2018 Kia Optima Upgrades Yield Top Crash Rating

2018 Kia Optima

The 2018 Kia Optima mid-size sedan has earned a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety thanks to beefed-up crash protection on the passenger side. The improved structure resulted in the top good rating in the new passenger-side small overlap front crash test.

Related: For IIHS Safety Awards, Not All Cars Are Equal

The improved rating applies only to cars built after January with the improved structure. And as with many IIHS top-rated vehicles, the Top Safety Pick Plus applies only to 2018 Kia Optimas equipped with the optional front crash prevention system with automatic emergency braking, and also with the best-available headlight option. The Optima's optional crash system avoided crashes from 12 mph and 25 mph. The good headlight score came courtesy of the Optima's optional LED headlights with high-beam assist; without the high-beam assist, the LED headlights rated acceptable, while the standard halogen lights rated poor.

To be named a Top Safety Pick Plus by the insurance-industry safety-research organization, the vehicle must score good ratings in five crash tests and, new for 2018, also an acceptable or good in the passenger-side small overlap test. It also must get a good rating for the best-available headlight system, and be rated advanced or superior for a front crash prevention system.

The Optima shares a platform with the corporate sibling Hyundai Sonata, which is top-rated by IIHS for the 2016-18 versions. But IIHS says that the passenger-side structure differed in the Optima until modified in January in the door and toe areas to equal to the Sonata in protection.

In addition to now matching the 2018 Sonata as a Top Safety Pick Plus, the 2018 Optima also now matches the rival 2018 Toyota Camry and 2018 Subaru Legacy mid-size sedans. And it has a higher rating than the 2018 Honda Accord and 2018 Nissan Altima, which are IIHS Top Safety Picks that missed the TSP-Plus rating due to only an acceptable score for their headlights. Compare IIHS safety ratings for mid-size sedans here.

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