IIHS Selects First Minivan as “Top Safety Pick Plus”

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Detroit News

For the first time, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested a minivan in its search for the “Top Safety Pick Plus” and the minivan won top pick.

Find out which minivan passed all five crash evaluations with high honors.

The 2014 Honda Odyssey on Thursday was awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ‘s top award — the “Top Safety Pick Plus” the first minivan to win the award.

It passed all five IIHS crash evaluations, including the new challenging small overlap front test. It also passed crash tests covering moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side, rollover and rear impacts.

The 2014 Odyssey is the first minivan IIHS has tested. The insurance industry funded group prods automakers to build safer cars. IIHS ratings are used by many potential car buyers and automakers often advertise high test scores.

Honda asked IIHS to test the Odyssey to highlight structural changes the automaker made to improve occupant protection in a small overlap front crash. When IIHS conducts a test at a manufacturer’s request, the automaker reimburses IIHS for the cost of the vehicle.

Honda introduced the upgraded Odyssey as a 2014 model. While Honda didn’t make major styling changes, the new model has advanced high-strength steel in the front door frames, floor pan and front wheel wells creating a more rigid occupant compartment. The side curtain airbags extend farther forward to offer comprehensive head protection in both a side crash and a small overlap front crash.

“Safety is high on the list for parents when it comes to shopping for a family vehicle,” said IIHS President Adrian Lund. “Consumers look for models with the highest safety ratings. Honda is ahead of many of its competitors in building state-of-the-art crash-worthiness into its vehicles.”

Honda attributes refinements and the use of stronger materials in its advanced compatibility engineering body structure to absorbing crash energy and keeping the cabin intact to prevent injuries to vehicle occupants, said Chuck Thomas, chief engineer of automotive safety for Honda’s research and development arm for the Americas.

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