Honda Motor Co.’s Odyssey minivan is the first in its class to receive the highest safety rating in new U.S. insurance-industry crash tests, reflecting the automaker’s move to redesign the vehicle.
The U.S.’s best-selling minivan received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s top-safety-pick-plus designation for scoring “good” on a test designed to simulate one of the deadliest types of front-end collisions.
Honda, based in Tokyo, requested an early evaluation of its 2014 Odyssey, which it modified with the intent of passing the so-called small-overlap test. An earlier Odyssey model fared poorly in that test when it was being developed by the insurance group.
“Safety is high on the list for parents when it comes to shopping for a family vehicle,” Adrian Lund, president of the insurance group based in Arlington, Virginia, said in an e-mailed statement. “Consumers look for models with the highest safety ratings. Honda is ahead of many of its competitors in building state-of-the-art crashworthiness into its vehicles.”
The insurance institute’s test simulates a vehicle’s front corner colliding with a car, tree or pole. It’s tougher than U.S. auto-safety regulators’ crash tests that are used to rate vehicles on a five-star system.
The institute has tested sport-utility vehicles and small-and medium-sized sedans in the past year. Many have scored poorly; among small SUVs, for instance, 11 of 13 models scored “poor” or “marginal.” It said it plans to test other minivans.