Headlight Do-Over Earns 2018 Kia Rio Top Crash-Test Honors

img1150066660 1539036607806 jpeg 2018 Kia Rio | IIHS image

Following an update to its available headlights, the 2018 Kia Rio subcompact car is now a Top Safety Pick Plus as designated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. When it was previously tested and results were announced in July, the Rio was unable to earn any award from IIHS due to the poor rating its headlights received in testing.

Related: Redesigned Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent Boost Crashworthiness Ratings

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2018 Kia Rio S
47,765 mi.
2018 Kia Rio S
89,925 mi.

The Rio earned high marks in the earlier crash tests, scoring good in the driver-side small overlap front crash test, the moderate overlap front and side crash tests, and roof strength and head restraint testing. In passenger-side small overlap crash testing, it was rated acceptable. The Rio’s optional front crash prevention technology was rated superior. In initial headlight testing, however, the Rio’s headlights received a poor rating.

To qualify for a Top Safety Pick Plus award, a vehicle must receive good ratings in all the aforementioned crash tests, save for the passenger-side small overlap (acceptable is, well, acceptable in that test). It must also score an advanced or superior rating for available — not standard — front crash prevention technology and have available headlights that receive a good rating.

Thanks to its updated headlights, the Rio is now a Top Safety Pick Plus — but only for S models built after June that are also equipped with the optional front crash prevention system and optional LED headlights available with the S Technology Package. All other headlights available on the Rio are rated poor.

This isn’t the first time in 2018 that a car has had its headlights updated to pass the IIHS testing. The Hyundai Kona earned a Top Safety Pick Plus award in August after its optional headlights were revamped. The 2019 Hyundai Accent, the Rio’s sibling, earned a Top Safety Pick award by having the same ratings in crash testing and available front crash prevention, but only managing an acceptable headlight rating.

If you want a 2018 Kia Rio with Top Safety Pick Plus credentials, remember that it needs to have optional equipment on the S trim level and must have been built after June 2018. Be sure to check the build date before purchasing.

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Road Test Editor Brian Normile joined the automotive industry and Cars.com in 2013, and he became part of the Editorial staff in 2014. Brian spent his childhood devouring every car magazine he got his hands on — not literally, eventually — and now reviews and tests vehicles to help consumers make informed choices. Someday, Brian hopes to learn what to do with his hands when he’s reviewing a car on camera. He would daily-drive an Alfa Romeo 4C if he could. Email Brian Normile

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