The Automotive Industry, Briefly

IIHS Tests Minivans to See How They Stack Up

2015 Nissan Quest

Minivans have for many years been the vehicle of choice for growing families to offer the security of the safety offered for all rows of seats. We have all felt safe and secure on the road in a minivan knowing these vehicles were built to help keep our loved ones secure in case of a collision and offer the features needed to help avoid possible damage with on board warning and signals to let us know we might be heading into a dangerous place with the van. What if the feeling of security was taken away from the minivan?

In recent months the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested four minivans in the small overlap front crash test with some very disturbing results. For the vehicles we have all utilized for decades as the right and safe family hauler, four minivans were tested and all four performed fairly poorly in the test. In fact, three of the four were rated at poor rating and the four gained and acceptable rating, but for a vehicle that is meant to carry the precious cargo of the future of our families even an acceptable rating is just not good enough.

The test that was conducted has a minivan traveling at 40 mph crashing 25 percent of the front of the minivan into a barrier. The results showed up with the Chrysler Town and Country and Nissan Quest experiencing a great deal of equipment intruding on the driver and passenger. This included the steering column and pedal taking out the driver’s legs, knees and feet. On the Quest the damage was enough to require the dummy being cut from the van in order to be retrieved from the vehicle. With these alarming results most of us wouldn’t even consider either of these vans to carry our families in.

The Dodge Grand Caravan, being the same platform as the Chrysler Town and Country performed at the same rate as its platform mate. The Toyota Sienna which earned an acceptable rating did so by having a structural score of “marginal” and “good” ratings for the restraints and injury prevention. This grading for the Sienna at least gives us some hope that occupants of this minivan would survive a crash in this minivan in order to keep the precious cargo we trust these vehicles to will be able to come out on the other side of a collision.

To give us even more hope, the Honda Odyssey kept its rating of good once again at this crash test, making it the right minivan to choose for anyone who needs a great minivan for their family to enjoy. If there is any other pearl of hope in this testing is that the IIHS has shone a light on what needs to be corrected by the manufacturers of these low performing minivans and with them all reaching the end of their model runs they should show up in their new generations addressing these issues so we can all feel safe and secure with our loved ones in the minivans once again.



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