April 12, 2005

New frontal crash test results released for minivans and pickups

Arlington, Virginia – The Honda Odyssey and Chevrolet Uplander minivans earned the top rating of “good” in frontal offset crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Both are new designs for the 2005 model year. The Odyssey earned the added designation of “best pick” for frontal crash protection.

Among small pickup trucks, the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, and Chevrolet Colorado earned “good” ratings. The Tacoma is also a “best pick” in the frontal test. The Dodge Dakota and Ford Ranger pickups were rated “acceptable”.

The ratings reflect performance in a 64 km/h frontal offset crash into a deformable barrier. If a vehicle earns a “good” rating, it means that in a real-world crash of similar severity, a belted driver would be most likely able to walk away with only minor injuries.

The Uplander’s “good” rating marked a dramatic improvement over earlier designs. Also sold as the Pontiac Montana SV6, Saturn Relay and Buick Terraza, it replaces a design sold as the Chevrolet Venture, Pontiac Trans Sport and Montana, and the Oldsmobile Silhouette. That earlier design was one of the worst-performing vehicles in the IIHS’ frontal crash test; when the 1997 Pontiac Trans Sport was tested, the occupant compartment collapsed and broke off the dummy’s metal foot.

Five current minivan designs now earn “good” ratings for frontal offset tests: the Odyssey, Uplander, Toyota Sienna, Ford Freestar and the Nissan Quest.

The newly-tested small pickups all have extended cabs, which have become the norm for this class; none of the previous regular-cab pickups earned a “good” rating, but now three small pickup designs have earned the rating. The Tacoma went from “acceptable” to “good” and earned the “best pick” designation; the Nissan Frontier improved from “marginal” to “good”, as did the Chevrolet Colorado when compared to the previous Chevrolet S-10, and the Dodge Dakota improved from “poor” to “acceptable”.

The summary of results for all small pickup trucks and passenger vans is available at www.hwysafety.org.

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