By on January 25, 2017

Nissan Titan crash test 2017

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small overlap crash test — the bane of every automaker’s existence — has prevented another pickup from achieving high marks.

This time, it’s the 2017 Nissan Titan — a full-size pickup struggling to stand apart from its domestic competition after recently undergoing its first redesign in 13 years.

In IIHS testing, the Titan crew cab, like many of its rivals, folded under pressure during the small overlap test. That keeps the truck out of the running for an ad-worthy Top Safety Pick rating.

The small overlap test, introduced in 2012, has sunk many a vehicle’s crash rating. Designed to simulate a partial frontal collision with another vehicle — or an impact with a tree or utility pole — the test has proved notoriously hard to master. Nissan’s Titan garnered a second-from-bottom “marginal” rating.

During the 40 mph test, intrusion into the footwell reached 11 inches at the lower door hinge pillar and 8.3 inches at the dead pedal, almost guaranteeing lower leg injuries for the driver. As with many other models, the Titan performed just fine in the other tests. Moderate overlap, side and rollover protection was rated “good,” as was the model’s head restraints.

Headlight performance — the latest addition to IIHS’s testing regimen, and another industry sore point — turned up marginal. A frontal crash prevention system is absent from the model’s equipment roster.

While this is bad news for the Titan, its competition didn’t exactly excel. Only one pickup — the recently redesigned Honda Ridgeline — earned a Top Safety Pick + rating. Two variants of Ford’s F-150 were the only other pickups to earn a good rating in all crash tests. The Titan can at least comfort itself in knowing that it isn’t the Ram 1500, which scored marginal ratings in both the small overlap and roof strength tests.

The Toyota Tundra, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 crew cabs also saw a marginal rating for the small overlap test. Extended cab variants of these three models garnered an acceptable rating.

[Image capture: YouTube]

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65 Comments on “Pesky Small Overlap Crash Test Sinks Another One...”


  • avatar
    gradall

    Crazy how the wheel and brake caliper separate toward the end.

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    Pure AV traffic would obviate such concerns.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Kind of crazy how the whole grill ejects in one piece straight forward. That’s a brutal hit – poor truck!

  • avatar
    justinx

    How many angles can the IIHS have left to crash cars into?

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      Well, for one, they could run this overlap test on the passenger side. Currently it’s only tested on the driver’s side. Which is why you’ll find more reinforcement structure and details on the left side of a car than the right. Sucks for the passenger, but there’s a reason why it’s called the “suicide seat”.

      • 0 avatar
        johnds

        They actually did test a few cars like the Toyota Rav 4 and Subaru Forester on a hunch that the right side was not reinforced like the left side. I think they are now aware that some automakers are skimping on passenger safety.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Further proof that unless mandated and tested, it ain’t gonna happen. Ford was similar when it left out the special bracket on all models but the one trim line that was going to be tested. They got caught.

          • 0 avatar
            John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

            It wasn’t trim-line specific. It was only on the 4 door SuperCrew (didn’t matter if it was an XL or Platinum), but now its on all cab styles.

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      And rear crash data. I’m really interested to see how cars hold up with rear crash structures. As a consumer I can get a fair sense of front passenger safety but rear passenger safety is a blank space.

      • 0 avatar
        Deontologist

        High speed rear crashes are actually very dangerous, and perhaps not for the reasons one might commonly suppose.

        Many manufacturers cheap out on the strength of the seats–Volkswagen/Audi being one. As a result, the seatbacks can often fail. And if you happen to have your baby in its car seat behind you, it’s going to get a face full of seat cushion if someone rear-ends you at a sufficiently high speed.

        http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southcentral/2016/03/16/402067.htm

        “A Texas jury ordered Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit to pay $124.5 million to an 11-year-old boy who was left brain damaged in a 2012 rear-end collision.

        The parents of Jesse Rivera Jr. claimed the seat back of the 2005 Audi A4 was too weak to withstand a rear-end crash. The front seat collapsed, and the driver, the boy’s father, slid backwards hitting his head on his son’s in the back seat, said the family’s attorney, Jeff Wigington.”

        On a positive note, it is noted that Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and BMW models offer some of the stronger seats.

  • avatar
    TonyP

    So the headlights and grill are held in with Elmer’s glue?

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      Assuming that assembly weighs 20 lbs, coming to a dead stop at 40 mph results in (effectively) ~1,000 lbs of force pulling it forward from the truck.

      Not too surprising that it came loose.

      Watch the wiring for the passenger side headlight tear out of the assembly at about 25 seconds (and not impact its trajectory much at all) to see how much energy that assembly was carrying after impact.

