Is Chrysler’s safety rating for minivans better than Toyota’s?

In a matchup of Chrysler and Toyota minivans, Chrysler was given the Top Safety Pick Plus while Toyota came short. Safety features can lower auto insurance rates by up to 8%.

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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...

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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...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Apr 23, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • What many people do not realize is that there is a statistical trade-off in between the volume of the frame and control that the driver can exercise over it
  • Because of this, safety agencies have been found to prove that every vehicle, including minivans, meets some basic standards that will ensure everybody on the road stays protected
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is one such company that diagnosed the quality of safety measurements in Chrysler Pacifica and Toyota Sienna

Minivans have won the trust of millions of people who fit the stereotype of family-oriented, low-profile individuals that are focused on their close ones. These vehicles have been upgraded to contain top-notch features, collision prevention abilities, fuel efficiency, and more.

The most common engine used is the traditional V-6 which can provide around 200 horse-powers on average. This power is enough to push a 4,500 pounds car frame that has an extra couple of hundred pounds depending on the number of passengers.

Since the main patrons purchasing minivans are families, the safety elements come as the highest priority to all the sellers.

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Safety Tests

To ensure that prospective vehicles are indeed safe for the public, the IIHS will conduct testing the likes of which are rarely seen. The tests are based on real-life scenarios, observations, and trend analysis. Three main elements get reviewed and quantified:

  • Crashworthiness, or how well a car maintains the survival space and injury-free environment during a collision.
  • Crash prevention, or if the car is able to reduce its speed in the event of potential danger.
  • Child seat anchors that are crucial for these vehicles as children will often be transported.

The grades differ slightly, although crashworthiness and child seat anchors both share the four-scale structured system based on good, acceptable, moderate, and poor marks.

Crash prevention and mitigation, however, can be basic, advanced, or superior.

Therefore, conducting an analysis between brands such as Chrysler, the American inventor of minivans, and Toyota, the most popular Japanese giants, will be based on a comparison of reviews given by the IIHS.

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Crashworthiness

To lead with the more successful vehicle, Chrysler Pacifica got perfect scores across the board. Its ability to preserve the survival space, prevent head or neck injuries and preserve the dummy’s legs granted it the “outstanding” score.

Roof strength-to-weight ratio was 4.58 which is a little better than Sienna’s 4.12 grade. As far as the collision performance, Toyota’s model got four out of five “good” scores as its small front overlap score was only “acceptable.”

The reason for this underperformance is the failure to maintain the survival space as the dummy’s head was not protected by the airbags and went straight to the side. Thus, this test was moderately better performed by Chrysler.

Crash Prevention & Mitigation

Since the computerization of vehicles is at an all-time high, one expects automobiles to be able to detect danger and come to a stop.

The IIHS conducts collision warning tests worth one point, 12 mph tests worth two points, and 25 mph tests worth three points.

Toyota Sienna received three out of six points as it had a forward collision warning, but its speed reduction in both tests was not enough to avoid a collision.

Chrysler, once again, not only achieved a substantial speed reduction but also completely avoided an accident in both tests. Thus, it was given a perfect score which broadens its lead over Toyota.

Interestingly, the headlights portion of this test was only performed by Chrysler who was given an “acceptable” score, while Sienna had no grade whatsoever.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

To ease the defeat, Toyota won this category by having better child seat anchors.

Chrysler only scored a “moderate” grade due to its latches being hard to find and requiring too much force to utilize. Toyota had problems itself, but not to this extent.

Nevertheless, the brand could use some improvements in the location of the latch and how deep it is within the seat.

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

The difference between these two awards is very small and not many vehicles qualify for either. To be a Top Safety Pick, a car will have to score perfectly in crashworthiness and get an advanced or a superior score in crash prevention.

To get the Plus mark, it will have to have good or acceptable headlights performance on top of these requirements. Out of Toyota Sienna and Chrysler Pacifica, only one model qualified to get an award, and it was the latter.

Chrysler was given the Top Safety Pick Plus while Toyota came short.

After conducting an analysis of Chrysler’s Pacifica and Toyota’s Sienna model, one can safely assume that the American subsidiary company won over the Japanese conglomerate.

Toyota came short in the areas of small front overlap test, crash prevention, and no headlights score was given. Although it outperformed Chrysler in the LATCH category, it was not enough to win the race.

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