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Minivans - Domestic or Foreign

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Comments

  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I believe you will find that these stats are constructed based on frequency of injury, not severity of the crash. For example, if a passenger is killed there are no medical payments by the insurer. Something to consider IMO.
  • I think from reading at IIHS, are based on "losses," i.e., dollar payouts by the insurance companies. I imagine losses includes injury, death, medical bills, pain, suffering, lost wages, etc. which I suppose tend to increase with the severity of the crash.
    Re fatalities: I can't find any deathrates past 1997 or so, which excludes many newer vans. At any rate, IIHS says, "Fatal crash injuries are relatively rare, so they have little influence on insurance losses for injuries. Such losses are dominated by the far more frequent low to moderate severity collisions and their associated injuries."
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    Exactly my point. If a child gets killed riding in the third row seat it doesn't cost the auto insurer any more than if the child hadn't been there.
  • Does this mean if I'm at fault & someone is killed in the other car, my insurance doesn't pay their survivors anything?
    From consumer info sites:
    "Bodily Injury Liability
    The medical costs of injury that you cause to other people, loss of income for someone you injure and the cost of your legal defense if you are sued and determined to be at fault in the event of an accident involving injury or death."
    and:
    "Bodily Injury Liability
    Pays when an insured person is legally liable for bodily injury or death caused by your vehicle or your operation of most non-owned vehicles."
    What I understand is that the GM minivans' good rating in the IIHS injury category includes any & every type of loss, including any injury or death attributable to frontal-offest crashes. Meaning that in spite of the poor rating in the frontal-offset labtest that overall in the real world the GM vans are above average in minivan safety. Although since as a group, minivans are very safe, I think this is mostly hairsplitting.
    Put another way, the statistics show that the individual labtest doesn't say much about your likely overall safety, just what is likely to happen in that particular type of crash.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    Regarding minivan 3rd row seating:

    There is some concern about 3rd row seats that are too close to the rear hatch. Loaded with heavy adults, the seat back can fail and may lead to injury. Fortunately, severe crashes from the rear are uncommon, about 4-7% of all crashes. Having and using 3-point lap/shoulder belts and properly adjusted head restraints will also minimize any risk. Finally, kids in a harnessed carseat are at the least risk in a third row seat. Their low weight is unlikely to load the seat back to failure, the 5-point harness greatly reduces the chance of ejection and the shell of the carseat also offers some protection from intrusion.

    I have no problem putting my kids in the third row seat of our minivan in a harnessed carseat. In fact, the middle of the third row is quite possibly safer than the outboard spot in the second row of a minivan or sedan. That is because side impacts are more common and more severe than rear impacts, and there is even less crush space.

    I would have a problem putting myself into the 3rd row of a vehicle with no shoulder belt or head restraint, especially if other adults were in that seat also. The increased weight and lack of appropriate restraints increase the risk significantly, and even more in a smaller minivan or SUV with less than a foot from the 3rd row seat ot the rear hatch.

    The back seat of a well designed sedan is likely to be somewhat safer in a crash from the rear than a minivan or SUV 3rd row. On the other hand, you trade off the extra 1000+ pounds for more common and more severe frontal crashes. In frontal crashes, minivans have the advantage of significant extra weight. As they are based on car platforms, they also retain the crushability of a unibody chassis and the better rollover characteristics of a car, too...

    Second, on injury and death data-

    These do have a small component of real world crashworthiness in them. Unfortunately, they also have a large component of driver profile. Notice that structurally identical twins (Villager/Quest, GM Trio, GC/T&C, etc) do not have the exact same loss ratings, and are sometimes quite different. In addition, most car-based minivans are in the best categories of injury and death rates compared to other vehicles. In my opinion, the numerical difference between two vehicles that are both "Substantially Better Than Average" in loss rates is not nearly as impressive as the difference between "2-stars" and "5-stars" in an NHTSA crash or rollover rating, or a "Good" vs. Marginal" in the IIHS offset test.

    Offset crashes are not uncommon. If your vehicle is in one, it's very likely to perform similarly to the crash test. Yes, the angles and momentums can vary in the real world. Even so, these standard tests are precisely controlled and the parameters are well known. If a manufacturer can't even design for an Acceptable result in such a test, I would not trust them to have designed the vehicle to do any better in crashes that vary slightly...

