Is Kia’s safety rating for midsize SUVs better than Chevy’s?

Kia's midsize SUV received top awards for its safety rating while Chevy's midsize SUV did not. Safety features may lower your car insurance rates by up to 8%.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Kia and Chevy have midsize SUVs that many would consider safe, but they are not equal
  • A safer vehicle is easier to insure because it will cost less money
  • When you are looking for a vehicle, considering all the safety ratings can help you make the right choice

It is not uncommon for drivers to be lulled into a false sense of security because they drive a midsize SUV. What most drivers don’t realize is that many midsize SUVs are actually less safe than smaller cars.

People who think they are safe just because they are in an SUV will often be surprised when their SUV performs poorly in crash tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has tests they put vehicles through so they can determine the safety of vehicles.

The institute wants people to know how safer or unsafe vehicles are before they make the choice to purchase them.

The tests involve recreating situations that could happen on roads around the country and purposely crashing the cars to see how they perform in the collisions.

Compare car insurance quotes to see how much these vehicle safety features could save you with different companies. Enter your zip code above to get started.

Ways Vehicles Are Tested

Even though the Kia Sorento and the Chevy Equinox both did well during some of the tests, there was one of the cars that were safer than the other.

The ratings and grades that IIHS gives help make it clear which car is safer.

The grades the cars received – from good to poor – help make up the entire safety rating of the car. Cars that receive more good scores will be safer while on the road. Cars can also score marginal and acceptable for the safety tests they go through.

Before a Crash

The differences between the Sorento and the Equinox are evident in the crash avoidance and mitigation tests.

Since the Equinox did not have auto brakes available on any of the trims, it was not able to score for the auto braking in either the 12 or 25 MPH test. It scored a basic because it did have a warning system for front crashes.

The Sorento scored a superior on the crash avoidance test. It was able to reduce the speed with auto brakes in a 12 MPH test to fully avoid the collision. In the 25 MPH test, it was able to reduce down to one MPH.

For the headlights test, the Kia Sorento scored a good. The Equinox did not have results for the headlight test. The GMC Acadia is nearly identical to the Equinox, and it scored a marginal on the headlight test.

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During a Crash

Perhaps the largest part of the IIHS testing process is the crashworthiness test. This test involves the following:

  • front small overlap
  • front moderate overlap
  • sides
  • roof strength
  • head restraints and seats

Vehicles are tested in accidents that recreate these situations to determine how well the vehicles will do.

The Kia Sorento scored a good on all of the tests. The Chevy Equinox also scored a good on all of the tests. The good score came from the things that were revealed during the test, and the specifics of both the vehicles were nearly identical for crashworthiness.

Child Safety

Even though child seat anchors (LATCH) are regulated by the government, they are unable to be rated for safety.

Since they need to all be safe, the IIHS judges their ease of use. The IIHS determined that LATCH systems that were easier to use would be better because more people would choose to use them.

The Equinox scored an acceptable for the LATCH systems, as did the Sorento. Both of the vehicles could have scored good on the LATCH test, but they both had hardware within the seats that could have been the LATCH system and wasn’t.

The hardware is likely to cause confusion to users.

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Choosing a Vehicle with an Award

The Sorento met each of the requirements for a Top Safety Pick+ award.

It was able to meet the guidelines of scoring a good on all five crashworthiness tests. It also scored an acceptable on both the LATCH test and the headlights. The superior score it received for crash avoidance helped make it a Top Safety Pick+.

The Chevy Equinox did not meet the requirements for the Top Safety Pick+. The vehicle also did not meet the requirements for the basic Top Safety Pick award.

If the vehicle had data for the headlights and if the headlights were acceptable, it could have been a Top Safety Pick even without the auto brake system.

Kia won the safety award. The Kia Sorento is also safer than the Chevy Equinox. The Equinox has a chance to redeem itself by getting the headlights on track.

If the headlights manage to pass the requirements, it will have a chance to be just as safe as many of the other midsize SUVs.

Safety of Vehicles

Knowing and understanding safety ratings the IIHS came up with will help you stay protected with the right type of vehicle. It is always a good idea to find the safest vehicle possible so you are protected.

Insurance companies also often give discounts on your insurance plan if you are driving one of the Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ vehicles that the IIHS has designated on their list.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to find the best rate for the coverage you need. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars by switching providers.

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