MPV Rear Row Safety! - RufusA
The tragic news of the death of Arron and Ben Peak, whilst travelling in the rear of a Toyota Previa, has got me thinking about MPV safety again.

It would appear that both boys were travelling in the rear-most seats of the Previa whilst their friends, travelling in the middle row emerged largely unscathed.

Whilst you can't stop [alleged] dangerous and drunken drivers of other vehicles, as a parent you are keen to protect your children as much as possible.

So how safe are rear seats on MPVs. Does the "safety cage" extend behind them. Does the seating area form part of a "crumple zone" if rear-ended?

AFAIK NCAP don't carry out tests of accidents involving rear collisions, and even side intrustion tests are carried out on the middle row of the car. EC Type Approval seems to follow NCAP lines with Frontal and Lateral tests only. The only published rear end collision simulations I've seen (IIHS) just test the seat for whiplash injury protection outside of the vehicle!

With the huge growth in the sale of midi-MPVs, with the most vunerable passengers being placed in the rear seats inches from the boot door, surely this is a huge failing!

Can anyone point me in the direction of statistics or crash tests that show that rear-most seats are safe? Or should one just assume that rear end collisions with a large speed differential between the two vehicles are rare enough not to need to worry about it.

MPV Rear Row Safety! - rtj70
I have experience of being rear-ended by an HGV whilst we were in a 5 door Fiesta. Anyone in the back of the Fiesta would not have survived because the roof buckled in across the rear seats. It was the buckled in roof that also struck the rear of my head ripping a nice big hole in my scalp and rendering me unconscious (and my wife thinking I'd been killed).

So for the safety cage I'd say it probably does not extend behind these seats as (a) there is little behind the seats in terms of the car and (b) hit hard enough and the rear can buckle in badly.

So for me, I would not personally want to be in an MPV with anyone in the rear seats for any length of time, especially on a high speed route. And it's why my current car is a Mondeo sized car with plenty of metal between the rear of the car and any passengers.

As for this tragic accident, I'm not sure it would have made so much of a difference since it went off the road and down an embankment and then hit a tree.
MPV Rear Row Safety! - oldnotbold
Friends (mother and son) were rear-ended by a skip lorry in their Volvo 240. Anyone in the back seat would have been in real trouble. They were sore but fine, and the traffic officers said the Volvo had saved them.
MPV Rear Row Safety! - DP
I've often wondered the same. We have a Grand Scenic (NCAP 5*) in which we only very occasionally use the 3rd row (we bought it mostly for the cavernous boot). There really isn't much behind these seats. From memory, the 3rd row head restraints, with the seats erected, are about 6" from the tailgate glass. AFAIK, NCAP do not test rear impacts at all.

My in-laws were rear ended by an artic on the M40 while driving their mk4 Golf. At the salvage yard, we had to break the back seat rests to recover their stuff out of the boot. Had there been a row of seats in the same proximity to the tailgate as on the Grand Scenic, the occupants would not be here today. No question about it.

MPV Rear Row Safety! - rtj70
From HJ's comments in CBCB, the previous model Previa (2000 - 2007) has a large boot even in an 8-seater configuration so I'd hazard a guess and say you're not too close to the rear in this one compared to some small cars. But for other MPVs with seats in the boot....

I wonder why the current Previa (Estima?) is not officially imported into the UK?

Edited by rtj70 on 09/06/2008 at 14:20

MPV Rear Row Safety! - Brian Tryzers
Truly horrible and upsetting, and a nasty but probably necessary reminder to the rest of us of what can happen.

Looking at the damage in the press pictures, it seems to me not so much that the two boys in the back row died because they were in a Previa, but that the two in the middle row survived because they were in the centre of something that big. And if the two families hadn't been travelling in one big vehicle, they might have been in two smaller ones instead, which might not have protected them even this much.

We thought hard about this before buying a seven-seater. Having only two children of our own, we don't really need the third row anyway, and proximity to the end of the car is a worry. (I have a table of measurements in my car research notebook, one of which is rear bumper to rearmost seat.) The Verso we chose makes this decision easier by effectively having no luggage space as a seven-seater, so it limits us to the kind of local trips - taking extra children to a party, for instance - that don't require any.

On the engineering side, one Citroen salesman told me that modern MPVs are designed to channel crash energy downwards, under the rearmost occupants rather than through them - but this came from a salesman and I've seen no documentation on it. We should also bear in mind that modern cars of all sizes are vastly more crashworthy - the Previa in the pictures appears to be the original model, which dates back to the early 90s.

That's no comfort if an old Previa is all the MPV you can afford - and in any case, you're only as safe as the drivers around you.
MPV Rear Row Safety! - b308
I'm sure one of the car mags or programmes did a feature on this a year or so ago - they found that the rearmost row of seats were located in the rear crumple zone and therefore didn't recommend their use - one reason the Multipla with two rows of three seats was better....

If you look at the midi MPVs and many of the larger ones the story is the same - very little space behind the rear row of seats, so you can guess what would happen if you are rear-ended....
MPV Rear Row Safety! - boxsterboy
Very sad story about these boys, and their dad being very badly injured, possibly for life.

But it must be obvious that any normal-sized car that has 7 seats is bound to have the rear-most seats very close to the rear - our C8 is no different. But what is the alternative? A minibus? Or the family travelling in 2 5-seat cars?

I don't like taking passengers in the back seats of our C8 any distance, but we mustn't forget that stories such as these are mercifully rare and usually completely avoidable, in that they are invariably caused by drunk/sleeping drivers.
MPV Rear Row Safety! - ijws15
many years ago I recall Mercedes saying there should be at least two feet of car bvbetween the end and the first occupants.

Saw a Fiat 500 on the M1 yesterday - It looked as if the rear head restraint was touching the rear screen!

EURONCAP does not include a rear impact - I wonder why not!
MPV Rear Row Safety! - b308
Less kids?! (only joking, bb!)...

As you say they are rare, but the problem is you have very little control over a rear end shunt as its invariably the other drivers' fault - they should not allow seats in the crumple zone....

Value my car