    If you buy a vehicle based only on the death or injury rates, you have mostly just put yourself in the same risk category as other drivers of the same vehicle. Maybe you're less likely to be involved in a crash with "loss" in the first place, but when you are in one you better hope your vehicle performs well in the standard crash tests, too....
  • artgpoartgpo Posts: 483
    Another place where the GM triplets scored high was on the property damage claim amount. The Silhouette scored the lowest claims for both injury or property of any large vehicle. You can go to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's own web site and check out the numbers for yourself.

    The crash test results were interesting in that no test has been conducted since 1997.
  • rylesryles Posts: 19
    If you have the Pontiac or Chevy, you don't even NEED to put one of the 3 children in the third row. They'll fit in the second row, leaving LOTS of room behind the second row for storage, impact absorption, etc. We've been very happy with this solution, and I would doubt that an Impala would have gotten our new refrigerator home as did our Montana.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    "The crash test results were interesting in that no test has been conducted since 1997."

    If no changes have been made to the chassis or restraint system, the IIHS will generally not retest a vehicle. The NHTSA will often carry test results over to the next year or even two if no redesign has been made to the vehicle.

    Expect the next IIHS test for the GM Trio to be when GM refreshes the vans or updates them with an all-new model.

    If you know there have been significant changes to a vehicle and it has not been retested, it is a good idea to write the IIHS. They have generally been pretty responsive to my inquiries. I am currently awaiting a response as to why the 1999+ Windstar was downgraded from "Good" to "Acceptable" overall in the offset crash rating....
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    You got me on the fridge, but I don't think I would spend $7K more to buy a van to haul a fridge every 20 yrs!
  • *While the number of stars has remained constant, the actual force mesurments have changed over the years for the GM triplets at the NHTSA site. So even though there have been no design changes, it seams the NHTSA has continued to test and get slightly different results, which I think questions the actual duplicatability of the results.

    *While it is unclear if "deaths" are in the "injury" ratings for the HLDI lists, they do say that "Collisions that result in serious and fatal occupant injuries are relatively rare, so they have only a small influence on the insurance injury results reported in this publication."

    *Another good example of the paradox between the IIHS and HLDI is the Toyota Tundra. Toyota ads claim it to be the best scorer from the IIHS, but the HLDI (which is funded by the IIHS) has it near the bottom for injury.

    *One thing that always comes to my mind when I see the tests (IIHS), is that should I ever be in that situation, I would think I would 1) get off the gas, 2) step on the brakes, or 3) steer to move the car. I would think it possible the other driver would do simular things. All of which the test dosen't take in to effect. This could result in the differences betweeen lab and outside. Which could mean that a vehicle designned for the crash test may not perform as well on the road.

    *And keep in mind all these tests concern mostly the driver. At 6'4" and 310 lbs, I believe the current crash dummies do not reflect what might happen to me.

    *So my feelings have been, choose the vehicle that best meets your needs and has features you desire, if if two are close then think about reputation and safety.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I agree with your conclusion but remember that none of the aforementioned tests specifially rate vehicles involved in rear end collisions for passenger injury/death.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    "*While the number of stars has remained constant, the actual force mesurments have changed over the years for the GM triplets at the NHTSA site. So even though there have been no design changes, it seams the NHTSA has continued to test and get slightly different results, which I think questions the actual duplicatability of the results."

    This is one reason the "Star" system exists. Small variations in the raw data should not affect the overall rating; certianly by no more than one category for a vehicle at the upper or lower end of the range. I wouldn't expect any test on this scale to produce the exact same results with two identical vehicles tested one after another. I would, on the other hand, be very skeptical if the two tests resulted in significantly different star ratings.

    "*While it is unclear if "deaths" are in the "injury" ratings for the HLDI lists, they do say that "Collisions that result in serious and fatal occupant injuries are relatively rare, so they have only a small influence on the insurance injury results reported in this publication."

    The IIHS/HLDI also produces a separate set of statistics for driver death rates. It can be found on the same site.

