The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that the Kia Sedona and Subaru Impreza were the best performers in this spring’s test of minivans and small cars. The Sedona is the first minivan to earn the Top Safety Pick award and the Impreza is only the second small car to earn the award.
While other minivans perform well in front and side crash tests, the Sedona is the first to achieve a satisfactory level of rear crash protection, reports Institute president Adrian Lund. Lund praised Kia for designing the seat and head restraints for protection in “the most common kinds of commuter traffic crashes.” The most common form of injury from rear impact crashes is whiplash, which costs insurance agencies about $8.5 billion a year for about 2 million claims.
The Institute also tested a hybrid car for the first time, the Toyota Prius. The Prius performed well in front crash testing. However, when it came to side crash testing, the presence of the optional side air bags made a world of difference. Without the airbags, the dummy’s head struck the car with a force that was likely to cause serious skull fracture and brain injuries. With the optional airbags, all injury measures were low. Optional side airbags also proved critical in the side impact crashes of the Dodge Grand Caravan, which had similar results.