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The Safest Minivans of 2022 For Your Family

7 minute read

By Lesley Harrison

If you’re considering buying a minivan for your family, it makes sense to look closely at the safety features. This is particularly true if you’ll be making long journeys or driving at night. Today’s minivans have many extra safety features, such as lane departure warnings and blind-spot detection, making them an attractive choice for safety-conscious drivers.

Here, we look at some of the top-rated 2022 minivans in terms of safety performance and features. These ratings are based on crash tests from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute. The IIHS / HLDI gathers extensive test data for cars, vans and other vehicles every year to help motorists make informed safety choices.

Minivans vs. SUVs

Minivans and SUVs are both appealing choices for active families. SUVs tend to be bigger than minivans and have more ground clearance. This makes them “feel safer” to some people. However, the extra height means an SUV may be more likely to roll over in an accident. Minivans have a lower center of gravity and handle more like a truck. They’re more stable, but their handling can be poor in adverse weather conditions. When you’re deciding what to buy, consider the type of roads you’ll do most of your driving on and what sort of handling you’re most comfortable with.


Safety Features to Look For in Minivans

Modern vehicles have some impressive safety features that would have been the stuff of science fiction even a couple of decades ago. Look for features such as Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) and Blind Spot Warning (BSW).

FCW detects if there’s an object immediately in the vehicle’s path. AEB performs an emergency stop to prevent an imminent collision, and BSW monitors the sides of the vehicle, reducing the risk of a driver accidentally colliding with an overtaking motorcyclist or anything else nearby. These features, along with traditional safety features such as anti-lock braking systems, make it easier to stay safe on the roads.


Top-Rated Minivans for Safety

Here, we’ve compiled a list of the highest-rated minivans according to IIHS / HLDI. This list covers minivans released in 2022 or the second half of 2021. All vehicles in this list score “Good” in at least five key safety categories. Note these ratings apply only to the newest models. Older models may be designed differently or have different features.

In some cases, features such as Automatic Emergency Braking are optional extras. We highlight this issue, where applicable. However, all of the minivans on this list are good for someone who wants to feel safe on the roads.


1. Toyota Sienna

The Toyota Sienna starts at $34,560 and is rated highly in terms of structural crash protection, headrests, seats, headlights and crash prevention systems. The standard vehicle-to-vehicle crash prevention system is highly rated, and the vehicle-to pedestrian system scores well. Buyers with small children will be pleased to note that the child seat anchors are highly rated for both safety and ease of use.

These strong safety ratings apply to both the 2021 and 2022 models of the Toyota Sienna. Older models use a different bodywork design, so they may score differently in terms of their overall crashworthiness.

Source: Toyota

2. Honda Odyssey

With prices starting from $33,040, the Honda Odyssey is surprisingly affordable. It offers 19MPG in cities and 28MPG on highways and scores well in all structural crashworthiness tests too. The crash prevention systems for both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian are both rated superb, with the Honda Odyssey outperforming the Toyota Sienna in vehicle-to-pedestrian tests.

The child seat anchors are rated highly for safety and ease of use. The one letdown is the headlights, which are rated ‘acceptable’ because the high beams offer limited visibility on curves. However, it’s important to note that ‘acceptable’ is still a good rating, and the beams meet legal safety requirements.

Source: Honda

3. Chrysler Pacifica

The Chrysler Pacifica has an MSRP of $37,095 for the basic version. Chrysler claims the Pacifica offers a choice of 115 safety features, including collision warnings, cruise control and vehicle-to-passenger collision avoidance as standard. Chrysler redesigned the body of the Pacifica in 2016 to improve its performance in some crashworthiness tests, so any version built after that year should offer good driver safety in that respect.

The IIHS / HLDI has not tested the electronic driver safety aids of the Pacifica. However, the list of standard and optional aids available is impressive, and those looking for lane assist, parking sensors and wide beam headlights may find the higher-end trims of the Pacifica appealing.

Source: Chrysler

4. Chrysler Voyager

Another strong showing from Chrysler is the Voyager model. The revamped Voyager is pitched as a more budget version of the Pacifica, with a basic retail price of $32,115. The 2022 model is fleet-only, but 2021 models should be available on the used market. The Voyager scores well for crashworthiness but is let down by the headlights which are rated poor both on high and low beams.

Fortunately, upgrading the headlights would be a relatively minor affair. In terms of general bodywork, the Voyager performs well. Driver assists vary depending on the year and trim, so, unfortunately, these were not tested.

Source: Chrysler

5. Kia Carnival

The Kia Carnival has a starting price of $32,300, and both the 2021 and 2022 models are highly rated for safety. In terms of crashworthiness, all elements of the car are rated “Good.” The collision prevention sensors are both rated superb. The higher-end versions of the carnival have good headlights, but the more basic ones are let down in this area. However, even the basic trims come with some solid driver-assist features and features to make the riding experience smoother for the whole family.

This family focus makes the Kia Carnival a good choice for people looking for a hassle-free driving experience combined with space and comfort for the whole family. This model offers a compromise between a minivan and an SUV, being safe and easy even for less confident drivers.

Source: Kia

Don’t Neglect the Basics

The vehicles listed above went through tests that cover the body, seats, seatbelts, headrests, headlights and standard electronic driver aids. These are all important features. When you’re shopping for a vehicle, it’s easy to overlook things like the headlights in favor of looking for driver aids.

However, if you’re likely to need to drive in poor weather or late at night, especially off road or in rural areas, you’ll be glad of a wider beam and lights that offer minimal glare. If you’re considering having aftermarket headlights installed, make sure you confirm that they’re fully road legal.


Not All Trims Have the Same Safety Features

As we mentioned earlier, it’s common for more sophisticated features such as lane assist, blind-spot detection and adaptive cruise control to be optional extras. Many motoring magazines and websites will still cover these features in their reviews, so make sure you know what you’re getting at the trim level that you select.

However, don’t feel compelled to pay extra for electronic assists if you can’t afford them. Improvements in general handling, performance and bodywork quality mean that even the most basic models today are far safer than vehicles built 15 or 20 years ago, and general maintenance such as keeping your tires balanced and with the proper level of tread can work wonders for handling.


It Pays to Learn Defensive Driving

Systems such as AEB and BSW are a useful last line of defense; however, they’re not infallible. It’s important to learn good defensive driving skills. Don’t let the presence of collision detection systems lull you into a false sense of security. Remember, other motorists may be in older vehicles with more limited features or longer stopping distances.

Always check your mirrors before changing lanes or slowing down. Watch the road in front of you and try to anticipate what other drivers may do. Be on the lookout for children, animals or other potential hazards, especially on narrow lanes or country roads. Defensive driving saves lives.


Older Minivans Can Still Be Safe

We’ve focused on the 2022 models in this list. However, the manufacturers we’ve included have a good reputation for safety, and that should be reflected even in slightly older models. While you may not get the latest and greatest electronic driving aids, you can still count on those manufacturers to make structurally sound vehicles that offer good crash protection. You can look at historical safety data to get an idea of the differences between specific years.

The key takeaway, however, is that if you’re on a budget, you don’t have to worry about sacrificing safety to buy used. There are still good used minivans on the market.


Lesley Harrison


Lesley Harrison is a technical writer and open source software enthusiast with a passion for all things "data". In her spare time she coaches youth sports and loves exploring the English countryside.



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