    "*Another good example of the paradox between the IIHS and HLDI is the Toyota Tundra. Toyota ads claim it to be the best scorer from the IIHS, but the HLDI (which is funded by the IIHS) has it near the bottom for injury."

    This is no paradox, and is exactly what I explained above. The HLDI statistics have a large component of driver profile in them which cannot be separated from any component of crashworthiness. The IIHS offset crash test has no component of driver profile. In many classes of vehicles, it is possible for a safety conscious consumer to find one or more models that received top or above average ratings in all the NHTSA/IIHS/HLDI results.

    The Tundra IS a rarity in another regard. It is one of the few vehicles that did well in the IIHS Offset crash test, but had mediocre NHTSA frontal crash test results.

    It is a real challenge for automakers to optimize a design to do well in a full width frontal crash test and an offset frontal crash. Fortunately, in the last few years many more vehicles have accomplished this. Consumer Reports had a very good article on crash testing in their April, 2002 issue.

    "*One thing that always comes to my mind when I see the tests (IIHS), is that should I ever be in that situation, I would think I would..."

    The problem is that you often have no time to react, and you may react differently than you expected. No one thinks they will ever be in a serious crash. Many people think they can avoid one altogether with driving skill. The IIHS test reflects the end result a relatively common type of crash, and one they believe is among the most severe. More background can be found at the IIHS site and in the CR article I mentioned.

    "*And keep in mind all these tests concern mostly the driver. At 6'4" and 310 lbs, I believe the current crash dummies do not reflect what might happen to me."

    True. Heavier occupants may do worse that what the crash test dummies indicate. This is perhaps even more reason to find a vehicle where an average dummy did above average in crash testing.

    "*So my feelings have been, choose the vehicle that best meets your needs and has features you desire, if if two are close then think about reputation and safety."

    We all select the vehicles that meet our own criteria the best. For me, safety was at the top of the list. We bought a minivan to transport our entire family, and so I tried to find one that did well in all available safety data and had a wide array of advanced safety features. Convenience and budget were secondary factors. Reliability, reputation and luxury features were essentially non-factors for us.

    Even in regard to safety, the choices aren't constant. For someone who only uses a car to commute and never has passengers, the passenger crash test results are meaningless. A family of 4 who bought a minivan to haul supplies and cargo, and rarely has 3rd row passengers is not going to be concerned with the lack of a headrest or shoulder belt in the rear-center seat, or the small risk from a rear impact to adults in the 3rd row. Someone who has to do serious towing or offroading is probably going to have to buy a truck-based vehicle, despite rollover and other safety liabilities.

    Even in these scenarios, the crash tests are important if only indirectly. Hopefully, 10 years from now almost all vehicles would get top ratings in current crash tests. This has already happened for many vehicles in the NHTSA frontal tests, and most vehicles are doing much better in the IIHS tests, too. Safety marketing is getting more powerful, and people are voting with their pocketbooks, especially on family haulers. This is good news for future products, and good news for those who do look at all the comparative safety data before they purchase a vehicle. Fortunately, car-based minivans are among the safest classes of vehicles on the road. And while there are differences among them, they are almost all pretty reasonable choices in regard to overall safety.

    Have a safe new year, all!
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    excellent safety-related posts!

    caviller, can you remind us which minivan you bought? I can't recall.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    We bought it in late 2000. We were about to get a Windstar, but no one stocked LX/SE models with the Family Security Group and Side Airbags. We could have special ordered one but that meant losing the rebates and waiting 6-10 weeks. At that point, the Windstar was no less expensive or quicker to get than an Odyssey. We also looked at Sienna, but the rear seat was just too small and too hard to access for elderly relatives who ride with us now and then...
  • I've been thinking about pluto5's comments about having 3 car seats across in a Impala (#99). Besides being able to have someone else in the car, what are the relative merits of a minivan vs a large station wagon?

    Width requirement is being able to have two rear-facing car seats for newborns and one forward facing car seat (soon to be a booster seat). Obviously safety is a big concern, both in terms of LATCH availability and side impact.

    From a convenience standpoint, in a station wagon you have all three kids within reach of the front passenger (and realistically, driver) seat. And much greater trunkspace for hauling gear.

    I guess there is the question of growing into the car. How long will a station wagon accommodate the passengers as they have books and toys and things....?

