Chrysler, Dodge Round Out Top Safety Pick for Minivans by IIHS; Nissan Left Out

By Trevor Dorchies | November 01, 2011
When purchasing a minivan one of the primary concerns is safety. Every year the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety puts an array of cars, trucks, SUV's and minivans through rigorous testing to find the safest vehicles on the market. Vehicle categories include minicars and small cars all the way up to large SUV's and minivans. However, not all vehicles tested, make the cut as a Top Safety Pick for various reasons, despite high marks are earned in some categories,. To be considered a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS a vehicle must earn the top mark of "Good" in rollover, front, side and rear crash tests, plus come with an electronic stability control system as standard equipment. Just because a vehicle doesn't earn TSP doesn't mean it's unsafe of course. For example, in its most recent round of testing the 2012 Nissan Quest has standard stability control and earned "Good" scores marks in everything but the rollover test, where it scored "Acceptable" instead. As a result, the Quest missed earning the coveted award. On the other hand, several other vans did win it: The 2012 Dodge Grand Caravan and its more luxurious sibling the Chrysler Town & Country, the 2012 Honda Odyssey, the 2012 Toyota Sienna and the 2012 Volkswagen Routan have all been named Top Safety Picks by the IIHS.
"Safety-conscious parents shopping for a family hauler should be pleased with today's minivan choices," said David Zuby, the IIHS's chief research officer. It's especially good news for Chrysler. With the addition of the Grand Caravan and Town & Country, the Chrysler Group now has a total of 11 vehicles with the IIHS Top Safety Pick bestowed upon them. These include the 2012 Fiat 500, 2011, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Patriot, Chrysler 300 and 200, Dodge Durango, Charger, Journey, and Avenger. Both the Grand Caravan and Town & Country earned strength-to-weight ratio ratings of 4.51, among the highest of the minivans tested. The strength-to-weight ratio simulates the effect of a rollover collision by forcing a metal plate against the roof of the vehicle. To earn a Good grade the roof must withstand a force of four times the vehicle's weight before being pushed in five inches. Would you buy a vehicle that has a reputation to be safe but didn't earn any awards for the latest model year? Tell us what you think in the comment section below. Source: Chrysler, Institute Insurance of Highway Safety