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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, is one of the main organizations that analyzes how safe a car is. It recently published its 2023 list of cars that won its coveted Top Safety Pick award, and surprisingly, only one Kia model made the list. Praised as one of the best Kia models, the Telluride has plenty of reasons why you should check it out, including its dedication to safety. Here’s a look at what the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick list actually is and the one Kia model that made it. 

What the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick list is

The IIHS is one of the two major organizations that perform crash tests on cars in America, and it has a comprehensive testing procedure. The cars are crash tested from multiple angles and are given a score ranging from poor, marginal, acceptable, and good. The company also tests out the smart safety features many cars have nowadays.

Those smart safety features are graded on a three-point scale, and they range from basic to advanced and finally superior. The cars that performed the best across these tests are given a Top Safety Pick award, but there are some specific criteria that they have to meet.

The cars must have a “good” rating on the front crash tests, and they must get an “acceptable” or better rating for the side crash tests and for their headlights. 

Furthermore, the cars must have an “advanced” or better rating for their daytime pedestrian crash prevention system. The Top Safety Pick+ award is the highest honor that the IIHS gives out, and it has similar requirements, though it’s stricter in a few areas.

In order to get this award, the car must have a “good” rating for the side crash tests, and it must also have an “advanced” or better rating for its nighttime pedestrian crash prevention system. This year, the only Kia Top Safety Pick is the Kia Telluride.

The 2023 Telluride is the only Kia model that made the list

Due to those strict requirements, the Telluride was the only Kia Top Safety Pick that made the list at all. That said, it won the Top Safety Pick+ award, so it did very well even though other Kia models didn’t make the cut.

This is also an improvement from the prior model year, as the Telluride failed to get the Top Safety Pick+ award due to it not being up to par on the side crash tests.

The South Korean automaker seems to have fixed that issue and then some, as the Telluride got the top score in every testing category. It received a “good” rating in almost every single subcategory too, and it only got an “acceptable” score on two side crash test subcategories.

In terms of its smart safety features, it also received a “superior” rating on both its daytime and nighttime pedestrian crash prevention systems. 

The midsize SUV category had a lot of other good winners

The Kia Telluride competes in the midsize SUV segment, and it’s a popular segment with a lot of tough competition. Seven other SUVs won a Top Safety Pick award, and five of those winners got the Top Safety Pick+ award. Notably, the Hyundai Palisade, which is an almost identical SUV to the Telluride, also won a Top Safety Pick+ award.

The Toyota Highlander, the Nissan Pathfinder, and the Subaru Ascent are other midsize SUVs that won a Top Safety Pick+ award. The Volkswagen ID.4 stands out from its peers as it also won a Top Safety Pick+ award, but unlike its rivals, it’s a fully electric SUV. The two midsize SUVs that only won a Top Safety Pick award were the Mazda CX-9 and the Ford Explorer. 

If you want a Kia Top Safety Pick, your options this year are limited to just the 2023 Kia Telluride. However, it’s hard to do much better than that if you’re left with just one option.


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