    A question for those minivan-owning parents of kids 3 and under: where do you put the kids? In the third or second row? Is it a hassle getting them in and out of the third row? Is it a problem not being able to reach them from the front seats?

    I apologize if this is more of a parenting than a car question, but it's all part of my decision making process for selecting our next vehicle.
  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    You might get some further insight on 3rd row seats by looking at the thread on that subject on the SUV board. Apparently there is a lot of concern about 3rd row seat safety among owners of the mid-size SUVs.
  • cmkmcmkm Posts: 3
    I've been searching around without much success - does anyone know when GM will be coming out with a new generation of mini-vans? I'd love to see a new version which also resolves the crash testing issues.
  • tastetaste Posts: 37
    I am the current owner of a 9-5 Saab and can add some comments. BTW my lease comes due in June and I will probably buy a Pilot, G35, or Allroad Audi.

    PROs:
    *car drive (mini's are clumsy in comparison)
    *good gas mileage
    *very nice power
    *no cornering roll (compared to SUV or Mini)
    *Convenient space (indv seat fold down)

    CONs
    *Less space in general than Mini
    *More difficult to maneuver (nothing beats a Mini to move kids around)
    *Storage space for family travels is far superior
    *More kid features (DVD, cup holders, etc...) this is a BIG plus
    *Getting in and out is SO MUCH EASIER when picking up kids and retrieving kids from their seats. At 6'2" this is a BIG back saver and my preggers wife likes it too.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,259
    Here's the 3rd row seat link:

    Popular Third-row Car Seats May Kill Your Kids?

    I haven't heard anything about upcoming changes for the GM Triplets. Anyone?

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    No offense but the Saab is a mid-size car and is pricey.

    Another question to ponder is whether you will be hauling other people's kids around. If it's just your 2-3 you may not need a minivan.
  • tastetaste Posts: 37
    read my earlier post which states it is a mid-size WAGON... I do however agree that it is pricey (though less than an Audi, Bimmer & Mercedes equivalent)

    I may purchase another wagon but there is no comparison between a wagon and a Mini for convenience as a people mover. It probably is more of a question of are you comfortable driving a mini (my sister in-law will NEVER own a Mini because of its rep so they drive a Sport Brute). If you are wavering a Wagon might be a nice transition vehicle for you; which is what our Wagon was for us for our first born. With the second one due in March it was time for a Mini.
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    When driving both kids, the minivan is almost always the easy choice. There is no question when we have a grandparent along, too. Loading and unloading is so much easier with the wide doors and the step-through to the second row. With the third row folded flat, there is a huge space remaining for cargo. Even with the third row in use, it isn't too much less space than our Outback. Taking an extended weekend trip with all our typical stuff would be almost impossible in the Outback, and that's just with two kids.

    While you can fit 3 carseats across in some wagons and sedans, you may not always be able to do this, or want to do this. Fitting 3 across often requires careful selection of carseats to actually fit in the given space, especially in a mid-size vehicle. If LATCH is important to you, most vehicles do no have 3 sets of LATCH in one bench (The Impala is one exception to this). Plus, at least with our two kids, I wouldn't want them within reach of each other; too much of a distraction....

    Safety is another consideration. The additional mass of a minivan is a significant advantage in a frontal crash. While minivans don't handle quite as well as most family sedans or wagons, they are significantly better than many large SUVs and still retain the crushable unibody frame of a car.

    As for seating positions, the center of the third row seat is probably safer overall for a child in a harnessed carseat than is an outboard spot in the second row of a sedan, minivan or wagon. The safest spot to put each specific child depends on their age, weight and type of carseat. The general rule-of-thumb is to put the most protected child in the least protected seating position. Rear-facing harnessed carseats provide the most protection, followed by front-facing harnessed models, followed by boosters. So, we would opt to keep older kids in the center positions when possible. If you have specific carseat questions off-topic to this forum, also feel free to visit http://www.car-seat.org .

