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Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1

    What were they thinking??

    I have a friend with a new vehicle. She told me all about how they saved for four years and decided to put it into a new vehicle. They got what they got because "my husband says it's big so it's safe". I asked why they didn't get a Sienna (or similar) and she said she needed one she could fit three carseats across in. She then mentioned that her husband hadn't really looked at crash test results, as in they weren't an important part of the decision. So, guess what they drive - and she affectionately calls "Tank"? A Ford Expedition. <sigh>

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  3. #2

    Re: What were they thinking??

    My guess:

    Minivans = boring family image

    Big SUV = Rugged outdoor image.

    Yeah, I'm biased, but unless you do serious towing or offroading, these tanks have few advantages over a minivan. Safety is not one of them, especially if you're in a small car which gets skewered by one:-(

    On the plus side, they do have a third row seat. While their accident avoidance characteristics may be lacking, they do tend to be crashworthy. Plus, with all of them on the road, its sometimes hard to argue with the higher seating position and the, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" philosophy to safety.

  4. #3

    Hollywood Neglect

    Final episode of Walker, Texas Ranger, had final scene with Walker bringing wife Alex and newborn daughter home from the hospital. She carried the infant in her lap in the front passenger seat. Per usual, Hollywood ignores the safety and well-being of our children

  5. #4

    Hard to spread the word when Hollywood negates it

    Besides, you'd think that in Texas the police would have slapped his wife in handcuffs and put her in jail for not having their kids in carseats:-)

  6. #5

    Re: What were they thinking??

    As far as crash tests go, I do believe that the Expedition got a double 5 star rating in the governments frontal crash rating.

    My wife and I are also considering an Expedition over a minivan (though we haven't test driven the Expedition yet). One of our main motivating factors is all of the ice and snow. Four wheel drive makes it really nice and is that much safer. This is not something that many manufacturers put in minivans.

    SUVs are also (finally) catching up to minivans as far as amenities go, ie. drop down tv displays, third row of seats, rear ac control...

    I don't know that we will pick the Expedition over the minivan for sure, but if we did, I do not think that it would be an unsafe choice for our growing family, nor do I think that it would be unwise.

    Just my two cents.

  7. #6

    Not Unsafe


    I don't think anyone would claim the Expedition is unsafe (except perhaps to other vehicles on the road).

    In fact, in a crash with smaller vehicles, the Expedition will protect its occupants well. In a crash with another large truck or stationary object, its passengers will be at a disadvantage compared to a unibody vehicle with well-engineered crush zones.

    Nor is an Expedition an unwise choice, especially for those who do serious off-roading or towing.

    I think the issue is that many people could be better served with a minivan than a large SUV. They'd pay less for similarly equipped models, get similar cargo capability, the convenience of [power] silding doors, better cargo area flexibility, better fuel economy and better handling/braking. Plus, they'd be just as safe or safer (given rollovers and single vehicle accidents) than the large SUV, while being less of a risk to other vehicles on the road and the environment.

    In your case, an Expedition may be a better choice, but I don't think this is true for the many people that buy one and use it 99% of the time in an urban commute.

    Some comparisons-
    Windstar and Expedition both received 5-stars in the NHTSA frontal test.

    Windstar received 5-stars in the NHTSA side test with side airbags, Expedition is untested.

    Windstar got the top "Good" rating in the IIHS offset test, Expedition is untested, but the F-150 (same chassis) got a "Poor" rating.

    Windstar got 4-stars in the NHTSA rollover rating, Expedition got 2-stars

    Windstar gets 18/24 mpg, Expedition gets 16/21 without 4WD, 14/18 with 4WD.

    Windstar adds safety features like advanced front airbags, runflat tires and the new LATCH system for carseat installation. Windstar's setup for tether locations is among the best of any vehicle, though Expedition may be similar.

    While the Windstar has FWD with traction control, and will be more than adequate in snow and ice, Expedition does have 4WD which will help for off-roading or severe unplowed and hilly conditions. That may also be a factor for those in your situation.

    Obviously, Sienna and Odyssey are also good choices for safety, and Suburban is an option to the Expedition. The comparisions may vary slightly, I just picked two Fords for simplicity.

    Please let us know the results of your test drives, and what you buy. Good reviews will help us all in future evaluations. Thanks!

  8. #7


    ...some higher end minivans, such as the Chrysler Town and Country, do offer an AWD option. Something to consider.

  9. #8

    AWD Minivan Saftey Just Isn't There

    I have been checking out the minivans with the AWD systems, and there are basically two of them. The Chrysler Town and Country (and other Chrysler/Dodge variations of this), and the Oldsmobile Silhouette Premier.

    First and foremost, I am VERY disappointed with the saftey ratings of both of these vehicles. I expected alot more from a minivan as far as safety goes. I realize that the Honda and the Toyota's are much safer, but neither offers AWD. I got my safety information from and from Granted, they both did ok in the NHTSA tests, but EXTREMELY poor in the IIHS tests.

