Crashworthy minivan

Ford Windstar continues to hold its spot atop the minivan safety ratings based on recent government tests. In frontal collision tests of 1998 vans, the Windstar earned a five-star rating for both driver and front passenger protection.

The latest tests used a Windstar with lower-power air bags, which deploy less forcefully than the previous version. The new air bags were just as effective as the ones they replaced. This is the third consecutive design of the Ford minivan to earn the top rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Also tested in the latest 35-mph crashes were the Dodge Caravan and its slightly larger sibling, the Grand Caravan. Both received threwstar ratings for driver and passenger.

Windstar also excels in offset frontal collision tests run by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an industry research group. Windstar earned the institute’s only "good" rating and received its Best Pick selection out of nine passenger vans.

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