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

Kia's midsize SUV received a top safety rating while Ford scored low in comparison. Upgrade your car's safety features to 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...

  • Midsize SUVs that earn a Top Safety Pick+ award are considered extremely safe in the event of an accident
  • Midsize SUVs that earn a Top Safety Pick award are considered safer than those that do not meet the criteria to earn the award
  • Cars with more safety features may cost less to insure
  • To find out how much your Kia or Ford SUV car insurance would cost before you buy, you can use a comparison tool

When it comes to SUVs, drivers can expect roomy, comfortable interiors and tons of entertainment and safety features, but not all SUVs are built with the same safety standards in mind.

IIHS safety tests can help you determine which SUV offers the most safety features and which would best protect you and your family in the event of a crash.

This is accomplished by objectively evaluating the vehicles via five collision tests, a front crash prevention test and a check of the effectiveness of the headlights and child restraint latches.

Choosing the safest SUV may result in lower car insurance premiums, which could reduce your overall cost to own. Use our free car insurance comparison tool to see how much you could save on the coverage you need.

When choosing the right Kia or Ford SUV for your family, it is important to look at all the safety data from crashworthiness to how easy the child LATCH system is to use.

IIHS Safety Rating Designations for Crashworthiness

  • G – Good: Highest rating available. Mortal injuries least likely.
  • A – Acceptable: Car performed decently during the test. Injury and death risk is significantly reduced.
  • M – Marginal: Car performed better than a Poorly rated vehicle. Improvements could be made.
  • P – Poor: Vehicle performed poorly during the test. Safety needs improvement.

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Crashworthiness Tests

  • Front Small Overlap25 percent of vehicle’s front strikes a barrier at 40mph.
  • Front Moderate Overlap40 percent of the vehicle’s front strikes a barrier at 40mph.
  • Side Crash – 31mph crash test utilizing an SUV-like barrier crashing into driver’s side door.
  • Roof Strength– Simulates a rollover crash, using a metal plate.
  • Head Restraints and Seats – Tests seat and restraint system via a sled test.

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Midsize SUV Crashworthiness: Ford VS. Kia

  • Kia Sorento – In the five IIHS crashworthiness tests, the Kia Sorento scored a “Good” rating, which is the highest possible rating in all five categories.
  • Ford Flex – The Ford Flex achieved “Good” ratings in the front moderate overlap, side, roof strength and head restraints and seats test. The midsize SUV only scored a rating of “Acceptable” in the front small overlap test.
  • Ford Edge – The Ford Edge achieved the same ratings at the Ford Flex in all five crashworthiness tests.
  • Ford Explorer – The Ford Explorer achieved “Good” ratings in the front moderate overlap test, side test and roof strength test. The SUV only achieved a “Moderate” rating in the front small overlap test, and no rating was recorded for the head restraints and seats test, making it the worst vehicle for safety when compared to the Kia Sorento and the Ford Flex and Edge SUVs.

Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

Crash avoidance and mitigation scores are determined by the front crash prevention test, which checks to see if the vehicle has a crash avoidance system and what features are included in that system.

Typical crash avoidance features include a driver warning and/or autobraking.

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IIHS Safety Rating Designations for Front Crash Prevention

  • Superior – Vehicle has auto-warning and autobraking and both work to drastically slow speeds or stop the car during two tests.
  • Advanced – Vehicle has auto-warning and autobraking. The vehicle’s speed slowed or the vehicle stopped during at least one test.
  • Basic – Vehicle only provides the driver with a warning. There is no autobraking.

Crash Avoidance Systems: Kia VS. Ford

  • Kia Sorento – The Kia Sorento achieved a “Superior” rating with optional equipment, which means the car has both a warning system and an autobraking system that slows the SUV’s speed and/or stops the car.
  • Ford Flex – The Ford Flex only achieved a “Basic” rating, which means the SUV only has a warning system.
  • Ford Edge – The Ford Edge earning a “Basic” rating for only having a front collision warning system and no automatic braking.
  • Ford Explorer – Like the Ford Flex and Edge, the Ford Explorer only achieved a “Basic” rating for front crash prevention.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH): Kia Versus Ford

The child seat anchors (LATCH) test checks the seat anchors in the vehicle that are used to install car seats for children. The rating is an indication of how easy the system is to use. The LATCH test is given the same ratings as the collision avoidance tests.

  • Kia Sorento – The Kia Sorento achieved an “Acceptable” rating on the LATCH test, which indicates the child restraint latches are reasonably easy to use.
  • Ford Flex – The Ford Flex also received a rating of “Acceptable” on the latch test.
  • Ford Edge – The Ford Edge earning an “Acceptable” for the child seat LATCH test.
  • Ford Explorer – Like the Ford Flex and Edge, the Ford Explorer also achieved an “Acceptable” rating on the LATCH test.

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2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+

None of the Ford SUVs earned a 2017 Top Safety Pick or 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award.

In order to earn a 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award, the vehicle must score a rating of “Good” on the five collision avoidance tests as well as a headlight test of “Acceptable” or higher and a rating of “Superior” on the front collision avoidance test.

The 2017 Kia Sorento earned the 2017 Top Safety Pick award, which means is scored “Good” on the five crash tests and earned at least an “Acceptable” on its crash prevention tests.

When the Kia midsize SUVs are pitted against the Ford SUVs, drivers can feel confident that the Kia Sorento will protect them in the event of an accident better than the Ford SUVs.

The included safety features on the Kia may even earn safety discounts with the auto insurer. Find out how much you could save by using our free rate comparison tool below. Enter your zip code to begin.

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