• 2013 Safest Minivans For Families
    • Image Credit: Chrysler

    2013 Safest Minivans For Families

    It may seem odd, but Halloween is becoming one of the most dangerous days on the roads. Accidents caused by drinking and driving around the holiday are up, and a new study by State Farm and Sperling's Best Places shows the day is deadliest for child pedestrians.

    Drunk driving accidents are the biggest concern for families who may be driving their tots around after a fun evening of trick-or-treating. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 40% of all car accident fatalities on Halloween are caused by drunk drivers.

    So we here at AOL Autos thought it was time to take a look at the safest cars you can carry your family in -- the minivan. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tested each of these cars for their performance in high-speed frontal and side crash tests, a rollover test and evaluations of seat and head restraints for neck injuries in rear impact crashes.

  • Volkswagen Routan
    • Image Credit: Volkswagen

    Volkswagen Routan

    MSRP: $27,020 - $44,280
    Invoice: $25,912 - $42,465
    Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway

    The VW Routan has gotten the IIHS's highest rating in every category in every test conducted on the car since 2009.

    Besides being structurally sound, the minivan also comes with a number of features that help keep occupants safe. It comes with stability control and traction control, both which keep the car well-grounded and prevent it from tipping over. It has front, rear and third row head airbags, and a tire pressure monitoring system that helps drivers know when their tires might need air.

    The VW Routan is essentially a re-badged, slightly tinkered Chrysler Town and Country. Given the popularity of those minivans, you'd think the Routan would be faring better in the marketplace. But the car just hasn't caught on. VW doesn't market it much either, so awareness of the VW is low.

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  • Toyota Sienna
    • Image Credit: Toyota

    Toyota Sienna

    MSRP: $26,435 - $41,325
    Invoice: $24,453 - $38,020
    Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway

    Since 1998, the Toyota Sienna has received top scores on all of the IIHS crash tests except once. For 2005 models that didn't have optional side airbags, the minivan only got an "acceptable" rating, instead of a good rating.

    But it's still a very safe car. All of the trim levels come with side curtain airbags for all three rows, which ensures that, in the event of a rollover accident all occupants will stay inside the car. That's a plus, because being thrown from a car during a violent crash is one of the leading causes of death (although people will sometimes anecdotally bring up cases where someone was thrown from a car and survived, it is generally something you don't want to have happen.)

    Higher trim levels offer more safety features, like a pre-collision protection system and rear-view cameras for backing up.

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  • Honda Odyssey
    • Image Credit: Honda

    Honda Odyssey

    MSRP: $28,575 - $43,925
    Invoice: $26,138 - $40,139
    Fuel Economy: 18 mpg City, 27 mpg Highway

    Honda was one of the first automakers to realize drivers with families were very interested in having safe cars. So they started putting as many safety features on their vehicles as standard equipment - meaning buyers wouldn't have to pay more - as they possibly could. That move has resulted in a well-earned reputation for safety.

    The Odyssey is one of the IIHS top picks for minivans. Additionally, 2011 model year Odysseys and younger are the only minivans to get a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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  • Dodge Grand Caravan
    • Image Credit: Chrysler

    Dodge Grand Caravan

    MSRP: $19,995 - $29,995
    Invoice: $19,745 - $28,545
    Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway

    One of the most popular minivans around, the Grand Caravan is also one of the safest. Chrysler, Dodge's parent company, invented the minivan back in 1984. The cars were easy to see out of, held a lot of stuff and passengers, and were easy for children to get in and out of.

    The Grand Caravan, and its sister car the Chrysler Town & Country, have advanced safety features beyond visibility issues.

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  • Chrysler Town & Country
    • Image Credit: Chrysler

    Chrysler Town & Country

    MSRP: $29,995 - $39,995
    Invoice: $28,735 - $37,935
    Fuel Economy: 17 mpg City, 25 mpg Highway

    The almost twin minivans from Dodge and Chrysler offer seven airbags and employ 8 different crush zones to keep occupants safe in the event of a crash.

    The minivans also offer electronic stability control and other accident avoidant measures, because the best defense against fatal crashes is to never crash in the first place.

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