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The 2021 Kia Seltos Is Safe, But Not Safe Enough

The Kia Seltos is a compact crossover that’s packed full of handy features and safety tech. However, it unfortunately didn’t live up to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s safety standards as it narrowly missed the mark for being a “Top Safety Pick,” which is an esteemed rating in the automotive world. But that doesn’t mean that the 2021 Kia Seltos isn’t safe, it is, it’s just not safe enough.

Why didn’t the Kia Seltos get a Top Safety Pick award?

If you happen to be in the market for a Kia Seltos then you’ll be happy to know that the small crossover comes equipped with six airbags, a rollover sensor, electronic stability control, and traction control as standard equipment. When you step up to the higher trim levels, you’ll get some additional safety in the form of driver-assist features like blind-spot detection and auto-emergency braking technology.

That last feature, along with the auto-emergency braking system found on the lower trims, were responsible for the Seltos getting “superior” marks from the IIHS under the “vehicle-to-vehicle” and “vehicle-to-pedestrian” categories.

However, the Kia Seltos failed when it came to its headlight as the IIHS gave it a “poor” rating in that category. According to the IIHS, the car failed the category due to “inadequate illumination on curves,” which is surprising, considering there are three different headlight packages available. But unfortunately, all three lighting options received the “poor” rating.

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The Seltos just barely missed the mark

On the bright side, the 2021 Kia Seltos did receive “good” ratings in all six of the IIHS’s other categories. These segments include the driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof-strength, and head restraint tests. Autoblog noted that, had the Kia Seltos received one “acceptable” or “good” headlight rating, it would have received a 2020 Top Safety Pick Award.

And if it scored a “good” or “acceptable” headlight rating across the board, then the Seltos would have received the more-coveted Top Safety Pick + award. The Kia Niro is the only model in the brand’s lineup that currently holds the Top Safety Pick + award, while others in the line, including the Kia Stinger and Telluride, have been awarded a Top Safety Pick.

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What does this mean for the future of the Kia Seltos?

While the Kia Seltos not being able to get the Top Safety Pick award is unfortunate for the model and the automaker, the good news is that it’s still possible for it to get one at a later date. While Kia will likely have to update the car’s lighting technology and possibly roll it out during a minor refresh, they at least will have another shot after they can make the update. Of course, considering the Seltos is a brand-new model, it’s going to take some time before that actually happens.

For now, if you’re in the market for a Kia Seltos, then we suggest that it’s still a worthy competitor in the segment and it’s other features more than make up for its available headlights. Besides, it’s not like you’ll need to see around corners most of the time unless you’re on a winding back road at night time, which most drivers usually are not.