Incredibly, there is only one minivan on the market with top safety scores, and even that one didn’t come easy.
When the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) first tested the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan in the tough small frontal overlap test, the driver’s door was torn off its hinges and opened. For those who don’t follow crash test news, that is not a good thing.
But instead of complaining about the test, or relying on the old standby statement, “We stand behind the safety of our vehicles, etc.”, Chrysler immediately went to work redesigning the Pacifica to be tougher. It worked.
In its second test, the twice-redesigned Chrysler minivan scored “Good” on the small frontal overlap test, and all of its other tests as well.
As crazy as this sounds, the Pacifica is now the only minivan for calendar 2016 that earns the top safety score from IIHS. All of the other vans tested, including the Kia Sedona, Honda Odyssey, and Toyota Sienna, have one thing or another keeping them from the top score.
In the case of the Toyota Sienna, it is the “Acceptable” score on the small frontal overlap test. In 2015, that score was enough to earn the Top Safety Pick + designation, but with increasingly tougher requirements, the Sienna has now fallen back and has lost its honors.
The + part of the IIHS ratings rating refers to the vehicle’s frontal crash protection score. A score of Advanced or Superior is required to earn that part of the IIHS ranking. That is why both the Kia Sedona and Honda Odyssey are just “Top Safety Picks.” Their frontal collision protection systems are just rated “Basic.” Which is crazy, because both companies have Advanced systems, they just don’t use them on these family haulers.
IIHS wishes to emphasize that only Chrysler Pacificas made after August 2016, when changes were made to prevent the driver door from opening during a small overlap crash, earn the top rating.
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