Cheap Minivan Vs. Used SUV: See Who Really Wins A Head-On Collision

Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

Do you want to know which inexpensive family hauler is actually the safest, or just watch two cars you hate joust to the death? Either way, this is worth watching.

In Season 9, Episode 2 of Fifth Gear, the hosts put a Land Rover Discovery 1 SUV against a Renault Espace minivan (which they pronounce “eh-spahs”) in a 40 MPH head-on collision with crash test families on board to measure realistic survivability.


When this was filmed, they say you could get either vehicle for “about $15,000.” Today a decent Disco 1, if you can find it, would probably be $3,000 to $5,000. Regardless, it’s a truly “truck-like” SUV representing old-school body-on-frame construction while the Espace brings a more modern, less visible safety style.

Spoiler alert: the point of the video when it was first shown years ago was to prove that rigid and tough-looking SUVs might not be as safe as they look.

Today it’s still a great illustration of why we should be thankful for crumple zones, and a perversely satisfying image for anyone who has ever worked on a Discovery 1. Speaking of which, you can skip straight ahead to 05:50 if you want to cut to the carnage.

Images via Fifth Gear

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I find it hard to believe that many people would assume that a 17-year old SUV design would be somehow safer than a 4-year old MPV. Anyone that’s been paying attention even a little bit knows the scale of safety advances that happened in that period.