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Safest pickup? Rivian R1T only truck to earn Top Safety Pick+

The 2024 Rivian R1T is the only pickup truck to earn a Top Safety Pick+, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced Tuesday. The IIHS conducts the most rigorous crash-testing assessments in the automotive industry, and a TSP+ designation is considered the highest safety recognition.

The electric pickup truck earned top “Good” ratings in all crash tests performed by the insurance-industry funded safety agency, including its updated moderate front overlap test. It’s the only pickup proven by the IIHS to adequately protect rear occupants. 

“Like most other vehicle classes, large pickups don’t perform as well in the new moderate overlap evaluation as they do in the updated side test,” IIHS President David Harkey said in a statement last November when the updated test was introduced on pickup trucks. At the time, only the Toyota Tundra earned a “Marginal” rating. Every other pickup truck failed in the test with “Poor” ratings.  

Rivian R1T crash-test results from the IIHS

The update to the moderate-overlap front crash test was introduced last year to extend passenger protection to rear occupants. The IIHS updates tests to reflect changes to modern roadways, and in the years since the IIHS first launched the test in 1995, its oldest test, front cabin protection has improved due to a more intense focus on front-passenger safety. In the past decade or so, the IIHS found that front cabin protection surpassed rear occupant safety, so last year it launched a new test to address that shortcoming.  

The new test uses a dummy sized like a small woman or 12-year-old child positioned in the seat behind the driver. The R1T’s dummy had a low risk of injury to the head, neck, and chest, the head remained a safe distance from the front seat back, and the torso didn’t dive or slide under the belt during the crash. 

Rivian R1T crash-test results from the IIHS

Rivian R1T crash-test results from the IIHS

The R1T also fared well in the updated side-impact test that was changed last year to reflect larger vehicle sizes traveling at higher speeds. The tougher side-impact test changed from a strike barrier weighing 3,300 pounds, as it had been since 2003, to a 4,180-pound barrier in 2023. The average weight of an SUV has increased 1,000 pounds to 4,600 pounds, according to the IIHS. 

The R1T also had “Good”-rated headlights, and an automatic emergency braking system with pedestrian detection that rated “Acceptable.” 

Even though the Toyota Tundra earned a “Poor” rating in the updated moderate front overlap test, it still qualified for a second-tier Top Safety Pick award. It’s the only large truck to earn that status. The smaller Hyundai Santa Cruz was also a Top Safety Pick recipient. 

See the full list of 2024 Top Safety Pick recipients here. 

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