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

When you compare the Toyota Sienna minivan against the Honda Odyssey, you'll see that Honda ranked considerably higher in several safety categories.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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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 and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
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UPDATED: Oct 28, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The 2017 Honda Odyssey has received the highest safety ratings in its class from the IIHS, and it has the title of Top Safety Pick+
  • The Toyota received lower safety ratings from the IIHS in three categories
  • As important as it is for you to select a safe minivan to drive your family around town in, you also need to focus on other relevant criteria to make a well-rounded buying decision

If you are in the market for a new family vehicle, you may be debating between several top minivan models.

The 2017 Honda Odyssey and the 2017 Toyota Sienna are both popular minivan models with consumers, and you may think that both of these foreign-made vehicles would have similar safety ratings because of their dominance in the marketplace.

However, when you analyze safety details for both models, you will see that one model is clearly a safer minivan to drive than the other.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Data Loss Institute carefully reviews safety data and details for many makes and models in each vehicle class every year.

In 2017, this organization reviewed details for the leading five minivan models on the market, and it notably gave three of the five models reviewed a Top Safety Pick acknowledgment.

Analyzing the IIHS data and ratings for this vehicle class may help you to determine which of the leading minivans you want to focus your attention on when you are shopping for your next vehicle.

Compare quotes from several car insurance companies at once to find the coverage that’s right for you. Enter your zip code into our free rate tool above to get started.

Analyzing the Safety Ratings for the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Sienna

Rather than simply issuing a blanket safety rating for each vehicle that it reviews, the IIHS has broken down its analysis into three primary categories or eight sub-categories. Most of these categories have received ratings such as:

  • Good
  • Average
  • Marginal
  • Poor

The exception is the Front Crash Prevention category, and the ratings for this category range from “basic” to “advanced.”

With a closer look at how the Odyssey and the Sienna rate in the areas of Crashworthiness, Latch, and Crash Avoidance and Mitigation, you can more easily narrow down your options and make a thoughtful buying decision.



The issue of Crashworthiness is notable, and because of this, the IIHS has created five sub-categories in this section. These sub-categories include Roof Strength, Front Moderate Overlap, Front Small Overlap, Head Restraints and Seats, and Side.

The 2017 Odyssey achieved a “good” rating for all five of these sub-categories, which is the highest rating possible. 

On the other hand, the Toyota Sienna achieved an “average” rate for the Front Small Overlap sub-category and a “good” rating for the remaining four sub-categories.

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

The IIHS has broken the Crash Avoidance and Mitigation section into the Front Crash Prevention sub-category and the Headlights sub-category.

While the Odyssey achieved a “superior” rating in the Front Crash Prevention sub-category, it only garnered an “average” rating for Headlights.

On the other hand, the Toyota Sienna was not rated at all in the Headlights section, and it received a mid-range “advanced” rating for Front Crash Prevention.

Latch for Child Seat Anchors

Many minivan buyers have young children and need to use a car seat to keep them safe. The LATCH test for child seat anchors describes the ease of use of this important feature.

The Odyssey had the highest rating in this category of “good+,” and no other minivan even achieved a “good” rating. The Sienna was awarded an “average” rate for this safety area.

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

For vehicles that have exemplary safety ratings, the IIHS has created the titles of Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+.

The difference between these two is that the Top Safety Pick+ honor requires the vehicle to achieve an “average” rate or better in the Headlights sub-category.

The Honda Odyssey was one of the vehicles in this class that qualified for the Top Safety Pick+ award.

The Toyota Sienna was not recognized in the area of safety by the IIHS.

Is Toyota safer than Honda in 2017 for minivans?

Safety ratings are critical when you are selecting a new family vehicle to drive your loved ones in on a regular basis. When you compare the Toyota minivan against the Honda minivan, you will see that Honda ranked considerably higher in several IIHS safety categories.

Insurance costs for minivans can vary substantially from model to model, and requesting quotes on different vehicles may show you clearly which minivan will be more affordable for you to insure in the years to come.

Enter your zip code into our free rate comparison tool below to see rates and coverage options for your needs!

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