Minivans IHHS Crash Test: Toyota Passed While Chrysler, Dodge, Nissan Failed

Posted: Nov 20 2014, 4:12am CST | by , Updated: Nov 20 2014, 4:23am CST, in News | Cars & Vehicles


Minivans IHHS Crash Test: Toyota Passed while Chrysler, Dodge, Nissan Failed
Credit: Getty Images

The new small overlap crash test conducted by the IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) revealed disturbing results for minivans.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety put one of the safest cars on road to test. The results were against everyone’s expectation. Rather than performing as expected, the results were very troubling. 

The small overlap crash test stimulates the idea of a vehicle moving at the speed of 40 mph and crashing into narrow objects such as telephone poles. This challenging 40 miles per hour rigid barrier crash test helps determine the strength of the car.

This test is perplexing because the crash force is focused on a small area rather than the whole car and thus, it bypasses most of the vehicle’s energy absorbing mechanism. In order to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety top honors, i.e. their top Safety Pick plus award the vehicle has to be either good or acceptable on the test.

The only minivan, which was able to score well on the test, was a Honda Odyssey and IIHS gave this minivan a score of good and making it the number one van of the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick plus award list. 

This latest amazing small overlap scores apply to Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey 2014-2015, Chrysler Town and Country 2008-2015, Nissan Quest 2011-2015 and Toyota Sienna 2015.  

Consumer Reports has adjourned its approval of the otherwise high scoring Nissan Quest minivan because of its poor performance in the small overlap front crash test that was conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Nissan Quest was among the three minivan models that were tested. The other two were Chrysler Town and Country and its clone and Dodge Grand Caravan. Both of these two also performed poorly. 

"Nissan is committed to vehicle safety and believes that consumers should have information about crash protection so they can make educated buying decisions. Nissan is proud of the 2014 Quest’s 'good' rating in the IIHS front moderate overlap and side impact tests as well as a 'good' head restraint rating," Nissan said in a statement after the crash test results for minivans were revealed.

"As for the performance of the 2014 Quest in the ‘small overlap frontal test,’ Nissan will continue to review these and other results from IIHS testing as we seek opportunities for improvements."

Toyota Sienna was also tested and it racked up an acceptable score. However, the score wasn’t impressive, but it was enough to retain Consumer Report recommendation. The only minivan that was not only recommended by the Consumer report, but it also scored well on the test is Honda Odyssey.

There are many other IHHS tests in which most of these cars have done well because these tests engage nearly half of the car’s front end, rather than just one small part of it. Thus, the force of the crash is not able to bypass the car’s energy absorbing structure. 

IHHS has planned to introduce this test in all other suites of crash tests. The only two automakers that have made improvements to address the performance issue include Toyota and Honda. 

Minivans are very popular among the family, i.e. a group that tends to be very safety conscious, thus it is very important for IIHS to create a test that ensures reliability of these minivans.

IIHS executive vice president and chief research officer, David Zuby said that since minivans are for families, thus it is very important for them to develop a test that ensures safety and reliability and so far only two vehicles have passed the new small overlap crash test.

Sources: Reuters, ConsumerReports, NBC

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