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2014 Honda Odyssey Crash Tests Reveal Top Safety Pick Plus Rating

By: Jeff Youngs, 9/4/2013
For the 2014 model year, Honda has made significant changes to its Odyssey minivan, even if it looks much the same on the outside. A strengthened version of the van's Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure is among the modifications for the new model year, an important advance given that minivans regularly shuttle families, and the company has modified its air bag designs for better occupant protection.

So confident was Honda in the safety upgrades made by its engineers that the automaker asked the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to evaluate the 2014 Odyssey in the tough new small overlap frontal-impact assessment, an unusual move and one that requires the car company to pay vehicle reimbursement costs. Usually, the IIHS decides when it will test models, and buys the vehicles without automaker involvement. When the automaker requests testing, the IIHS buys the vehicles from a dealership and then the automaker pays for them.

Why would a car company spend money doing something like this? If the test goes well, the expense is well worth the marketing muscle behind a favorable safety rating, especially if the target audience is keenly interested in safety.

"Safety is high on the list for parents when it comes to shopping for a family vehicle," says Institute President Adrian Lund. "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."

As a result of this sequence of events, the 2014 Honda Odyssey is the first minivan to achieve a "Top Safety Pick Plus" rating, with a "Good" rating in all five individual crash-test assessments.

However, keep in mind that the IIHS has not evaluated any other minivans for their performance in the small overlap frontal-impact test, so this result does not necessarily mean that the Odyssey is the only vehicle in its class to achieve this level of safety. In previous testing, the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, and the Toyota Sienna were all named as "Top Safety Pick" models.

In addition to strengthening the Odyssey's structure and revising its air bags, Honda has updated the 2014 model with a standard expanded-view driver's side mirror, and offers wiper-linked headlights, LaneWatch blind-spot monitoring, a lane-departure warning system, and a forward-collision warning system.

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