Safest 2016 Family Vehicles with Three Rows of Seating
Are safety and seating more than a couple kids your top considerations in selecting a new vehicle? You aren’t alone! Last year’s winner, the 2014-2015 Acura MDX, is still a contender to retain its title for 2016.
For 2016, the IIHS now requires a “Good” result in the newer small overlap crash test to qualify for a Top Safety Pick rating. An “Acceptable” rating no longer qualifies. The IIHS also requires a front crash prevention system. These systems are not all created equal, some are only basic warnings that qualify for the basic TSP award, while advanced ones can actually brake in emergency situations and possibly avoid a crash better than lesser systems. To earn the “TSP+” award, an auto-brake system with an “Advanced” or “Superior” rating is now required.
There are plenty of very safe vehicles. Most midsize crossover SUVs and minivans provide excellent protection for occupants, likely better than anything on the road 15 years ago. Side curtain airbags and stability control are now standard features. In addition to frontal crash protection systems, advanced safety features like emergency crash notification, lane departure warning, cross traffic warning and blind spot warning systems are becoming more common on non-luxury models.
So how do we filter the list of so many family vehicles that have earned safety awards? It’s pretty easy:
- Must be an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ for 2015 or 2016
- Must have an NHTSA 5-star overall rating
- No individual NHTSA crash test results of 3-stars or less
- Must have at least 6 passenger seats
What vehicles make the cut? At the time of this writing, it’s a pretty exclusive list. Two minivans from last year, the Honda Odyssey and Kia Sedona, no longer qualify as they did not achieve a Top Safety Pick+ rating for 2015 or 2016. Shame on these manufacturers for choosing not to provide even an optional advanced front crash prevention system on these popular family vehicles. A promising new contender, the 2016 Volvo XC90, remains untested by the NHTSA and does not yet make the cut. The 2016 qualifiers:
- 2014-2016 Acura MDX
- 2014-2016 Mitsubishi Outlander
- 2016 Honda Pilot
- 2014-2015 Toyota Highlander*
- 2015 Toyota Sienna*
*Not a Top Safety Pick+ for 2016 model
And the Safest 2016 3-row Family Vehicle is: