The minivans have always been designed for the use and enjoyment of families vehicles, so that security is one of the most important factors when deciding what is the best choice to buy.
To help do this, the Institute of Insurance and Highway Safety (IIHS, its acronym in English) held every year strict and lengthy tests that simulate accidents, different driving conditions and other circumstances in which it can see involved a vehicle and then make recommendations to consumers.
The five chosen
In the case of minivans, the IIHS awarded its highest rating of Top Safety Pick five 2012 models – the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan and Volkswagen Routan, which share the same structure, in addition to the Honda Odessy and Toyota Sienna.
To qualify for this election, models must achieve the highest score in frontal crash tests, side, rear and rollover, and are equipped with the system of Electronic Stability Control (ESC) which contributes to your overall safety.
Two other minivans popular models – the Kia Sedona and Nissan Quest – not achieved the highest ranking in rollovers: the Quest only managed rated ‘acceptable’ and Sedona ‘poor’.
Protection and rollover is determined by the rigidity of the ceiling, which is measured by exerting pressure with a metal plate to one of the corners of the roof, at a constant speed. To achieve the best rating, the roof must withstand a force equivalent to four times the vehicle’s weight before five inches is compressed. In other words, you must have a strength to weight ratio of at least 4.
The Town & Country, Grand Caravan and Routan achieved a score of 4.51 in the roof strength test, against 3.36 of the Nissan Quest and only the Kia Sedona 2.31.
The strength of resistnecia roof is vital to survive an accident with rollover and while deaths from this type of accident have declined in recent years thanks to the implementation of mandatory safety systems such as Electronic Stability Control, in 2009 still they recorded more than 8,000 deaths.
The IIHS began conducting tests after after years of research, it was found that levels of strength to weight ratio greater than 1.5 government requirement contributed to the dramatic reduction in serious injuries and deaths in rollover accidents.
The impact of a rollover, when the roof hits the pavement, the roof strength can reduce the risk of vehicle occupants coming into contact with the vehicle structure and even prevent passengers who do not wear the seat belt out expelled from the force of the impact.
Danger of death
Despite the reduction of deaths from rollovers since 2009 and mandatory implementation of security systems such as the Electronic Control Security on all models of 2012, the authorities estimate that still produce between 6,000 and 8,000 deaths annually in accidents rollover, so, greater resistance to an impact roof during a rollover is vital.
IIHS tests for the safest minivans in 2012, were based on simulations of frontal crashes at a speed of 40 miles per hour and side to 31 miles per hour against a barrier represents the front of a pickup truck or a SUV.
Moreover, evidence of accidents involving rear impact are done by analyzing two key factors in an accident: geometric resistance of the bullwhip effect in the headwaters of the seats and their impact on the neck of passengers and the overall impact on the structure of vehicle.
The IIHS awarded the Top Safety Pick rated first models 2006, when only required score of ‘good’ in front or side and ‘acceptable’ in rear impact crashes. The level of demand increased in 2007 when rated ‘good’ was required in rear impact crashes and the inclusion of Electronic Stability Control.
Now, with the test on roof strength, IIHS tests include the four most common types of accidents, so their results generate a high level of information for consumers who are considering buying a new minivan.
* Test Drives 2012