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Some Minivans Fare Poorly in Car Accidents, According to IIHS

Minivans are supposed to be safe.  After all, isn't that why millions of suburban moms drive them? 

It turns out that these vehicles are not as safe as you might think, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Crash tests conducted by the institute revealed that the Nissan Quest in particular was especially hazardous to occupants in a crash.  According to the executive vice present of the Insurance Institute, "A person experiencing this would be lucky to ever walk normally again." The driver's side door was pushed in two feet during the test crash.  The Quest has received positive ratings in the past in different types of test.

The most recent test evaluates how minivans respond in small overlap collisions in which the front corner of the vehicle strikes a stationary object such as a lamp post or fire hydrant at 40 mph. Five minivans were tested: the Nissan Quest, the Honda Odyssey, the Toyota Sienna, the Dodge Caravan and the Chrysler Town and Country were tested. This test is one of the most common and most deadly accidents faced by drivers.

The Odyssey performed best in the crash test, while the Quest was the worst performer. The Sienna was acceptable, and the Caravan and Town and Country were reported as being "poor." IIHS has been performing these small overlap tests for several years, testing dozens of different vehicles.

Chrysler Corp., whose Town and Country was rated as "poor," responded to the announcement of the test results.  A spokesperson noted that "No single test determines overall vehicle safety." He further noted that the Town and Country had received the highest ratings in crash tests involving the following types of crashes: side, rollover, rare and moderate-overlap front.