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2020 Toyota Tacoma named a Top Safety Pick

Thanks to some well-performing headlights, the Tacoma earned the IIHS' award.

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2020 Toyota Tacoma TRD Off Road

Perhaps another reason for buyers to check out Toyota's midsize workhorse.

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The 2020 Toyota Tacoma can brag about one thing the Chevy Colorado and Ford Ranger can't. Toyota's midsize pickup truck is a Top Safety Pick, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The IIHS said in its latest evaluations that the truck earned the second-highest award, thanks to its crash test performance and some stellar headlights. It's worth noting, however, that the Tacoma did not totally ace the crash tests. Instead, it fell short in the passenger-front small-overlap test where the pickup earned an "Acceptable" rating. That immediately pulled it out of the running for a Top Safety Pick Plus, since that award requires a "Good" rating in all six tests.

Elsewhere, though, the Tacoma shined. Its standard front-crash avoidance system earned the "Superior" mark from the insurance industry-funded safety group and scored a "Good" rating for its headlights. These final two criteria nabbed it the safety award.

As is the recurring theme with these awards, not every Tacoma gets to claim the Top Safety Pick since the "Good" headlights are standard across the board. Only the Tacoma Double Cab TRD Off-Road, Sport, Pro and Limited trims get the pass, thanks to optional LED headlights. Other trims get more basic halogen projectors that were ranked "Marginal" by the IIHS. That's not good enough for any safety awards.

That makes the TRD Sport in Double Cab guise with the 5-foot bed the cheapest way for buyers to score a Tacoma with the Top Safety Pick recognition. It starts at $39,345 after a destination charge and the $1,285 charge for the package that includes the "Good" headlights. Hopefully you like the color tan because this configuration only comes in a single exterior color called Quicksand.

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