CARS.COM — Kia's mid-size SUV has earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest crashworthiness designation, Top Safety Pick Plus, for the 2018 model year. The Sorento earned good ratings in all five of the agency's crash tests, including small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint evaluations. Also, its optional automatic braking system is rated superior, and its headlights earned an acceptable rating.
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To earn a Top Safety Pick Plus award, a vehicle must have good ratings in all five tests, an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention, and an acceptable or good headlight rating.
The 2017 Sorento failed to get the Plus designation because it had poorly rated headlights, but not all headlights on the 2018 model pass muster. According to IIHS, only SXL trims and SX trims with the SX Advanced Technology Package have acceptable-rated headlights, and only on vehicles built after May 2017. Other trim levels and all Sorentos made earlier come with the poor-rated headlights.
Some competitors have also been stymied by headlight ratings. The 2017 Ford Explorer's headlights received a poor rating and it earned a marginal rating in the small front overlap test, precluding it from Top Safety Pick status. The 2017 Nissan Pathfinder is a Top Safety Pick but also has marginal-rated headlights. The 2017 Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, however, have acceptable-rated headlights and are Top Safety Pick Plus vehicles.