2017 Kia Sportage awarded with Top Safety Pick+ by IIHS image

Thanks to a major leap in the safety area, Kia’s small SUV received the highest designation possible from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Kia brought major improvements in all areas to its new Sportage compact SUV and the brand’s efforts were rewarded with the top safety rating by the US IIHS. This result was somehow expected, as the redesigned model is built on the same platform as the 2016 Hyundai Tucson, which is also a Top Safety Pick+ winner. The 2017 Kia Sportage jumped from a poor to good rating in the challenging small overlap crash test to qualify for the award, as the previous generation did not performed well at all in that area. The driver’s space was seriously compromised, as the parking brake pedal was pushed in 16 inches, the steering column moved 4 inches toward the dummy and 6 inches to the right, causing the dummy’s head to slide off the left side of the front airbag, while the side curtain airbag didn’t deploy. By contrast, the redesigned model held up well, with maximum intrusion of 6 inches at the parking brake pedal and no more than 3 inches elsewhere. The dummy’s movement was also well-controlled.

The 2017 Sportage received good ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests and the new optional front crash prevention system helped in earning a superior rating. The top safety score was mainly due to the improvement made to the car’s structure. With 51 percent of the Sportage’s body-in-white made up of Advanced High Strength Steel, versus the outgoing model’s 18 percent, torsional rigidity has improved 39 percent, according to Kia.