IIHS: Minivans Don't Do Enough to Protect Rear Passengers
Minivans are undefeated as family haulers, but a recent announcement from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) casts doubt on their ability to protect the precious cargo in their back seats. The crash-testing organization gave all four American minivans below-acceptable ratings in its new moderate front overlap test, which was recently updated with a stronger focus on back-seat protection and safety.
The Chrysler Pacifica, Kia Carnival, and Toyota Sienna earned the next-to-lowest rating of “Acceptable,” while the Honda Odyssey earned a “Poor” rating. IIHS spokesperson Joe Young told Automotive News the scores come from a disconnect between the safety features provided for front-seat passengers and the lack of the same tech for back-seat occupants. The organization said the latest advances in airbag tech and passenger restraints are “rarely available” for people riding in the back seats.
While alarming, especially for parents toting vans full of kids around town, the IIHS believes its findings will drive a quick improvement in back-seat safety. All of the minivans on sale in the U.S. are due for updates in the coming years, and the Pacifica will likely go fully electric by 2028, which will bring improvements to back-seat safety. Young said that the changes don’t require structural updates to the vans, so they can be implemented before a full-on mid-cycle or generational refresh takes place.
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