    In a minivan, it is going to be harder to hand something to a kid in the third row. On the other hand, if you are at a safe place to do so, it is *much* easier in many minivans to simply walk to the back rows without getting out of the vehicle. This of course does depend on the seating configuration and on whether or not the manufacturer put anything immovable between the front buckets...
  • bluedevilsbluedevils Posts: 2,554
    We have one toddler and occasionally transport our 2 1/2 year old niece too. We put them in the 2 2nd row captain's chairs in our Kia Sedona. Our little girl rides on the passenger side (easier to keep an eye on her) and our niece rides on the driver's side.

    Seems to me that putting car seats in the 3rd row would be much less convenient than in the 2nd row. In 2nd row, you just slide the side door open, reach in, and grab the kid out of the seat. In the 3rd row, you need to climb back there, remove the kid, then carry the kid out of the vehicle or coax the kid to come out on his/her own.
  • Still thinking about the 3 kid car seat configurations, I was at the Washington DC car show this week and got to crawl around a bunch of minivans, SUVs, wagons, sedans, (and the occasional Roadster... a guy can dream).

    For a three across in a second row, I agree that a lot of rulers will be involved. But on first investigation, it looks like there are three possibilities:
    1) Large car, like the Chrysler 300 or Impala.
    2) Wide station wagon. Looks like European are the wide ones: Saab, Volvo.
    3) Mini SUV.

    The MiniSUV was my surprise. My wife and I have been morally opposed to SUV's for years (mainly on environmental grounds) and there may be a lot of crow to eat if this is what we wind up with, but my logic went something like this: width requirement is met with station wagon but getting the center kid in and out will be hard. Increased ceiling height could help. SUV's are too big. Then I saw the Mitsubishi Outlander and the Saturn VUE. Both seem to be genuine possibilities. I hear that Acura has an ultralow emissions mini SUV, so I'll look into that too.

    The minivans are still a strong contender given the above "people moving" capabilities and the "Dad-he's-touching-me" space issues of three kids in a back seat for an extended period of time. I need to think about how long we'll hold the car for.
  • Caviller: How is it that in your minivan "even with the third row in use, it isn't too much less space than our Outback" (#124)? The minivan's I've seen have about a foot of trunk space behind the third row seats and the Outback's trunk is more than three times the length. Can you make up for it in stacking your gear?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,259
    I've always leaned a bit more to minivans too, but some of the mini-suvs get as good or better gas mileage as the MV's and many even have lower emissions. Guess that's one of the dangers of going to car shows eh?

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • pluto5pluto5 Posts: 618
    I did not have high regard for any of these as family haulers cause second seat is too close to rear hatch--these vehicles are shorter than large sedan overall--and back seats are a joke IMO: backseat of Vue is about as comfortable as a lawn chair--so thinly padded your butt can feel the metal underneath!
  • cavillercaviller Posts: 331
    The cargo space in the Odyssey with the 3rd row in use is bigger than most other minivans. It's less than the Outback, but enough for a run of groceries and many other duties. I suppose it comes down to the semantics of how you define, "Too much less."

    The Acura MDX and Honda Pilot are very nice SUVs. Both are based on a car chassis, and have the same extra-wide track of the Odyssey for better rollover stability. You're still not going to get the people carrying convenience of a minivan, of course. Also, I doubt any mid-size or small SUV has the seating width of a full size sedan like a Pontiac Bonneville, Ford Crown Vic, Chrysler 300, or Dodge Intrepid, though some of the midsize SUVs do have a small third row of seating. Finally, I suspect the Taurus wagon is at least as wide as Saab, Volvo or VW, if not wider... Taurus may be the roomiest of all the wagons.

    I've had to try to squeeze 3 across in a number of midsize vehicles, and it is rarely fun. If you know the need for 3 across carseats before buying a 2-row vehicle, don't make compromises on seating width. Even an extra inch in width can make a huge difference:-)

    Good luck!
  • Does anyone have any information on the 2004 Oddyssey? We are trying to decide whether to buy a 03 Pilot or wait for the 04 Oddy. We have a 00 Oddy that we just love, but are considering a change. I assume there will be some significant changes since the current body style is now five years old and Honda usually makes changes at this interval.

    Thanks!
  • fdrekfdrek Posts: 7
    2000, i am buying one of the 2, both with 30,000 miles. Ventura is loaded, grand voyager is not. Both original owner. Venutra is $13,000, Voy is $12,000 any suggestions, help from a confused buyer
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