Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that exis...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 23, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Minivans have risen to mainstream fame as families become more eligible to make the purchase
  • As parents obtain minivans, their main concern is to have enough room for infants, teenagers, other family members, child seats, soccer teams, and so on
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests all minivans equally to assess their safety
  • A better explanation of how the IHHS goes about their tests can be given by comparing top-notch models such as Chrysler Pacifica 2017 and Honda Odyssey 2018

In the current years, modern families have outgrown efficiency vehicles that have now become the thing of weekend extracurricular activities. During their everyday life, middle-class tend to rely on larger vehicles for transportation for many reasons.

The most important ones include the size that will enable them to transport expected and unexpected guests, good fuel efficiency, state-of-the-art features, high-roof cabins that grant ease of access, and more.

Therefore, witnessing a family purchase a minivan has become about as common as it gets.

An important control step before any of these vehicles reach the prospective buyers, however, has been implemented by having the IIHS test every car for safety. This is done through collisions tests, performance quantifications, observations reviews, and so on.

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Safety Tests

Manufacturers can expect to give up at least one model that will be completely destroyed by the IIHS for the greater good. Tests are broken down into:

The crashworthiness test is further sub-categorized into moderate and small front overlap collision, side and roof strength, and head restraints. The prevention test consists of two sub-tests with different starting speeds as well as the headlights review.

Lastly, the LATCH test consists of examining the child seat anchors visually to determine if their positioning is convenient, if the hardware stands out, if there is the excessive force required to use them, and so on.

Considering this, comparing some of the best-ever scoring vehicles such as Honda Odyssey and Chrysler Pacific should be a very-small-margin victory for either make.

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Crashworthiness

The first category was dominated by both of these models. The grades that a car can potentially get are poor, moderate, acceptable, and good.

Honda and Chrysler scored five out of five good grades for crashworthiness which indicates that both vehicles facilitated small-to-no injuries to the dummy.

In more detail, the survival space was maintained well as per the small front overlap collision and side and front airbags deployment were efficient and preserved the dummy from any head or neck injuries.

The roof’s strength-to-weight ratio was higher for Honda who got a 5.58 score as opposed to Chrysler’s 4.58.

Even though both vehicles scored over four and got placed into the “good” range, one should take into account how Honda almost had an entire point over Chrysler for its roof strength.

Crash Prevention & Mitigation

This test contains a review of the frontal collision warning that is valued at one point, a 12 mph speed reduction test worth two points, and a high-speed test (25 mph) worth three points.

Grades can be basic, advanced, or superior. Echoing the previous test, both models scored a perfect six out of six score. 

Honda and Chrysler had implemented sound frontal collision warnings and when a speed reduction was necessary to mitigate an accident, it was there.

Both collisions were avoided after the speed was perfectly reduced and vehicles came to a complete stop. This feature was enabled by the current systems that employ auto-brakes triggered by dozens of sensors on the vehicles which monitor the field for potential threats.

Headlights were evenly matched as both brands got an “acceptable” score.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

Unlike the previous two areas, the latch test finally gives a clear-cut winner. 

The scores are the same as in the crashworthiness test where the performance is assessed on a four-mark scale.

Pacifica came short to Odyssey’s “good plus” rating as its LATCH systems were hard to find. There was other hardware similar to the anchors which can drive confusion, and they were too deep in the seat.

Not only did Odyssey avoid all of these issues, but it also had additional latches that were not necessarily required. Thus, Honda got its first win over Chrysler which might be the crucial point of the comparison.

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2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+

As both models performed substantially, to say the least, they both received Top Safety Pick Plus. 

This recognition is given to very few vehicles that are able to get perfect grades across all the crashworthiness categories, an advanced or superior crash prevention evaluation, and acceptable or good marks for headlights.

Therefore, as uncommon as it may be, both models compared in this scenario were given the highest achievement possible by the IIHS.

Saying that either vehicle won would be an overstatement. The race between Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey was so close that even declaring a small-margin winner almost would be imprecise.

Regardless, for the purposes of critically evaluating vehicles, one could give the winning title to Honda for its better roof-to-strength ratio and a lot better latch test performance.

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