2011 Honda Odyssey EXEnlarge Photo
Although the Odyssey had already earned top 'good' ratings from the IIHS, the Institute only recently tested the model in its new roof strength test—now a prerequisite for Top Safety Pick status. In that test, the Odyssey's roof withstood more than five times the van's weight—the best performance yet and one of the best ratings among all vehicles.
The Toyota Sienna is the only other Top Safety Pick among minivans, but with just three-star frontal results it doesn't do nearly as well as the Odyssey in the new, more stringent safety testing and rating system introduced this year. In those federal tests, the Odyssey gets top five-star ratings.
Also, minivans, along with larger luxury cars, are among the vehicles with the lowest rates of driver death. While that likely has something to do with their driver profiles, it also relates to occupant protection. Their centers of mass are lower, too, which typically makes them better-balanced in emergency maneuvers compared to higher utility vehicles. In our full review, we laud the Odyssey for its excellent steering and handling, and it is, in our opinion, the best-handling among larger vans.
Does that, and the Odyssey's top-notch safety ratings from both agencies, make it one of the safest vehicles on the market? Quite possibly.