Minivans Crash Test: Find Out Which Models Failed

Parents buy minivans for safety reasons, but in the latest crash test many did so poorly that if involved in an accident, the passengers would be lucky to walk again.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducted crash tests on several minivans recently and the results are not as good as drivers would hope. There was only one model that got a “good” rating, the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna was rated “acceptable.” As for the others, manufacturers have a lot of work to do.

According to Dave Zuby, Executive Vice President of the Insurance institute, one test in particular was described as “one of the worst crash tests we’ve ever seen.” The comment was referring to the Nissan Quest, which received the lowest rating in the minivan crash test, “poor” for good reasons.

“A person experiencing this would be lucky to ever walk normally again. The corner of the driver’s door was pushed in two feet during the crash. As a result, the floor and instrument panel pinned the dummy into its seat. We had to remove the seat to cut the dummy out of the vehicle.”

After the Quest’s crash test, Zuby said IIHS engineers had to use a crow bar to remove the dummy’s right foot from the mangled minivan. Nissan spokesman Steve Yeager, for his part, said in a statement the car maker “will continue to review these and other results from IIHS testing as we seek opportunities for improvements.”

According to Yeager the Quest received good ratings in other IIHS crash tests, including the front moderate overlap and side impact tests. In the latest tests the safety organization checks how minivans handle small overlap collisions where the front corner of a vehicle hits another vehicle or an object such a tree or street light, NBC reports.

The IIHS tested five minivans, in which the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country were also rated as “Poor,” even though those models did not do as poorly as the Quest. Zuby is concerned with the results.

“It’s not encouraging that just 40 percent of the minivans did acceptable or better in these tests. Especially when you consider how many people drive these vehicles.”

Chrysler’s spokesperson Eric Mayne issued a statement following the IIHS minivan crash test results.

“No single test determines overall vehicle safety. Chrysler Group minivans meet or exceed all government-mandated safety requirements. They are unchanged, structurally, from previous model-year vehicles that received the highest performance ratings bestowed by the IIHS in tests simulating the four main crash types — side, rollover, rear and moderate-overlap front.”

The models that failed have good marks from the IIHS in other areas, however, this particular test replicates a more common accident. Though the Nissan Quest’s results in the minivan crash test were not good, Zuby declined to comment on how other passengers sitting in the second or third row of the vehicle fared. Watch the IIHS video.

[Image via IIHS]