      • 0 avatar
        TonyP

        I was just comparing it to the Tundra’s small overlap video. The Tundra seemed keep it’s eyes in place (for the most part) compared to the Titan’s which seem to shoot out as though ashamed to be apart of the monstrosity that is the 2017 Titan.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Back in the day my wife attempted to drive her ’97 Thunderbird at about 45 MPH through the ass end of a Toyota Land Cruiser with a trailer hitch sitting at a dead stop.

        She was incredibly lucky because the hitch, which sits lower than the bumper and is attached to the frame aligned closer to her front bumper. Second, she hit the Land Cruiser dead on perfectly center. There was a perfect square hole punched through her absolutely demolished front license plate once you straightened it out a bit.

        The force of the impact was so severe, it popped the taillights out of their assemblies in the back.

        She walked away with light burns on her face and hands from the airbag, a black eye, a severely sprained wrist, and horrible bruising on her shoulder from the seat belt.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Most likely it is just a few little tabs that snap in place that hold all of that on.

  • avatar
    davewg

    What a Titan(ic) failure. Glad I don’t have to clean up that mess.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “recently undergoing its first redesign in 13 years.”

    Oops guys we forgot to ever plan for crashing the truck.

    • 0 avatar
      e30gator

      I was thinking the same thing. Maybe the older competition can get a pass, especially if a redesign is on the horizon. But this test has been around for 5 years. Nissan really has no excuse other than they might not think their customers care about the results.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Yeah, I mean, we know automakers design cars to specifically pass these tests. So for a brand new model to get a “marginal” in this test is pretty surprising. The fact that it was Nissan dropping the ball, well, that’s not too surprising.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        “we know automakers design cars to specifically pass these tests.”

        Hmmmm. I thought automakers designed their vehicles for sale in the US in accordance with the safety specs given them by the gov’t.

        And then these testing places design specific tests to destroy vehicles to prove how unsafe they are, to justify their existence.

        Seriously! A vehicle for sale in the US must meet all the specs set forth by the US gov’t at the time it is sold.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          Yeah, really.

          A vehicle is demolished when rammed into an irregular surface. WHAT…a SURPRISE.

          There is a solution to this. Don’t ram into anything at higher speeds. Take the ditch, first…and if you’re drunk or sleepy, don’t drive.

          It worked for the first 110 years of motorized America…

          • 0 avatar
            Counterpoint

            Nonsense. It didn’t “work” for the first 110 years of motorized America. Thousands of people died and were crippled because manufacturers were too lazy and cheap to design properly for crash safety.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            Thousands of people have died ON FOOT, too. Should we outlaw walking?

            You can’t fix stupid. Nor can you make all the world a Safe Space. If you drive a vehicle into something at 40 mph, YOU WILL GET HURT.

            Trying to make the world safe for the unimaginably-stupid, is a fool’s errand.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “You can’t fix stupid.”

            Oh, the irony.

            Go compare the fatality rate per mile in 2015 with the rate in 1955, then apologize for your gaffe.

            Watching this crash test between a Malibu circa 2009 and another from 1959 might also sober you up.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_r5UJrxcck

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            The concept of “Cost-Benefit Analysis” is completely alien to SJWs and other Safe-Space Seekers. You can make people immeasurably safer just by outlawing private automobiles.

            Or by mandating that ONLY Bradley Fighting Vehicles be permitted on roads. Or by governing cars at 15 mph.

            Adults who understand reasonable risk, and personal responsibilities, do not need ever-more-fantastic demands on crash-worthiness, WHILE demanding lighter weight and impossible fuel economy. Someday the SJWs will understand that the laws of physics are not like laws covering rioting and arson – that laws of physics cannot be immuted.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The fatality rate per mile is one-sixth of what it was sixty years ago.

            If we had the same fatality rate today, there would be over 200,000 deaths per year. If you had your way, we would have annual deaths that were about equal to the populations of Montgomery AL or Des Moines. Yeah, that would be a great idea.

    • 0 avatar
      zip94513

      Agreed, this will squash the already abysmal sales.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    At least in the real world it may hit something smaller than it and come out better than it did in this test where it hits a wall.

    My wife’s car didn’t do all that well in the small overlap, either. I think it got a “marginal” rating. :( Better than “poor”, but still. This test takes a lot of cars that were previously thought as amazingly safe and makes consumers think twice, that’s for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      That, or it could just take cars that were painstakingly engineered to pass one test, and throw another at them for them to fail.

      • 0 avatar
        Deontologist

        “That, or it could just take cars that were painstakingly engineered to pass one test, and throw another at them for them to fail.”

        Bingo.

        Case-in-point:

        2016 Ford Mustang NHSTA rating: 5 stars, across the board.

        2016 Ford Mustang European NCAP rating: 2 stars.

        The Europeans absolutely destroyed the Mustang in their write-up regarding its crash test results.

