Good news for family car buyers who need a little more space to transport people and gear: the 2014 Honda Odyssey just earned the Top Safety Pick+ designation from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

To earn the top award, the Odyssey scored good performance in all five IIHS crash evaluations: front, small overlap front, side, rollover and rear crash tests.

In so doing, the 2014 Honda Odyssey becomes the first minivan the Institute evaluated in the new challenging small overlap front test. Honda asked the IIHS to test the Odyssey in this more stringent front overlap test in order to highlight important structural changes the automaker made to improve occupant protection.

MORE: See our 2014 Honda Odyssey review for safety ratings, gas mileage, and more

Even though the Odyssey doesn’t have any major exterior design changes, it’s what’s underneath that counts in the 2014 model – in terms of safety to occupants. These include:

Commenting on the Odyssey’s Top Safety Pick+ designation, IIHS President Adrian Lund said, “Consumers look for models with the highest safety ratings. Honda is ahead of many of its competitors in building state-of-the-art crashworthiness into its vehicles.”

Significant about the Odyssey’s performance in the small overlap test is that the driver’s space was maintained reasonably well. The IIHS said that injury measures on the dummy indicated a “low risk of injury in a crash of this severity.”

Furthermore, because the “structure of the minivan helped keep the steering column stable, the front airbag stayed in front of the driver dummy during the crash to provide good protection.”

Finally, the side curtain airbag “deployed and had sufficient forward coverage to protect the head from contact with the side structure and outside objects.”

For 2014, the Odyssey has all the safety-feature bases covered, with a standard rearview camera system on all models. The top Touring Elite model gets an Expanded View Driver's Mirror, a blind-spot warning system, Forward Collision Warning, and Lane Departure Warning.


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