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While it likely won’t be the last Kia SUV to take home an award, it is the first for this year. The 2023 Kia Telluride earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award after making some tweaks last year. What improvements did the Kia sport utility vehicle make to take home the highest Insurance Institute for Highway Safety award?

The 2023 Kia Telluride earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award.

Even though the IIHS recently updated its testing to make vehicles safer, the 2023 Kia Telluride earned the highest Top Safety Pick Plus award for the first time. Kia’s midsize SUV earned high scores on all crashworthiness tests, including the updated side test and roof strength. The 2023 Telluride also earned the highest score for its headlights and front crash prevention systems.

One area that has previously prevented the Kia Telluride from earning this higher Insurance Institute for Highway Safety award is the headlights. This year, all trim levels on the 2023 Kia Telluride use LED projector low-beam and high-beam headlights. These are curve-adaptive and have high beam assist as well.

Kia’s frontal crash prevention systems performed well on the vehicle-to-pedestrian tests. This standard system earned a superior rating on all tests, including collision avoidance techniques at various speeds. It earned the same score on the nighttime tests.

How did the 2023 Kia Telluride do with the updated IIHS Top Safety Pick criteria?

The 2023 Telluride made structural reinforcements on the SUV and added more side airbags in the front and rear. This improved protection in side crashes and helped pass the updated side test, which has been a weak spot for some midsize SUVs since it was introduced. These updates help protect the driver and passengers better during a collision.

Seat belt reminders have been another recent addition, ensuring the alarms are long enough and loud enough. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the Kia Telluride’s alarm started up in time and lasted at least 30 seconds.

Steven Center, COO & EVP of Kia America, said he was happy to see the 2023 Kia Telluride recognized for its updated design. “Our highly decorated Telluride has been lauded for design, performance, technology, and safety features, which is further emphasized as a result of the Top Safety Pick Plus award that reflects Kia’s commitment to making safety a priority.”

The new TSP and TSP+ requirements aim for safer vehicles

This blue 2023 Kia Telluride earned an IIHS Top Safety Pick award
A 2023 Kia Telluride | Kia

For 2023, the IIHS updated its criteria for vehicles to earn the Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus awards. The press release states that the group demands better side crash and pedestrian crash protection systems in all vehicles. It also hopes to eliminate headlights that received poor grades during testing, making night driving more dangerous for drivers and pedestrians.

Due to the changes, only 48 vehicles qualified for an award this year. Only 28 cars, trucks, and SUVs earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award, and only 20 earned the IIHS Top Safety Pick award. Upon announcing the changes for 2022, 101 vehicles qualified, and 65 of those earned the Top Safety Pick Plus award.

Testing is ongoing for more 2023 IIHS Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick Plus awards, but the 2023 Kia Telluride is the lone winner from the automaker for now.


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