    We test drove a Ford Winstar and did not like that vehicle at all. Every time you took a turn, you feel like you are going to flip and the brakes were terrible. My wife's Ford Explorer does not have either of those issues. Unless Ford Winstars come in a suspension stiffer than the ones on the Winstar SE, that one is out of the running (plus, no AWD).

    The main reason that my wife wants AWD, is for the added safety in adverse driving conditions. It doesn't seem worth it to spend the money on a minivan with AWD for safety after looking at their crash test results. My wife does like some of the features that you can get in minvans, like dual power sliding doors, entertainments systems (which can be added to almost ANY vehicle), and the increased gas mileage over SUV's.

    We really don't want another SUV for the simple fact of fuel economy. We don't mind spending money on gasoline, we just don't like using so much of a non-renewable resource that is destroying our environment (tempted to wait till 2003 to get the Hybrid Ford Escape, but would be too small).

    For now, we will probably just keep test driving and hope that a minivan manufacturer can come out with a safe AWD minivan. We have till February .


  10. #9


    The late 2001 and all 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler T&C models get an "Acceptable" rating from the IIHS when equipped with side airbags. Models without side airbags were rated "Marginal" and models before the fuel tank fix were the ones that got the "Poor" rating. They also did well in the NHTSA tests. This would be a reasonably safe choice for an AWD minivan. While I was aware that the GM minivans and the Windstar would be getting AWD in the next couple years, I did not realize the Olds minivan had AWD already...

    Incidentally, I suspect any minivan (or front wheel drive car) equipped with traction control or stability control will be more than adequate in urban areas that get snow in the winter. Add a set of snow tires, and you'll probably be getting as good or better traction than most AWD/4WD vehicles using all-season tires. Our AWD Subaru Outback is very nice in the winter, but our Honda Odyssey and other front wheel drive cars have never had a problem. Now if you're off-roading or drive in seriously unplowed conditions, then AWD is probably not the best choice, either. A 4WD vehicle with a low-range setting or locking hubs may be the way to go.

    More minivan safety links here:

  11. #10

    Ford, a bad choice for the safety concious consumer!

    A Ford SUV, in my opinion is one of the most unsafe choices you can make, and I will try to base this on fact. Ford SUV's have the worst recall rating in the industry, the newly launched Escape has had 7 safety recalls to date, for anything from, wheels that fall of, leaking fuel, cruise control that can't be shut off (due to bad wiring), steering wheels and windshield wipers that come off, thats just to name a few! Just now, more tires are being recalled for defects on ford suvs after the firestone debacle. Suspenison linkages are also a problem on Explorers. As for crash tests, ponder this, the Ford F-150 recieved 5-stars in gov't crash test. However, in IIHS crash tests it received a "poor" rating, IIHS went on further to comment that there was a "Major collapse of the occupant compartment". The F-150 platform is the same as the platform for the Expedition, I can't see why any parent would put themselves, let alone their children in such an unsafe vechile. As far a off-roading, a majority of Ford SUV's have low ground clearance, which does not make them good candidates for most off-roading situations. A SUV's does not have that much of an advantage in snow of ice over a front wheel drive car or minivan. Plus, you may feel more confident in going faster on snow covered roads with your 4-wheel drive, however, with the added weight that an SUV has, it will take you much longer to stop, power without control is nothing! And finally, rollovers are a major concern with SUV's, most SUV's do not have reinforced roofs, which is why so many are killed in roll over accidents. But I am impressed to see the the new Volvo SUV (dubbed the XC90) has a reinforced roof made out of Boron Steel, and it preformed well in roll over crash tests. Again think heavily before purchasing a SUV, Ford or otherwise, over a minivan or wagon.

  12. #11

    While I agree with many of your points-

    I do give credit to Ford for the 2002 Explorer and 2003 Expedition. They've made the track wider, added independent rear suspensions and designed an innovative rollover protection system in conjunction with side airbags. They've also added more shoulder belts and head rests to center seating positions. The new models are allegedly more compatible with passenger cars in a crash, and the 2002 Explorer has done very well in crash testing so far.

    The Windstar has been notable as far back as 1996 for top crash test ratings and relatively low rollover risk. It also has been an excellent choice for a wide array of top tether anchors and LATCH seating positions. The availability of runflat tires and factory reverse sensing is also notable.

    One other note- not all vehicles based on the same platform perform similary in crash tests. Witness the Pontiac Aztek (Marginal) and Buick Rendezvous (Acceptable) . Both are based on the GM minivan platform, but did notably better in the IIHS test than the minivan trio (Poor). Unfortunately, most SUVs remain untested for offset and side impact crashes, so we may never know for sure.



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