Insurance Institute for Highway Safety finds mixed results in latest minivan crash tests

IIHS Hond Odyssey passenger front crash.jpeg
Action shot taken of the 2018 Honda Odyssey during the IIHS passenger-side small overlap frontal crash test. (Image courtesy of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

Not all minivans provide the best crash protection for their occupants, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said Thursday. In its testing, the insurance industry-funded group praised the 2018 Honda Odyssey while noting structural deficiencies in the 2019 Toyota Sienna and 2019 Chrysler Pacifica.

The IIHS subjected the three minivans to its small-overlap test on both the driver's and passenger's sides. The test simulates impact with a stationary object such as a telephone pole. In the driver's side test, the Odyssey and Pacifica both earned top "Good" marks while the Sienna scored "Acceptable."

MORE: Read our 2018 Honda Odyssey review

When the same test was performed on the passenger's side of the vehicles, the Odyssey still earned a "Good" score while the Pacifica dropped to "Acceptable" and the Sienna turned in a concerning "Marginal" result. The IIHS noted that while Toyota upgraded the Sienna's body structure on the driver's side in 2015, it left the passenger's side alone.

"We saw some structural deficiencies on the right side that still need addressing," IIHS chief research officer David Zuby said in a statement.

The IIHS said that the Odyssey's passenger compartment held up well, but that the Sienna's structure deformed by as much as 20 inches into the cabin.

Overall, the Odyssey and Pacifica performed well enough to earn the IIHS' Top Safety Pick award.

Child seat restraint tests

Separately, the IIHS looked at all five minivans on the market—the Odyssey, Sienna, and Pacifica, as well as the Dodge Grand Caravan and Kia Sedona—to evaluate their child seat restraint hardware.

The IIHS said it looked at the federally mandated LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children) system and found that only the Odyssey earned a "Good" score.

By contrast, the Grand Caravan, Sedona, and Sienna earned "Acceptable" and the Pacifica scored "Marginal."

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