RALEIGH, N.C. — A long list of popular minivans miss the mark when it comes to passenger safety, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
None of the four minivans tested earned an acceptable or good rating in this latest test, which emphasizes back seat passenger safety.
In a recent test, a dummy is positioned in the second row behind the driver. Another dummy is positioned in the front of the car and is the size of an average adult man. The rear dummy is the size of a small woman or 12-year-old child. What this new test determined is that the risk of death is higher for belted passengers compared to the front.
“It’s not that the rear seat has gotten less safe over time, it’s that the front seat has become so much safer over time by comparison. Many consumers choose minivans specifically to transport their families, so it’s disappointing that the automakers have focused more attention on back seat safety in this auto class,” said Jessica Jermakian, the Vice President of Vehicle Research at IIHS.
The Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Carnival, and Toyota Sienna are rated marginal, while the Honda Odyssey is rated poor. For a vehicle to earn a good rating, there can’t be an excessive risk of injury to the head, neck, chest, or thigh.
“While we are disappointed in these ratings, we expect the automakers to respond quickly and make improvements as we’ve seen in other tests,” Jermakian said.
These ratings don’t change the IIHS’s recommendation that children under 13 sit properly restrained in the rear seat, and if you have a child that is in a child safety seat, these ratings do not count because this test did not include child safety seats.