Sienna - Passenger Safety Issue

siennathinkingsiennathinking Member Posts: 3
edited September 2014 in Toyota
After weeks of research and test drives, I was planning to buy the Sienna. Then I came across a government safety report, which gives the Sienna just a 2-star safety rating for front collision on the passenger side. According to Consumer Reports this means "Severe or fatal injury highly likely." The driver's side gets a 5-star rating ("No injury or minor injury likely"). The Honda Odyssey gets 5-stars for both driver and passenger in a front end collision. See link to report here: - es/Vehicle-Detail?vehicleId=461

I have not seen this any reviews. Is anyone else concerned about this?


  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    That's odd, because IIHS named it a top safety pick:

    IIHS does a higher speed crash test, too, and offset. NHTSA's is slower but direct head-on, which is less likely in the real world.
  • siennathinkingsiennathinking Member Posts: 3
    Take a closer look at the IIHS crash test. There is no direct frontal impact to the passenger side whatsoever in this test, so of course the passenger did well. This test is also conducted by Toyota itself according to the link you pointed me to.

    It amazes me that the Sienna earns a 5-star overall safety rating by NHTSA, which has determined that the passenger is highly likely to be seriously injured in a frontal collision. Very misleading for consumers.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Member Posts: 72,587
    They measure intrusion for the driver, who is closest to the barrier. There's also the pedals and steering wheel to contend with. The passenger is farther away and given the passenger cell stayed intact you'd be fine sitting there.

    Lemme see if I can find it on video for you... eo.htm

    Hmm, only has the 04-10 model. though that one does well. As you can see the tests are done in an IIHS lab. In fact if you watch the video at the intro you see it's the same location for other brands' crash tests.

    Back to the NHTSA tests, I found a good video of that:

    Weird, wonder why it got 2 stars? The passenger compartment seems fairly intact, were the legs injured or something? The driver and passenger seem to fare about evenly, yet the driver gets 5 stars and the passenger just 2.

    What gives? :confuse:
  • indyguy5indyguy5 Member Posts: 2
    edited March 2011
    I've been in the market for a minivan as well and thought the 2011 Sienna would be a good option for us since it has an AWD version. I was dissapointed when I saw it had a low frontal crash test rating, especially for the front passenger. I contacted several area Toyota dealerships and none of them seemed to know why the rating was so low and pitched "its a top saftey pick". I also contacted IIHS and got a bolierplate response with no real specificts to the vehicle. Personally, without knowing any other facts about the test, buying it would be a known risk. I'm also perplexed why it is a top saftey pick especially considering the Odyssey has 5 star ratings and just as much, if not more, saftey options. This seems very misleading to buyers. Personally, I'm opting for the 2011 Odyssey. From my research, it costs slightly more than the Sienna but saftey is my main concern.
  • pact95pact95 Member Posts: 2
    I wanted to provide some information I received from the NHTSA on the crash test of the Sienna, with some comparison to the Honda. Hopefully this helps people with their decisions.

    The Toyota Sienna received a 2-star rating for the right front passenger while the Honda Odyssey received a 5-star. This rating is based purely on injury readings from the dummies which are converted into a percent change of serious injury to a similarly-sized and positioned occupant in a similar crash. The two right front passengers experienced the following percent chances of injury:

    Sienna Odyssey
    HEAD 6.65% 0.15%
    NECK 14.16% 7.23%
    CHEST 8.33% 0.26%
    FEMUR 2.56% 2.47%

    As you can see, the Sienna’s right front passenger experienced a significantly higher risk of injury to her head, neck, and chest than the passenger in the Odyssey did. While it is essential to examine aspects of the vehicle structure like you have below, the most crucial component in understanding why these vehicles performed differently in the full-width frontal barrier test also requires an examination of their airbags and seat belts, commonly referred to as the “restraint system.” The restraint system in the Odyssey allowed for its right front occupant to manage crash forces much more successfully than the system in the Sienna. The details of how or why one system is more successful at this than another is a question better posed to the individual vehicle manufacturers, as NHTSA is not intimate with the specifics of how each manufacturer designs their systems.

    I have addressed your specific questions below:
    Similarities in the reporting:
    · - The cars had same model crash test dummies
    Response: Correct.

    · - Both underwent the same impact speed and obstacle
    Response: Correct. It is also of note that the Sienna was 95 kg heavier than the Odyssey was. Because the Sienna was more massive, it required its occupant to manage more crash forces than the Odyssey.

    · - The rebound of the car off the wall appears to be remarkably similar. All measurement points appear close to 100mm off. I would have to imagine that this is a very small amount difference. Additionally, it would appear that the Honda rebounded further. Would that not indicate more force on the items within the vehicle?
    Response: In actually, 100mm is a noticeable difference in front-end crush (the range of total front-end crush for the entire fleet is well under 1000mm, including small cars, large sedans, pickup trucks, etc). The differences between these two were not actually 100mm, and averaged nearly 59mm across the front end.

