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

Kia and Honda's midsize SUVs both received top safety ratings from the IIHS, but Kia scored slightly higher. Safety features can reduce your car insurance rates by up to 8%.

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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...

  • Knowing safety ratings will help keep you more informed while you are shopping for vehicles
  • Because of the Top Safety Pick+ award, the Sorento and the Pilot are both among the safest midsize SUV choices
  • Allowing yourself to think you are safe because you’re in a midsize SUV can be dangerous because of the false sense of security

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) wants to be sure they are putting them through every possible situation so their ratings are accurate. If they do not get an accurate rating, it could mean safety issues for the people who are driving the midsize SUVs.

By using situations that could actually happen to drivers, the IIHS sets themselves apart from other rating institutions. They have made themselves the industry standard for what kind of car is the safest.

The institute has also been the one to recommend major changes to popular models so they will be safer for all the drivers. Since they mimic situations that could actually happen, the IIHS has the most accurate representation of safety.

Compare car insurance quotes for the vehicle you’re driving or thinking about purchasing. Enter your zip code into our free rate tool above to get started.

The Differences in the Safety Test Ratings for the Pilot and Sorento

The Kia Sorento and the Honda Pilot were both proven to be extremely safe cars during the tests IIHS did. They performed the tests on 2017 models, and they were comparable to each other.

The differences between them are only marginal which means you will have more options when choosing a car.

In the tests, IIHS has different systems for rating. In crashworthiness, headlights and child seat anchors, cars can receive the following grades:

  • Poor
  • Marginal
  • Acceptable
  • Good

For front crash prevention, cars are given a rating from basic all the way to “superior.” A car with only one point for prevention will receive a grade of basic while one that has five or six will receive a superior rating.

LATCH System Ease of Use

The IIHS is unable to judge the efficacy of child seat anchors because the LATCH systems are regulated and all of them are the same. What the IIHS is able to do to determine how they will be used is create tests to see if the LATCH systems are easy to use.

The IIHS also determines whether there are any parts within the seats of the vehicle or on the floor that could be mistaken for the LATCH system.

Both of the vehicles scored an A on these. They did not score a G because they have equipment that could be confused with the LATCH system. The scores of both the Honda Pilot and the Kia Sorento were identical.

How Each Vehicle Avoided a Crash

Crash avoidance and mitigation tests look at things like braking abilities, the function of the auto brake and a warning system for collision. The tests also determine a rating for the headlights.

The Kia Sorento and the Honda Pilot both got the same ratings for their headlights. Despite this similarity, the Kia Sorento came out slightly ahead with a six-point superior rating.

The difference was in the auto brake feature during a 25-mile per hour test. Both vehicles had a warning system that worked flawlessly. Both vehicles avoided a collision going 12 miles per hour with the auto brake.

The Kia Sorento avoided a collision going 25-miles per hour while the Honda Pilot only reduced speed by 12-miles per hour at the time of impact and received a five-point superior score as a result.

Safety during a Crash

To determine whether a vehicle is safe during a crash, IIHS puts it through a series of crashworthiness tests. They include the small and moderate overlap front tests, side tests, roof strength and head restraints with seats.

The tests are done using simulated accidents that mimic real-life situations.

The Kia Sorento and the Honda Pilot all scored good on these tests. They did not require additional equipment for these scores, and they were able to get a G with just the standard.

While their scores were identical in the form of letter grades, the Honda Pilot did slightly better with roof strength while the Kia Sorento did slightly better with head restraints and seats.

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How Vehicles Get the IIHS Safety Awards

To win the Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle must score G on all of the crashworthiness tests. They must also meet the requirements of being superior for front crash mitigation. The vehicle cannot have a score below an A on any of the tests that were performed.

The IIHS awarded Top Safety Pick+ awards to the Kia Sorento and the Honda Pilot. The Honda Pilot had the lowest rating out of all the vehicles that received the award. Despite the lower rating, it is still considerably safer than most midsize SUVs.

A person who was choosing their vehicle based on safety ratings alone would definitely want the Kia Sorento as opposed to the Honda Pilot.

Choosing a midsize SUV that is a Top Safety Pick+ will help you remain safer during a crash and save money on insurance costs.

Many people would be surprised to find that the vehicle they have, while they thought it was a safe midsize SUV, is not as safe as some of the other options available.

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