Minivans. These family vehicles should be the safest vehicles on the road, but they struggle in one specific area – vehicle safety.
Minivans have been the go-to vehicle for families who need more than five seats in a vehicle for decades. They’re the smartest and most practical choice for families due to their abundance of seating, sliding side doors, large cargo area, and their long list of features and amenities. Many people consider minivans safe, too, but it seems they may not be as safe as some folks perceive.
In testing from the IIHS, it’s clear that the most difficult test the organization does, the Small Front Overlap crash test, presents a serious obstacle for minivan manufacturers. Some perform better than others, far better.
Minivans should be the bastions for vehicle safety. They should stand out at the top of the heap due to the fact that they are used to carry around entire families. As CarBuzz, rightly points out, this isn’t always the case. Don’t just assume it’s safe because it’s a minivan.
Test results vary depending on the model
CarBuzz points to the testing of the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica, and Toyota Sienna to show the differences when it comes to crash tests.
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While for the most part, all vehicles do a decent job, when you look at one test, in particular, it’s clear that some automakers could do better.
The Toyota Sienna, for example, didn’t do so hot with the Small Front Overlap crash test. It received a poor rating due to the fact that damage intruded into the cabin of the vehicle and would have likely caused leg injuries to the front passenger.
The Chrysler Pacifica managed an acceptable rating and didn’t experience extreme structural damage intruding into the cabin like the Toyota Sienna did. The Honda Odyssey fared the best, managing a good rating in the test, and it provided the least likelihood that anyone would be injured.
All minivans should get good ratings in this test
I don’t know about you, but if I was buying a minivan for my family, I’d put safety at the top of my priorities. The fact that Honda’s Odyssey is the only one that achieved a good rating in this test means that it’s probably the only minivan I’d buy.
Without a doubt, Chrysler and Toyota will beef up their family chariots to account for the poor performance in this portion of the safety testing, and they should. Every minivan should be extremely safe.
It will be interesting to see how long Chrysler and Toyota take to improve their safety ratings. In 2015, Toyota improved the structural elements of its Sienna on the driver’s side of the vehicle as that side of the vehicle is the most likely to experience this type of accident. Still, the passenger side of the minivan is vulnerable. It’s time to do the other side, Toyota.