WTF NHTSA? Toyota Tundra Crash Test Results Shenanigans
When the 2nd generation Toyota Tundra debuted in 2007, Toyota was quite confident that the Tundra would be the safest pickup in it’s class. With standard ESC, side airbags, and Toyota’s latest and greatest crash test technology, Toyota had every reason to be confident.
Then NHTSA’s results (that’s National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration) came out. 4 stars. Toyota was devastated.
Time passed and the IIHS (that’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) issued their first ever Top-Pick rating to a pickup when they declared the 2007 Tundra to be the safest truck in it’s class.
NHTSA said 4 stars, IIHS said top pick – and anyone shopping for a Tundra was (understandably) confused.
However, yesterday NHTSA released the results of a “re-test” of the 2010 Tundra and guess what – it got 5 stars. Great news right? Except the structure of the 2010 TUNDRA DIDN’T CHANGE!
Evidently, (no one at Toyota could confirm this but everyone we spoke to said there were no changes) the 2010 Tundra is the same truck structurally as the 2007 Tundra. No significant frame changes have occurred since 2007 (at least that anyone is aware of). There were no changes anywhere really, other than the addition of a knee airbag and some exterior add-ons.
Could a knee airbag account for the change from a 4 star rating to a 5 star rating? Perhaps. Only it’s worth pointing out that NHTSA literature (pdf) states that the star rating “indicates a belted person’s chances of incurring a serious head and chest injury in the event of a crash.”
Hard to see how a knee airbag would help to prevent a head and/or chest injury…which is why we say WTF NHTSA?!
Possible explanations for these inconsistent results:
- The test data was bordering between 4 stars and 5 stars and minor variations moved the rating upwards from last time.
- The Tundra(s) crash-tested in 2007 all had some sort of structural problem. This is highly unlikely considering that multiple vehicles are usually tested for this very reason.
- The testing equipment was installed incorrectly and/or malfunctioned.
- The data was corrupted somehow.
- The Tundra really has changed since 2007 and no one anywhere knows anything about it.
- Someone at NHTSA decided to give Toyota a lower score in order to help out GM, Chrysler, and Ford.
Of all of these possible explanations, the most likely is the first one. Still, that explanation doesn’t jive with the IIHS “Top Pick” safetfy rating.
Clearly, something is screwed up somewhere. NHTSA, we’re looking in your direction…
[Shout out to Mike Levine at PickupTrucks.com for bringing this to light first.]
Filed Under: Tundra News