Minivans are a popular automobile choice for families. They offer ample space for passengers and all of their gear. Whether you plan to drive soccer carpool or rideshare to work, the minivan is a versatile choice that provides a comfortable and safe ride. Multiple sliding doors, a large area for cargo, and plenty of seating enhance the appeal for many families. However, convenience and seating shouldn’t be the only factors in choosing one of these family vehicles.
Learn to Understand Safety Ratings
If you’re in the market for a new automobile for your family, one of your top priorities should be protecting the safety of your passengers. To this end, it’s important to understand the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety vehicle ratings. The IIHS completes testing and provides safety ratings for most cars, trucks, and vans on the market. Each vehicle tested earns ratings in several areas:
- Small overlap front crash test results
- Moderate overlap front crash test results
- Side crash test results
- Roof strength
- Head restraint
- Front crash prevention
- Child seat anchors (LATCH)
Vehicles earn Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor ratings. As you research the various minivans available, use the latest IIHS ratings for each vehicle to inform your decision.
Research Ratings With Online Resources
You can go directly to the IIHS website to research how well a vehicle performed in safety tests. You could also visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and their SaferCar.gov website or enter the make, model, and year of the vehicle, along with “crash-test rating,” into a search bar to gain valuable information. These last two steps are particularly useful if you’re considering the purchase of a used vehicle. Be aware that some cars aren’t tested repeatedly if the makeup of the vehicle doesn’t change. For example, the 2003 Honda Accord went several years without new testing.
Choose Vehicles With Safety Features
In addition to safety ratings, there are several features that positively impact safety while driving. For example, many drivers are familiar with rear park assist, but modern technology offers parents a lot of helpful systems:
- Front park assistance
- Reverse driving camera
- Forward-collision warning system
- Blind spot monitoring system
- Rear cross-traffic alert system
Parents often deal with many distractions while driving, so these features are valuable assets to any family vehicle. As you work to keep your family safe with a minivan, these safety systems become very important.
Consider Additional Helpful Features
The minivan was designed with safety and functionality in mind. For example, power sliding doors give parents control of the doors, reducing the number of little fingers that get smashed and preventing children from opening doors when it’s dangerous to do so. Built-in entertainment for the back seats and separate climate control areas are also great features. When children are comfortable and happy, they are less likely to struggle against car seats or fight with each other.
Children are the most important cargo you’ll carry in a minivan. Keep your family and your passengers safe at all times by researching safety ratings from various sources and learning to prioritize safety features. If you’re in the market for a family car that is spacious, safe, and fun to drive the minivan is a natural choice.