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

When comparing small trucks, the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado were similar. Toyota’s lack of front crash prevention features gives the edge to the Colorado.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 26, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Knowing the safety ratings of small trucks, like the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma, can help the buyer anticipate the change in cost of auto insurance before buying
  • The IIHS/HDLI provides reliable safety ratings that the consumer can refer to while shopping for a vehicle
  • The Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma both earned very similar ratings but the Chevy Colorado is technically the safer option

When shopping for a truck, it’s important to consider any potentially dangerous situations that the vehicle could be placed in.

If you participate in off-roading or often drive in severe weather conditions, you should definitely choose a vehicle that can endure the different terrains.

Car companies know that safer cars yield lower auto insurance rates, so it’s common for them to advertise their vehicles as safe options when it’s not necessarily true.

For reliable and unbiased safety ratings, consumers can turn to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Data Loss Institute (HDLI).

Enter your zip code into our free car insurance comparison tool above. You can compare the rates of different insurance companies easily at one time.

IIHS/HDLI Safety Ratings

The IIHS/HDLI puts every vehicle through a series of tests in their vehicle research center in order to evaluate their safety features. This study will focus on the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma.

The safety ratings for the Chevy Colorado will be provided for both the extended and crew cab models. The Toyota Tacoma’s access and double cab models both received the exact same ratings so they will be treated as a single unit.

These vehicles are evaluated by the IIHS/HDLI on the following:

  • crash avoidance and mitigation
  • crashworthiness
  • child seat anchors

Each of these areas has subcategories that will be given good, acceptable, marginal, or poor ratings depending on how well they endure the tests.

Front crash prevention is the only subcategory that will receive basic, advanced, or superior ratings in the area of crash avoidance and mitigation.



This category focuses on how well a vehicle can keep its passengers safe if it were to experience crash or collision. The IIHS/HDLI evaluates the following for each vehicle:

  • sides
  • roof strength
  • front moderate overlap
  • front small overlap
  • head restraints and seats

The Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado with the crew cab earned “good” ratings for all of these areas. The Chevy Colorado earned “acceptable” ratings for its sides and front small overlap while earning “good” ratings for every other area.

Crash Avoidance & Mitigation

Avoiding collisions is extremely important when it comes to the safety of a vehicle. If the vehicle can assist in avoiding crashes, the driver and passengers won’t have to rely on the vehicle’s crashworthiness to protect them.

It also leads to a clean driving record and lowers auto insurance costs.

The Toyota Tacoma models were unavailable for front crash prevention testing and earned “poor” ratings for their headlights.

Both of the Chevy models also received “poor” ratings for their headlights but earned “basic” ratings for front crash prevention with the indication that the ratings were earned with optional equipment.

Child Seat Anchors

This category focuses on Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, or LATCH. Two rear seats with full LATCH are required by federal regulations in most vehicles.

The IIHS/HDLI thoroughly tests each vehicle’s hardware to see if it’s effective and easy enough for the users to install car seats and child restraints.

The Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado crew cab models earned “marginal” ratings while the extended cab model of the Chevy Colorado earned an “acceptable” rating in this category.

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Top Safety Pick Awards

The results from all of these tests allow the IIHS/HDLI to choose which vehicles are deserving of one of their Top Safety Pick awards. Vehicles that receive these awards are highly recommended by the IIHS/HDLI and considered among the safest vehicles.

None of the Toyota Tacoma or Chevy Colorado models received a Top Safety Pick award. In fact, there are no small pickup trucks that earned a 2017 Top Safety Pick award.

Is the Toyota Tacoma safer than the Chevy Colorado?

Overall, the Toyota and Chevy small pickup trucks were nearly identical. The biggest divide between the two makes is Toyota’s lack of front crash prevention safety features. The Chevy only earned the “basic” rating in this category but it’s better than nothing.

For this reason alone, Chevy produces safer small pickup trucks than Toyota.

Make sure that you explore insurance quotes for every truck model you’re considering; safety ratings have an impact on premiums, so knowing how well your car is expected to perform on the road can help you make the best choice for your budget.

Compare the car insurance prices for various trucks by using our free rate tool below. Enter your zip code to get started.

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