The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently put three minivans through its latest passenger side small overlap front crash test and only one of them received the highest rating possible – the Honda Odyssey. The Chrysler Pacifica came in second with an acceptable rating, while the Toyota Sienna floundered with a marginal rating.

A small overlap crash occurs when just the front corner of the vehicle hits another vehicle or an object, like a tree or utility pole. IIHS began rating vehicles in a driver-side small overlap front crash in 2012 and added the passenger-side test last year to make sure occupants on both sides of the vehicle get equal protection.

“In our latest passenger-side tests, we didn’t find any performance issues with safety belts or airbags like we did when we evaluated small and midsize SUVs earlier this year and midsize cars last year,” says David Zuby, the Institute’s chief research officer. “Instead, we saw some structural deficiencies on the right side that still need addressing.”

The Honda Odyssey received the a good rating in the passenger side test, putting it at the top of the its two closest rivals. The Chrysler Pacifica and Toyota Sienna received lower ratings due to the fact that their structures allowed too much intrusion.

“A safety cage must be strong enough to resist intrusion in a crash to protect the people inside, no matter where they sit in the vehicle,” says David Zuby, the Institute’s chief research officer. The Sienna received the marginal rating since its structure allowed as much as 20 inches of intrusion in the lower occupant compartment and more than 16 inches of intrusion at the dashboard. “The intruding structure crumpled around the test dummy’s legs. A real right front passenger would sustain possible injuries to the right hip and lower leg in a crash of this severity.”

Source: IIHS