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2014 Honda Odyssey first minivan with Top Safety Pick+ rating

Honda boldly asked the IIHS to test its new van. It has now joined a very short list of vehicles that have earned the highest possible safety rating.

Honda’s new 2014 Odyssey van is the first vehicle in its class to pass the new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) small frontal overlap test. This is the new test by the institute that tests a vehicle’s ability to withstand the surprisingly deadly crash that can occur when two vehicles collide head-on, but only make contact with about a quarter of their front-ends, or if the vehicle hits a pole or other such object. Now that the 2014 Honda Odyssey has passed this test it has the highest possible safety rating available, the Top Safety Pick +, with the + indicating it passed the new test.

The Honda Odyssey becomes one of the first large vehicles to make the grade. Many were surprised when luxury models started to fail this test. Even some hot new entrants to the market like the new Toyota RAV 4 have not done well. In our recent overview of the test we make the case that buyers should only consider cars with this new highest level of safety. That is proving difficult for some, who are finding their favorite does poorly.

Honda made a gutsy move in this case and asked the institute to test the 2014 Odyssey to see if changes it had made to the vehicle’s structure improved its performance. Honda actually paid for the cost of the test vehicle, something that automakers do not normally do. This is the first “min-van” tested by the Institute for the small frontal overlap crash, and it set a very high bar for Honda’s competitors. The photo of the crash test shows just how severe this test is. The rear fenders are damaged in this frontal impact.

Honda’s boldness earned them a very valuable quotation from the Institute’s President Adrian Lund who said on the IIHS’s website "Safety is high on the list for parents when it comes to shopping for a family vehicle. 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 2014 Odyssey now joins 6 other Honda/Acura products that have earned the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick+ rating. The Odyssey has now been on sale at dealerships for about 5 weeks. For details on the new van, including one available option that some say really sucks, please see our previous report.