Arlington, Virginia — September 26, 2016 — The US-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has recently named three new vehicles to its Top Safety Pick+ list. The three vehicles are the 2017 Chevrolet Volt, the 2017 Cadillac XT5 and the newly introduced Chrysler Pacifica.
The Pacifica is the first minivan to earn a 2016 Top Safety Pick+ award. The minivan, which replaces the Chrysler Town & Country, has good ratings in the Institute’s five crashworthiness tests. However, its good rating in the small overlap front test applies only to Pacificas manufactured after August 2016, when changes were made to prevent the driver’s door from opening during a small overlap crash.
In the Pacifica’s initial small overlap test, before those improvements were made, the door was torn from its hinges and came open at the front.
Fiat Chrysler strengthened the upper hinge and reinforced the joint between the door hinge pillar and inner body panel in front of the pillar. In the second test, the door remained attached and closed, resulting in a good rating.
In contrast, a statement from IIHS says the Town & Country was rated poor for small overlap protection, due to severe intrusion into the driver space.
To qualify as a 2016 Top Safety Pick, vehicles must earn good ratings in five crashworthiness tests: small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints — as well as a basic rating for front crash prevention to qualify as Top Safety Picks. Earning a Top Safety Pick+ means the vehicle must, in addition to those qualifications, earn an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention.