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Insurance group gives top safety ratings to five minivans

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An insurance industry trade group has given top safety ratings to five minivans but said two others were not as good.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2012 Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan and Volkswagen Routan — which all share a common structure — and the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna vans its “Top Safety Pick” ranking following evaluations for rollover protection.

To win the ranking, the vehicles go through tests and must have the highest rating of good for frontal, side, rollover and rear crash protection.

The trade group said that two other minivans, the Kia Sedona and the Nissan Quest, “fall short on rollover protection, with the Sedona receiving the lowest rating of poor and the Quest ranking as acceptable."

"Safety-conscious parents shopping for a family hauler should be pleased with today's minivan choices," says David Zuby, the institute's chief research officer. "At the same time, the ratings show that major differences remain in this segment when it comes to protection in a rollover crash."

In 2009, more than 8,000 people were killed in rollover crashes in the United States, according to the insurance group.  That number has fallen as more vehicles have come equipped with electronic stability control, which helps prevent rollovers.  As of the 2012 model year, all new vehicles must be equipped with electronic stability control and anti-lock brake systems.

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Detroit automakers still struggle to win California sales

-- Jerry Hirsch

Twitter.com/LATimesJerry

Photo: Volkswagen Routan minivan. Credit: Volkswagen

 
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