Like their body-on-frame SUV cousins, full-size pickup trucks are more prone to roll over than a standard passenger car. That's exactly why it's so important to have a vehicle that earns good marks in roof-strength tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has just released the data on its recent volley of tests on full-size pickup trucks, and both the 2011 Ford F-150 and 2011 Toyota Tundra earned the coveted Top Safety Pick designation. The vehicles earned the highest possible rating of 'good' in the institutes crush test, where a large steel plate is pressed against one corner of the roof to calculate a strength-to-weight ratio.
Meanwhile, the 2011 Nissan Titan took home an acceptable rating in the rollover evaluation while the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado, 2011 GMC Sierra and 2011 Ram 1500 netted marginal scores.
IIHS says that the roof on the Toyota Tundra stood up to 4.5 times the truck's weight while the F-150 handled 4.7 times the pressure. A vehicle must withstand 4 times its weight before five-inches of crush is detected before being awarded a Good rating. Hit the jump for the full press release.
The Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra are the only large pickups to earn the top rating of good in the Institute's roof strength evaluation that measures occupant protection in rollover crashes. The Nissan Titan is rated acceptable for rollover protection. The Chevrolet Silverado (and twin GMC Sierra), and Dodge Ram are rated marginal. The ratings only apply to crew cab versions of these pickups.
The F-150 and Tundra also earn the Institute's 2011 TOP SAFETY PICK award after earning top ratings in previous front, side, and rear evaluations, and for having electronic stability control, which is standard in both pickups.
To measure roof strength, a metal plate is pushed against one corner of a vehicle's roof at a constant speed. The maximum force sustained by the roof before 5 inches of crush is compared to the vehicle's weight to find the strength-to-weight ratio. This is a good assessment of vehicle structural protection in rollover crashes.
In the latest tests, the Tundra's roof withstood a force of 4.5 times weight. The F-150's roof withstood a force equal to 4.7 times the vehicle's weight. Vehicles with a strength-to-weight ratio of 4 or higher earn a good rating. The good rating and TOP SAFETY PICK designation for the F-150 apply to pickups manufactured after February 2011 because Ford made changes to the roof structure to better protect occupants in rollover crashes.