        “In the frontal offset test, the airbags of both the driver and passenger inflated insufficiently to properly restrain the occupants. In the full-width frontal test, a lack of rear seatbelt pre-tensioners and load-limiters meant that the rear passenger slid under the seatbelt, implying higher risk at abdominal injuries in real life accidents. In the side impact crash, the head of the 10-year-old dummy contacted the interior trim bottoming out the curtain airbag.”

        The European NCAP is basically a baby version of the NHSTA tests. The European full-width frontal crash test, for example, is run at 31 MPH rather than the 35 MPH on this side of the pond. The side-impact test is run with a 2900 pound barrier at 31 MPH, rather than a 3000 pound barrier at 38.5 MPH.

        Somehow the Mustang got 2 stars in lower speed and seemingly easier tests but 5 stars in higher speed and seemingly harder tests.

        Engineering to the test as its finest.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          No the reason that the Mustang got 2 stars on the Euro test is because they feel it doesn’t have enough “advanced” safety technology, and it doesn’t do as good as they would like on pedestrian safety.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “…makes consumers think twice…”

      It should also make us think twice of how we’re going into a crash. The “Head On” used to be the most dreaded and deadly, and we never really heard much about a “small overlap” crashes since most major crashes meant major injury or death, regardless.

      When there’s no way out, and no avoiding the crash, go for the Head On, EVERY TIME!!!

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Titan sales are already abysmal. I can see $15-18k on the hood coming soon.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyP

      For every one 2017 Titan I see here in Utah, I see about 25 2016/17 Tundras. Lame duck is an understatement.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I read somewhere, maybe even here, that the Titan exists for buyers who don’t want a F150, Silverado, RAM or Tundra.

        As far as the crash test is concerned, how well does an F150, Silverado, RAM or Tundra hold up under the same test?

        The testers can always devise a crash test that will cause ANY vehicle to fail, but that doesn’t mean that the buyer will ever be involved in one.

        • 0 avatar
          John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

          “As far as the crash test is concerned, how well does an F150, Silverado, RAM or Tundra hold up under the same test?”

          If only they had thought to include such info in the article.

          Oh wait….

          ” Two variants of Ford’s F-150 were the only other [than Honda Ridgeline] pickups to earn a good rating in all crash tests. The Titan can at least comfort itself in knowing that it isn’t the Ram 1500, which scored marginal ratings in both the small overlap and roof strength tests.

          The Toyota Tundra, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 crew cabs also saw a marginal rating for the small overlap test. Extended cab variants of these three models garnered an acceptable rating”

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Yeah I read that, but I didn’t walk away feeling that those test were conducted the same day, in the same way.

            I’m not a Titan fan but I wonder if this deck was stacked against them.

            (I’m very happy with my 2016 4dr Tundra SR5 TRD 4×4)

      • 0 avatar
        John-95_Taurus_3.0_AX4N

        Tundra sold 115k last year. That’s nothing to write home about. And, it is now the “lame duck” truck since the Titan was fully redesigned and offers a “heavy half-ton” version with more capabilities including a Cummins V-8.

        Tundra just gets new bumpers and grilles every so often. The same basic truck has been on sale for a decade now.

        It offers no reason whatsoever to buy it over any other truck. Other than, of course, the fact that it isn’t a horrible American brand truck. Oh the horror of having to buy a…CHEVY. Sorry. I passed out for a sec. The thought of buying an American brand is just so revolting! Am I right, comrades?

        Oh but the Tundra is RELIABLE! When damn-near all of them are treated like Corollas, yes there will be fewer problems reported than a model that has a decent amount of its sales to people who actually use it as a truck, including loading it down with cargo, towing, going off road… ya know, actually working. Not driving to the mall and coming to a nearly complete stop at every speed bump so you don’t hurt your precious TuRD.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Yes, but…TITAN! And 500 credit OK!

    Therefore: no f*cks given by Titan buyers.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    The overall rating has really bad optics. “Marginal” color coded in blazing orange.

    But examine the individual metrics and the only significant injury measures were to the lower left leg. Head/neck, torso, hip, all fine. Restraints & kinematics? Good.

    I wouldn’t want my left foot shattered in an accident, but we may have forgotten what a potentially lethal crash test really looks like:

    http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/ford/f-150-heritage-extended-cab-pickup

    We’ve come a long way in a decade if this Titan’s performance is the type of thing making the news.

  • avatar
    210delray

    Simple enough color coding in my view. Green is good, yellow is acceptable, and red is poor. For marginal, orange is the logical choice between yellow and red.

    Less than stellar structure is what really sunk this truck, not the injury measures.

  • avatar
    BaBlogger77

    I remember that crash test well–that truck folded like a house of cards.