    Sienna Odyssey Difference
    C1 346 393 47
    C2 479 490 11
    C3 471 536 65
    C4 472 541 69
    C5 524 512 -12
    C6 252 423 171
    AVE 424 482.5 58.5

    Though vehicle acceleration data was lost for the 2011 Sienna, typically the two vehicles do have similar deceleration profiles. I reviewed the rebound footage in both tests and agree with your first observation that they were similar. Overall, the Odyssey experienced more crush and therefore absorbed more energy across its front end. However, as I have indicated above, the vehicles differed slightly with respect to test weight, and examining the front-end structure only gives part of the story when examining how the crash forces are experienced, and subsequently managed, by the occupants inside.

    · - Vehicle profile measurements appear again to be fairly similar. The measurements seem to indicate the car absorbed roughly the same impact and crumple zones absorbed the impact in a similar manner in measurement.

    · - The “CRUSH PROFILE” appears to be very similar data as well, supporting the statement in the bullet above. I do see that on the Toyota row “L” totals “C1 to C6” and shows a number that clearly adds the cells above where the Honda in the same cells totals some number that is not equal to the cells above. Hopefully this number is not necessary for a crash test result.
    Response: The crush profile is not used in the star rating. Again, as I stated previously, crush and front end response is not the entire story in determining an occupant’s chance of injury. “L” is a measure of the front end width of the vehicle before and after the crash, not the addition of C1 to C6, and is also not necessary for the star rating.

    · - It appears that the passenger side floorboard data shows the Toyota to me more structurally sound.
    Response: Floorboard data could have an effect on foot and lower leg accelerations; however, neither of these are reflected in our star ratings. As an aside, the level of floorpan intrusion at the passenger’s position in both vehicles is very similar and also negligible.

    Differences in the reporting:

    · - The occupant summary is confusing to me. It almost seems as though the numbers in some of the table data are calculated completely different between the two tests. This would be page 1-1 in Toyota review and page 2 in Honda review. If the numbers take the same inputs and use the same algorithms, I would expect the numbers to be closer, maybe off by some magnitude. These are off by some magnitude and then compounded by the sign, they seem worlds apart.
    Response: What you are seeing in terms of injury readings in each test is indeed accurate. I have converted them to their corresponding percent chance of injury in the chart above so you may see how they differ. In all cases, positive or negative, the larger the number, the higher the injury reading (so, larger is worse). The Sienna’s injury readings were significantly poorer than the Odyssey’s. The sign convention for neck compression, chest displacement and femur readings should be negative since they are compression-related injuries (it is understood that they are negative). The sign is often times implied. We apologize for the confusion.

    · - Page 2-2 of the report shows no knee airbag installed in the Toyota Sienna yet on page 2-17 shows both airbags exist in table “TEST DUMMY INFORMATION AND CONTACT” and again shows no airbag in table “SUPPLIMENTAL RESTRAINT SYSTEM INFORMATION”. I am confused about whether this vehicle in the test had/didn’t have a knee airbag for the passenger. Since I own one, I suspect it didn’t as mine does n
  • pact95pact95 Member Posts: 2
    I saw that some of my information had been truncated. I wanted to provide the remaining...

    · - Page 2-2 of the report shows no knee airbag installed in the Toyota Sienna yet on page 2-17 shows both airbags exist in table “TEST DUMMY INFORMATION AND CONTACT” and again shows no airbag in table “SUPPLIMENTAL RESTRAINT SYSTEM INFORMATION”. I am confused about whether this vehicle in the test had/didn’t have a knee airbag for the passenger. Since I own one, I suspect it didn’t as mine does not. There appears to be a flaw in your report though.
    Response: The passenger dummy did not have a knee airbag, but the driver did. I will alert the proper personnel of the error in the report.

    · - Was trying to compare the seat angle and position. In both reports, it is hard to grasp the angle of the passenger seat and the position within the car. I see reference to detents, what are these? Can I get further clarification on this data?
    Response: The seat angle and the subsequent position of the occupant with respect to the airbag dependents largely on the seat’s range of adjustment as designed by its manufacturer. “Detents” refer to the positioning and adjustment “notches” each seat is designed with by its manufacturer. Our program uses the seating procedure from FMVSS No. 208 to position the seats and the dummies. That procedure can be found here:

    You’ll specifically want to examine the procedure for a Hybrid III 50th male in the driver’s seat and a Hybrid III 5th female in the right front passenger’s seat.

    Thanks to all. Hopefully this helps some people gain clarity.
  • indyguy5indyguy5 Member Posts: 2
    Good information, breaks it down to more usable percentages. We bought the Odyssey yesterday. It think it was the right choice for us. We also considered the Quest since it seems very competative but didn't have ratings out for it.
  • siennathinkingsiennathinking Member Posts: 3
    edited April 2011
    Interesting... it appears that the NHTSA has just lowered the 2011 Sienna's overall rating from 5 to now 4 stars. Seems like a fairer rating given the very low passenger safety score. es/Vehicle-Detail?vehicleId=461
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