Nissan Titan fails to hold up in small overlap front crash test

January 24, 2017

The redesigned Nissan Titan failed to hold up in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's small overlap front crash test, earning only a marginal rating.

The performance of the Titan crew cab contrasts with another large pickup that was redesigned for 2017, the Honda Ridgeline. The Ridgeline, which was included in the initial list of Top Safety Pick+ winners announced in December, is the only pickup so far to earn a 2017 award from IIHS and the third, after the Ford F-150 crew cab and extended cab, to achieve good ratings in all five of the Institute's crashworthiness tests.

The small overlap test is the most difficult of the IIHS crashworthiness tests, but manufacturers have adjusted their designs to meet the challenge since the test was introduced in 2012. In most popular vehicle classes, the majority of vehicles now earn a good rating.

The test is meant to replicate what happens when the front, driver-side corner of a vehicle hits another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole.

In the small overlap test of the Titan, the driver space wasn't maintained well, with intrusion reaching 11 inches at the lower door hinge pillar. Measures taken from the driver dummy indicated that injuries to the left lower leg would be likely in a real-world crash of the same severity. Left foot and right lower leg injuries also would be possible.

The Titan earns good ratings in the other crashworthiness tests — moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints. It doesn't have an available front crash prevention system, and both available headlight systems are rated marginal.

To qualify for 2017 Top Safety Pick+, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the five IIHS crashworthiness tests — small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — as well as an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and an acceptable or good headlight rating.

The Ridgeline has an optional superior-rated front crash prevention system. It has good-rated headlights on its two most expensive trim levels. The base headlights are rated poor.

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