The 2014 Honda Odyssey received the top rating on a stringent new crash
test from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety today, giving the
updated minivan critical bragging rights with safety-oriented shoppers.
By Ben Klayman From ReutersDecember 20, 2013Toyota Motor Corp erased a
black mark on its reputation for quality on Thursday when Consumer
Reports restored a recommended rating for the flagship Camry sedan less
than two months after the influential magazine had pulled the rating due
to poor crash test results a year ago.
With its “good” rating on the so-called small overlap crash test, the
Odyssey becomes the only minivan to win Top Safety Pick honors from
IIHS, which shook up the industry last year when it started ranking
vehicles on how well they withstand a crash simulating what happens when
the left front corner of a vehicle strikes an object such as an oncoming
car, a tree or a pole.
The 2014 Camry was retested this month by the Insurance Institute for
Highway Safety and its rating raised from poor to acceptable in a
year-old IIHS test procedure.
The rating is the payoff for a major investment by Honda. The automaker
freshened the Odyssey for 2014 with a strengthened steel frame and more
robust airbags rather than waiting until the next redesign a few years
The group said the Camry was rated a top safety pick “after Toyota made
changes to the structure of the front end for 2014 models built after
November 1,” according to IIHS spokeswoman Kristin Nevels.
“Honda’s commitment to safety is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact
that we achieved this high standard in a midcycle refresh,” Art St. Cyr,
vice president of product planning and logistics at American Honda Motor
Co., said in a statement.
Consumer Reports said it was reinstating its recommended rating “based
on the Camry’s performance in the latest IIHS small frontal-overlap
test”. The procedure is designed to emulate a collision involving the
front corner of a vehicle and another vehicle or large object.
Honda now leads all automakers with six models to receive Top Safety
Pick plaudits. The others are the 2013 Civic sedan and coupe, the 2013
Accord sedan and coupe, the 2013 Acura TL.
In late October, the influential magazine said it would no longer
recommend the Camry, the Prius v hybrid or the RAV4 sport utility
vehicle because they received “poor” ratings last December in the IIHS
small frontal-overlap test.
Toyota asks for tests
Consumer Reports is one of the most widely trusted names for consumers
shopping for cars, and companies try to ensure their vehicles earn the
magazine’s coveted “recommended” rating.
The company’s engineering push began in earnest in 2009, when IIHS
released research showing that an outsized number of deaths in car
accidents were coming from these small overlap crashes.
The IIHS, a non-profit group funded by the insurance industry, last year
increased the rigor of its tests.
In these accidents, the crash energy goes around the steel structures
that crumple to cushion the blow of a crash. Airbags often do not
function as intended. That much was clear from the Odyssey, which had
its driver-side corner crumpled by the force of a crash test at the IIHS
laboratory here, as Automotive News reported this month.
Consumer Reports waited to adjust its buyer recommendations until it saw
how the entire industry was affected by the test.
Honda took admirable steps to deal with the shortfalls, said Joe Nolan,
vice president for vehicle research at IIHS.
The magazine does not recommend consumers buy a car that fares poorly in
any crash tests.
“They’ve addressed those issues,” Nolan said during an interview.
“They’ve deployed a really generous side-curtain airbag that will keep
the occupant’s head from going outside the car. They’ve resisted
intrusion with a really well-designed door frame.
Through the first 11 months, Camry was the best-selling passenger car in
the United States, with sales of 378,520.