Consumer Reports: Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota Top Rear-Seat Safety Tests

As people are drawn toward bigger cars, trucks, and SUVs, Consumer Reports decided to test the safety of these backseats. Rear-seat safety is essential for children and adults. Due to this, Consumer Reports devised some new categories to find which cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans are safest for those in row two.

How is Consumer Reports grading rear-seat safety?

Consumer Reports tests rear seat safety
How safe are children in the rear seats? | Brianna Soukup/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Consumer Reports safety ratings are an important part of choosing a new car. However, most crash tests have focused primarily on passengers and drivers in the front seat. CR did not rigorously test the rear-seat safety for passengers. In 2021, Consumer Reports decided to update the safety ratings to include rear-seat safety in the ratings.

These scores are based on child-safety tests and safety technology that keeps children and adults safer.

“The rear seat has to take into account all kinds of passengers who sit there, from infants and teens to adults and ride-sharing passengers of all ages, but our analysis shows that many automakers don’t put the same safety features in the rear that they do in the front.”

Emily Thomas, PhD | Consumer Reports automotive safety engineer

Since this is such a new way to evaluate safety in vehicles, there is room for improvement. That doesn’t mean these options are unsafe, but that there might be a vehicle out there with better backseat protection.

The 2022 Honda Civic and Nissan Pathfinder topped Consumer Reports tests

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The 2022 Honda Civic and Nissan Pathfinder were the top of the pack for the newest models. The Honda Civic received a score of “excellent” for the child seat fit category. The booster use category received a score of “very good,” and the rear occupant alert score was “good.” This gave the sedan an overall score of 68 out of 100.

As far as the rear occupant protection section, the belt reminder notification was “very good.” The advanced restraints and head restraints categories both received a “good” score.

The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder received a score of “very good” for the child seat fit category. For the booster use and rear occupant alert, the Pathfinder received scores of “good.” For the rear occupant belt reminder, Consumer Reports gave the SUV a score of “very good.” The advanced restraints were “good,” while the head restraints racked up an “excellent.”

Interestingly enough, more 2021 models scored higher

From the 2021 Models, a variety of vehicles received above-average scores. The 2021 Toyota Sienna minivan was the top of the tested models. The Toyota minivan received scores of “good” and “very good” for all categories. Next up was the 2021 Nissan Rogue, Ford Bronco four-door, and Ford Bronco Sport. These all had average or above-average scores.

The Ford F-150 XLT, Ford Mustang Mach-E, and Cadillac Escalade were up next. For the most part, these vehicles received above-average scores across the board as well. With all of these vehicles on the list, it shows that there are a variety of affordable car, truck, minivan, and SUV options.

Consumer Reports plans to use these criteria to test vehicles going forward, so keep an eye out if you are looking for a particular new vehicle. Jennifer Stockburger, director of operations at CR’s Auto Test Center, says “Automakers often update their vehicles in order to meet more stringent safety evaluations. We’ve seen this happen with crash testing, and we look forward to seeing rear-seat safety scores improve as well.”

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