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 |  Nov 03 2011, 2:17 PM

The 2012 Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Volkswagen Routan all earned Top Safety Pick awards from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

These vehicles, which all share the same structure, earned high marks when it came to providing  protection in rollover crashes, garnering the highest rating of Good in front-, side-, rollover- and rear-crash protection. These three minivans join the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna as Top Safety Picks.

Two vehicles that didn’t make the grade were the Kia Sedona and Nissan Quest minivans. These vehicles didn’t fair very well when it came to the rollover category, but earned Good scores in all the other tests. Overall, the Sedona earned a Poor rollover rating while the Quest achieved an Acceptable score.

“Safety-conscious parents shopping for a family hauler should be pleased with today’s minivan choices,” said David Zuby, the Institute’s chief research officer. “At the same time, the ratings show that major differences remain in this segment when it comes to protection in a rollover crash.”

To determine rollover protection, the strength of a vehicle’s roof is measured by pushing a metal plate against the roof at a constant speed. To earn a Good rating, a vehicle has to be able to withstand up to four times its weight. The 2012 Town & Country had a strength-to-weight ratio of 4.51, while the Sedona had a rating of 2.31 and the Quest had a rating of 3.36.

[Source: IIHS]