Honda Odyssey sets new standard for minivan safety

2014 Honda Odyssey
Source: Honda
2014 Honda Odyssey

The Honda Odyssey, one of the most popular models built by the Japanese automaker, has become the first minivan to pass the most rigorous crash tests administered by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The independent nonprofit organization designated the 2014 Odyssey a top safety pick after the minivan received a "good" rating in a series of crash tests—including the small overlap front crash test.

That test measures how well a vehicle protects passengers in a collision when some, but not all, of the front bumper hits another vehicle or object.

Small overlap collisions are among the most common and deadliest accidents.

(Read more: Nissan to build self-driven cars)

Insurance Institute president Adrian Lund said the Odyssey crash tests show the benefits of automakers making design changes to enable vehicles to perform better in accidents. "Safety is high on the list for parents when it comes to shopping for a family vehicle."

—By CNBC's Phil LeBeau. Follow him on Twitter @LeBeauCarNews.

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