Monday, April 17, 2006

GM Minivans Substandard In IIHS Crash Tests

2005 Pontiac Montana SV6

In results made public over the weekend, the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety found the General Motors minivans (Chevy Uplander/Saturn Relay/Buick Terraza/Pontiac Montana SV6) to be substandard performers in its most recent round of crash tests.

Particularly troubling to the institue was the tendency of the rear seat in the aforementioned minivans to literally break free during side-impact crashes. The net result: "Poor" ratings for GM vans without side airbags. When the optional side airbags were employed, it didn't help all that much. Ratings improved to "marginal," hardly confidence inspiring if you're looking for a vehicle to cart the kids around in.

In its coverage, the Detroit Free Press reports that GM will begin installation of a metal brace that should keep the seats attached to the floor when side-impact accidents occur. Even as the company moved to correct the obvious problem, a GM spokeman was quoted as saying, "We do not believe that it's a safety issue."

Right. That's about as believable as someone saying, "We believe that the Saturn Ion is a great-looking car."

In any case, I don't know how big a deal this really is, because it's not like you see a lot of the odd-looking GM minivans cruising the streets on a daily basis. If people aren't driving them, they can't crash them and get hurt by the undocumented detachable rear seat "feature."

In case you were wondering, the Kia Sedona was the top-ranking minivan in the testing.

Source: Detroit Free Press
Photo: GM