Minivans

Chrysler's Pacifica is the only minivan to earn IIHS Top Safety Pick+

After a dismal initial showing, the world's newest minivan got its act together and cleaned up nicely.

The small overlap test is one of the IIHS' newest tests, and thus, cars that have been on sale for a while are largely unequipped to handle it.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

After the latest round of testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Chrysler Pacifica appears to be living up to its potential.

As the newest minivan on the market, we expected the Chrysler to have some of the highest safety ratings of its segment. And sure enough, it picked up Top Safety Pick+ honors, the highest the organization bestows.

That means it holds up in all manner of accidents and carries a proper autonomous emergency braking system. In IIHS testing, the Pacifica's AEB avoided collisions at both 12 and 25 mph.

But there's a catch -- the accolades only apply to Pacificas manufactured after August 2016. Before that, a small overlap crash could cause the driver door to swing open, which is a big ol' no-no, since that's how people get ejected from cars. Chrysler has since updated the door hinges and nearby body panels to prevent that from happening.

Either way, it's better than the van it replaces, the Town & Country. The T&C was rated "Poor" for the IIHS small-overlap crash test, based on "severe intrusion into the driver space." The van was engineered well before this test was built, but nevertheless, it's good to see its successor picking up the slack.