Filed under: Minivan/Van , Safety , Videos , Chrysler , Dodge , Nissan , Toyota First introduced in 2012, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small-overlap frontal crash test has become the bane of many auto engineers’ existence. It’s a particularly steep design challenge because it forces just 25 percent of a vehicle’s front end to take the brunt of a 40-mile-per-hour impact. The newly released results of four family-minded minivans underscore just how difficult the crash test is: only one scored an Acceptable rating, and the other three did very poorly. The 2008-2015 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan , plus the 2011-2015 Nissan Quest , all received Poor ratings in the test, the IIHS’ lowest possible score. The three of them showed significant crash intrusion into the driver’s area. The dummy in the Nissan actually had to be cut out of the vehicle, with an IIHS spokesperson remarking, “the structure collapsed like a house of cards.” In the Fiat Chrysler Automobile vans, the steering wheels moved out of the way, making the airbag less effective and letting the driver’s head hit the dashboard. While it was not actually crashed, the agency is also giving the 2009-12 Volkswagen Routan a Poor score because it shares a structure with the FCA models. The newly released results of four minivans underscore just how difficult the small-offset crash test is. The refreshed 2015 Toyota Sienna (shown), conversely, earned an Acceptable rating and is also a Top Safety Pick+ because of its optional forward collision warning and automatic braking system. While the crash test dummy moved around during the impact more than the agency would have liked, sensors showed a low risk of injuries.
Filed under: Sedan , Truck , Government/Legal , Safety , Chevrolet , Dodge , Ford , Honda , Jeep , Nissan , Toyota No one wants to have their car stolen, but a new study by the National Insurance Crime Bureau has some bad news for older Honda owners and pickup drivers. Fortunately, it has better news for drivers overall. The group is reporting that according to preliminary data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, thefts were down 3.2 percent in 2013 (versus 2012) to fewer than 700,000 cars. That’s the lowest figure since 1967. That’s also less than half of the peak of over 1.66 million thefts in 1991. “The drop in thefts is good news for all of us,” says NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “But it still amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year.” Honda drivers might not find it such good news with older Accord and Civic models topping this year’s theft study. Toyota and Dodge can’t really celebrate, either, with two models each on the list, as well. Overall, this year’s list was split evenly between foreign and domestic models, which were mostly pickups. The 10 most likely vehicles to be stolen in 2013 were: Honda Accord – 53,995 Honda Civic – 45,001 Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) – 27,809 Ford Pickup (Full Size) – 26,494 Toyota Camry – 14,420 Dodge Pickup (Full Size) – 11,347 Dodge Caravan – 10,911 Jeep Cherokee / Grand Cherokee – 9,272 Toyota Corolla – 9,010 Nissan Altima – 8,892 Those numbers don’t exactly tell the whole story, though.
Filed under: Classics , Coupe , Performance , Videos , Chevrolet , Dodge , Mazda , Nissan , Porsche , Toyota Oh, the heady days of 1993, back when the Clinton Presidency was just getting underway, and it seemed like every hot new rock band was coming out of Seattle. Sports cars in the US had finally shaken off the shackles that slowed them during the ’70s and ’80s, and you could buy any number of legitimately quick vehicles again. MotorWeek recently went digging into its archives to find this six-model test from 1993 showing off some of the best semi-affordable performance coupes that money could buy at the time, and it’s priceless. Featuring the 1994 model year Toyota Supra in twin-turbo guise and MY 1993 versions of the Porsche 968, Nissan 300ZX TT , Mazda RX-7 , Dodge Stealth R/T Turbo and Chevrolet Corvette LT-1 , MotorWeek definitely covered all of the bases. One thing that might surprise younger readers is these cars’ performance. The video only provides 0-60 acceleration times, but several of these vehicles would still be considered pretty potent today – over 20 years since going on sale. The Supra is especially impressive, hitting 60 miles per hour in just 5 seconds. Even today, that’s nothing to sneeze at. Given their performance potential and still-attractive looks, it’s amazing that some of these coupes are old enough to drink now. The progress of interior design and safety equipment in the intervening years is pretty shocking, though.
Filed under: Minivan/Van , Chrysler , Dodge , Toyota We know minivans aren’t all that exciting, but automakers take the sliding door segment very seriously. Chrysler takes special pride in its minivans, which makes sense because Team Pentastar all but invented the segment. Toyota takes just as much pride in the Sienna , which continues to sell well in the face of months of parts shortages due to the Japanese earthquake. Right now, the two minivans are duking it out for sales supremacy, and Dodge is winning by a nose. Automotive News reports that Dodge has sold 92,930 Grand Caravan models so far in 2011, but the Sienna is down less than 1,000 units with 91,955 copies sold to date. And don’t count out the Honda Odyssey . The Odyssey is a close third with 86,436 units sold, beating out the Chrysler Town & Country by 8,000 units. Chrysler can boast a combined 171,185 minivan sales so far in 2011, with 200,000 total 2011 sales within the realm of possibility. With the Grand Caravan versus Sienna sales battle so close, we’re guessing minivan buyers could turn out to be the biggest winners. It’s a fair bet that one or both automakers will add incentives to the vans in an effort to secure the sales title, which will mean lower prices for buyers.