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Kia has been making some pretty incredible SUVs lately, and many of them are super safe. In fact, the 2023 Kia Sportage and 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid are both Top Safety Pick winners. This is one of two top safety awards given out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Here’s what the Top Safety Pick award means and how it impacts the new Kia Sportage and Kia Sportage Hybrid.

A green 2023 Kia Sportage driving down a highway.
2023 Kia Sportage | Kia

The 2023 Kia Sportage is a Top Safety Pick award winner – but not every Sportage

The 2023 Kia Sportage takes home the IIHS’ second-highest safety award. This is the Top Safety Pick award. That means that the new Kia Sportage earned good crashworthiness scores in the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, original side, roof strength and head restraint categories.

Not all 2023 Kia Sportage SUVs win the honor, however. According to the IIHS, only “the top two trims of the redesigned Kia Sportage, a small SUV, earn a 2022 TOP SAFETY PICK award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.” Headlights keep the other trim levels from qualifying for the award.

The Sportage Hybrid also wins a safety award

Another option if you love the Kia Sportage and want one that’s super safe but also want a more environmentally-friendly option is the 2023 Kia Sportage Hybrid. The Sportage Hybrid also wins the IIHS Top Safety Pick award.

The Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson share a platform, and the IIHS notes that many of the Sportage’s ratings are based on the Tucson. In addition, the Kia Sportage and the Kia Sportage Hybrid have two crash prevention systems. They both have superior ratings, though only one is standard, while the other is optional. This is an improvement over the 2022 model. “The superior pedestrian rating is a step up from the 2022 Sportage’s advanced-rated system, which was only available as optional equipment.”

How does an SUV win a Top Safety Pick award?


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To be awarded an IIHS Top Safety Pick award, a vehicle must score a good rating in all of the IIHS crashworthy ratings. These include the driver-side small overlap front, the passenger-side small overlap front, and the moderate overlap front. In addition to these front crash tests, the vehicle must get a good score in the side crash tests, roof strength, and head restraint tests. 

Additionally, the vehicle must have an advanced or superior in both the vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian tests. Headlights, often overlooked by car shoppers, must have a good or acceptable rating available. Oftentimes one trim level has good headlight ratings while another trim level does not, so it’s important to check the test results of the trim level you’re considering purchasing. 

Both the 2023 Kia Sportage and Kia Sportage Hybrid Top Safety Pick awards show that these SUVs are great choices for anyone looking for a small and safe sport utility vehicle. Just make sure that you pay attention to which trim level you get.