By on September 11, 2019

While Ram’s holdover 1500 Classic isn’t about to earn any top safety awards, its current-generation successor just did. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety bestowed a coveted Top Safety Pick + label upon Ram’s strong-selling full-size pickup, making it the first vehicle in its class to ever earn the accolade.

Lots of pickups are plenty safe, lording over the road as they do, but a new addition to the IIHS’s testing regimen prevented the awarding of top honors to any member of these open-trunk, half-ton family sedans — headlights. Thanks to a tweak in May of this year, the Ram 1500 crew cab now qualifies for the top podium.

“To qualify for a 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK+ award, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests,” the Institute stated. “It also needs an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention and a good headlight rating.”

While the new-for-2019 Ram 1500 improved on its predecessor’s crashworthiness, its headlamps weren’t anything to write home about. Be it halogen or LED, the 1500 earned only poor or marginal ratings for headlight performance. Even the fancy LED projector lamps found on top-tier trims angered the IIHS with its “excessive glare.”

After May 2019, those peepers ceased to be a problem — the LED projector lamps now rate a “good,” allowing the 1500 crew cab to collect its top top safety rating. Quad cab models need not apply. This doesn’t mean your Ram 1500 crew cab is the pinnacle of safety, mind you. These lamps can only be found as standard kit on high-zoot Laramie Longhorn and Limited models.

Still, expect to see this award touted heavily in marketing materials and on billboards near you. In contrast, the 2019 Ford F-150 earns top marks for all crash tests and its optional front crash protection, but “poor” headlamps keep it out of the running for a top safety pick. The 2019 Chevrolet Silverado, which the Ram 1500 recently surpassed as second-place sales leader, also suffers from a poor headlamp rating, as well as mediocre performance in the small overlap front passenger-side crash test. Same goes for its GMC Sierra sibling.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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9 Comments on “With IIHS Award, Ram Scores a Marketing Coup Over Ford...”

  • avatar

    Kudos to FCA for improving the headlights. Hopefully they improve them even more, and share the wealth with the downmarket trims.

    Nowadays it seems like the goal for automakers is to make headlights brighter, without regard to beam pattern or performance, and without concern for oncoming drivers. Projector beams seem to be the worst offenders.

  • avatar

    Along with a load leveler or headlight leveler for those that have a ton of tongue weight and point their lights at the overhead signs.

    Out here in the boonies it is nice to have a high beam that shoots a fair distance down the road as long as the dim/low beams shift over and down properly.

    • 0 avatar

      Trucks with zero tongue weight have super annoying headlights to literally every oncoming driver not in truck and certainly anyone directly in front of them. All that stuff is nice, but maybe if they really wanted to make the headlights less annoying to oncoming drivers, there are several feet of space below their current placement in which to work. I really dont think its a priority in a segment where being as douchie as possible is aspirational design.

    • 0 avatar

      “Along with a load leveler or headlight leveler for those that have a ton of tongue weight and point their lights at the overhead signs.”

      You can count the new trucks here with any tongue weight on one hand, the lights are pointing at the overhead signs because the first stop from the dealership was raising up the front end to fit bigger mud tires.

      Rich Corinthian leather. Rich Corinthian sway bars. Rich Corinthian truck nuts.

      We should build a wall between us and Corinthia before it’s too late.

  • avatar

    Under Barra GM quality is really going downhill.

    GM what a disgrace!

  • avatar

    It’s pretty sad, when the poor engineers aren’t allowed to build proper headlights on vehicles with enough frontal fascia space to fit a lighting rig worthy of a Rolling Stones concert… Plus underhood space for an alternator able to drive it all.

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