Minivan Rear-Seat Safety Not Up to Snuff, According to IIHS

iihs safety test
Minivans Fall Short on Rear-Seat Safety, Says IIHSIIHS
  • The IIHS announced that none of the four minivans it tested achieved better than a Marginal rating for overall vehicle safety.

  • The poor results are due to new testing regiments from the IIHS that put a focus on rear-passenger safety.

  • The test included the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Carnival, and Toyota Sienna.

The IIHS released updated crash-test results that show all four minivans on sale in the United States today fail to adequately protect rear-seat passengers in front-end collisions. The results are particularly embarrassing for a segment so sought after by many families. Between the Honda Odyssey, Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Carnival, and Toyota Sienna, none received the top "Good" rating, or even the second tier "Acceptable" from the IIHS.

The updated results come as the IIHS implements a new crash test that shines a spotlight on rear-occupant safety. The new test includes an additional dummy seated in the rear seat on the driver's side. While the driver dummy is the size of an average adult man, the rear dummy is the size of a small woman or 12-year-old child. According to the IIHS report, researchers also developed new metrics that focus on the injuries most frequently seen in back-seat passengers.


According to the IIHS, all four minivans provide good protection for front-seat occupants, but each has multiple issues when it comes to safety for the second row. In the Odyssey, which received the worst overall score of the four vans tested, the rear dummy experienced significant forces on the head and neck, and the crash-test video shows that the rear seatbelt allowed the dummy’s head to come too close to the front seatback, further increasing risk of head injuries.

The IIHS safety crash test rankings are broken down into four categories. The Good rating being the highest, followed by Acceptable, Marginal, and Poor. Of the four minivans tested, the Odyssey scored the worst with an overall "Poor" rating, while the other three vehicles earned a "Marginal" overall score.

iihs safety test

The less-than-stellar results are similar to the mid-size-truck segment that the IIHS released in June, where three of the five trucks tested earned "Poor" rankings. The subpar results for both classes of vehicles stem from a lack of protection for rear occupants. “The restraint systems in all four vehicles leave the second-row occupant vulnerable to chest injuries, either because of excessive belt forces or poor belt positioning,” said Jessica Jermakian, IIHS vice president of vehicle research, in a statement. “That’s concerning because those injuries can be life-threatening.”

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