluated for injuries.

There are a couple of hits involved such as the small and moderate overlap front crash, side and roof pressure tests, and head restraints.

As far Nissan and Chevy go, Colorado seems to have dominated the category against Frontier.

Nissan’s performance included a “moderate” rating for the small overlap front test and an “acceptable” grade for their head restraints. This rating indicated that the dummy driver’s survival space was not properly maintained, and his lower half was exposed to serious injuries.

This was the first year that Nissan Frontier underwent this particular test, and the scores seemed sub-par. The Chevrolet Colorado model, however, achieved a perfect rating in every subcategory.

This score shows it to be the safer option as far as driver’s survival space and potential injury-exposure are concerned.

—Crash Avoidance

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The second test is evaluating the vehicle’s ability to foresee dangerous situations. If possible, a car would be able to come to a complete stop and avoid contact. Two auto brake types that are assessed are the low and high-speed.

These brakes make the vehicle reduce its speed if the vehicle’s system is compromised.

With Nissan Frontier, this test presents a non-existent attempt to ratify its failed crashworthiness display because the brand had no score on the prevention abilities whatsoever.

Chevrolet was almost just as low-scoring with a mere result of one out of six. This means that the car only met a requirement to have a prevention-like system, but this technology does not exactly work. Also, both cars failed the headlights test miserably with a grade of “poor.”

—Child Seat Anchors

The last test finds both models uniformly matched. Nissan Frontier and Chevrolet Colorado both endured a “moderate” grading by the IIHS for their latch visibility and usage efficiency.

Main issues that arose were problems with locating the hardware of the latch as well as confusing it with something else.

Chevrolet was penalized by having a latch too deep within their seat as well. Thus, Nissan Frontier obtained its first win.

2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+

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By failing to perform with perfect scores on the crashworthiness test, Nissan Frontier gave up the recognition as the Top Safety Pick.

Chevrolet, however, obtained all “good” crashworthiness scores and outperformed its competitor. Regardless of this success, Chevy Colorado was not selected for either of the categories mentioned.

This could be an oversight by the IIHS since the brand technically met the threshold to be taken as a Top Safety Pick.

Who won the battle?

What started as an open-minded analysis must end in an inevitable win for the American crew cabin pickup, Chevy Colorado because it scored more good grades on crashworthiness and obtained more points on the crash prevention.

Nissan Frontier was unable to keep the driver safe during a crash, which would have placed the lower-half of the body in grave danger. Even though Chevy showed no impressive crash prevention abilities, one point was enough to outperform a model that had no rating whatsoever.

Ultimately, both brands have room for growth reflected in the headlights’ performance and child seat anchors, but Chevy showed minor areas of subtle domination.

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