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Popular Minivans Receive Poor Crash Test Ratings

Written by Jared Staver

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Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury


Minivans are a popular choice of vehicle for safety-conscious drivers, particularly those with families. There has been good reason to choose minivans for safety, but recent safety crash tests show that not all minivans are made alike. Chicago car accidents are not uncommon, for a number of factors.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in a recent press release said that of a group of four minivans tested for their performance in small overlap front crashes, only one performed acceptably. The test included the Nissan Quest, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Toyota Sienna. Only the Sienna earned an acceptable rating, with the three remaining minivans earning a poor rating on the test.

The small overlap test recreates a common type of accident in which the front corner of the minivan crashes into another vehicle or an object like a light pole or a tree. The Institute’s report notes that minivans may handle this type of accident particularly poorly because of their heaviness, and their width compared to cars, which means more of the minivan’s body is outside of the main structure. The main structure is what absorbs the energy of an impact, but when a portion of the vehicle outside of that structure collides with another vehicle or an object, then the force of the crash isn’t absorbed by the main structure.

For 2015, Toyota modified the Sienna’s body to increase the amount of protection in a small overlap accident, although it still fared poorly in parts of the test, the Institute reported. In the Sienna, the crash test dummy’s head hit the front airbag and then slid off, and the seat belt allowed too much movement by the dummy in the impact. Overall, the Sienna offered more protection from serious injuries than the other minivans tested.

In the other vehicles, the crash test dummy would have sustained serious injuries — particularly to the legs — as the structure of the minivan collapsed around the dummy. However, all of the minivans offered good protection against head/neck and chest injuries.

The results of the small overlap test apply to the 2015 Sienna, 2008-2015 models of the Town & Country and Grand Caravan, and 2011-2105 models of the Quest.

If you or a family member has been injured in a Chicago minivan accident and you want to explore your options for a potential claim, the lawyers at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. can help. Call us at (312) 236-2900 for a free consultation today.

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