    I agree that cars are much safer now than even 15 years ago, and I suspect that the exposure given by the IIHS crash tests (especially watching the dummy being crushed or collide with various parts of the car in slow motion) is probably one of the big reasons why.

    I prefer a vehicle whose structure protects the passenger cabin while effectively absorbing crash energy versus one with 10 airbags and mediocre performance of maintaining the passenger compartment intact. I think there may be a bit of false confidence in airbags to protect in all situations. It doesn’t help if the part that the airbag is attached to collapses or disintegrates.

    • 0 avatar
      bikegoesbaa

      I prefer both a stout structure and 10 airbags. They’re not mutually exclusive.

      Especially with side impacts I put my faith in the airbags. There’s just not enough distance there to disperse a meaningful amount of energy without an air bag; and belts do a poor job in restraining against sideways forces.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      This is what I saw when I wanted the video:

      The truck hit an unmovable object at 40mph, with only a small portion of the vehicle to absorb the impact. It appears the driver would have lived. If that’s a failure, the bar is pretty darn high.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        Yes, the bar is high. That’s the point of these tests. Having a measurably greater chance of getting injured –when compared to its peers — means it’s worth reporting.

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    Chinese Great Wall ” Titan” ?

  • avatar
    e30gator

    Not as bad as the test for the latest Nissan Quest. Glad they put that one out to pasture.

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      I thought they said the Quest was sticking around for another year. And you’re right, wow, that Quest crash was pretty horrifying. Of course, pretty much anything from 10+ years ago would probably perform pretty similarly. That’s why I like this test. Also because it’s likely to simulate someone who’s texting and driving and veers juuuuust slightly over the lane and slams into you this way.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This test offers hope for yielding real safety benefits to consumers. It’s interesting to see various vehicles evolve to try and pass it.

    Thanks for posting this story.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    re: “the bane of every automaker’s existence”

    Not every automaker. Both Honda and Volvo have aced the offset crash tests from day 1.

    • 0 avatar
      Deontologist

      “Both Honda and Volvo have aced the offset crash tests from day 1.”

      This has to be sarcasm, right?

      Honda: the only manufacturer whose engineers managed to make the 2016 version of a car perform worse than the 2015 version of a car in the small overlap test.

      http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/acura/tlx-4-door-sedan

      TLX 2015 small overlap: acceptable

      TLX 2016 small overlap: marginal

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        And then back to acceptable in 2017

        http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/acura/tlx-4-door-sedan/2017

        That’s very odd. And not every honda has aced the test. The 2013-14 CRVs received a Marginal, the midcycle Pilot and Fit earned a Poor, and Acceptable isn’t quite acing it. But heavyhandle’s point has some validity. Honda has generally done very well in this test, unlike say Toyota which was caught unaware and had to modify several of their best selling models right after redesigns.

        • 0 avatar
          Deontologist

          I agree, Honda was proactive with at least a few of its models. Not all. But Honda did leagues better than Toyota. And Honda has traditionally been a bit ahead of Toyota in terms of safety features. The Accord, for example, had standard side airbags since ’04. Camry? ’07. If you think about it, that’s a lot of people without side airbags …

          Also, the 2017 still has one regression compared to the 2015 … the dummy restraint score was downgraded.

  • avatar
    Garrett

    Dear Volvo,

    Please build a pickup truck, possibly a RWD muscle car with a V8 as well.

    Sincerely,

    Me

    • 0 avatar
      JD-Shifty

      or you could buy a Ford F150 with a 5 star crash rating. A real stumper

      • 0 avatar
        Garrett

        Volvo is so ahead of the curve, they will pass crash tests that haven’t even been invented yet.

        The old XC90 aced the small overlap test despite it being significantly older than the test itself.

        Volvo’s goal is zero fatalities by 2020…while Ford does better than the competition for full size pickup safety, they also willingly cut corners when they think it won’t get noticed.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I’m obviously an outlier in the TTAC readership group. I drive my 20 yr old S-10 pickup (with salt belt corrosion) 3 or 4 times a week without giving the slightest thought to the mortal danger I’m exposing myself to.

  • avatar
    johnnyz

    I am soooo sick of Nissan bashing! It’s relentless and of epidemic porportions. Through the 80s and 90s Nissan made smooth silky v6s that put everyone else to shame. Chevy 2.8 or 3.1 anyone?

    What the hell is wrong with the Altima? Isn’t the Altima just a GT-R sans the turbos?

  • avatar
    dantes_inferno

    They should remove the Titan nameplate from the truck and affix it to the crash testing wall.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I like how they put a giant smart phone in the centre console for added realism!

    Apparently Nissan forgot about crash tests or they are fresh out of you know what.

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