Pick-up trucks are becoming increasingly popular as family vehicles these days. They love the utility provided by the storage bed, the frugality and hardiness of the turbodiesel engine, and the off-road capability to tackle our flood-cursed city centrals. Many small families do not mind the cramped interior that you get most of the time. While pick-ups are available with safety features like airbags and ABS, how safe are they in reality?

For the first time ever, Euro NCAP has tested pick-up trucks in the light of the vehicles becoming more and more popular for family usage, and it reveals to us some shocking facts. Three trucks were crashed – the Nissan Navara (second generation Frontier – ours is the first gen), the Isuzu D-MAX and the Mitsubishi L200 (known as the Triton in Malaysia). The following are the results:

Please read the following full crash test reports for full details:
Isuzu D-MAX, Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara

The Nissan Navara scored the worst in adult occupant protection – not even one proper star but only a struck-through star. According to the report, the chassis rail collapsed and the accelerator pedal moved as much as 20cm into the footwell – that would definitely cause really serious injury to your legs. The airbags and seatbelt pre-tensioners also activated too late into the crash, which EuroNCAP says poses “a high risk of life threatening injury”.

Nissan has developed new airbag software for the Nissan Navara and all new Nissan Navaras now have the updated software. All existing Nissan Navaras on the road will also receive a free airbag software update at their service centers.

The Mitsubishi L200/Triton scored 4 stars for adult occupant protection, and if you view the full crash report, you will see that the driver’s body and leg protection ranged from weak to marginal, but at least the head received good protection.

Very shocking – please do read the full crash test reports linked above. It’s a pity EuroNCAP did not test the Toyota Hilux. The Toyota Hilux is one of the most popular pick-up trucks used as a family car here in Malaysia, plus a full-bodied 7-seater version of it is sold as the Fortuner.