Is Mitsubishi’s safety rating on small SUVs better than Kia’s?

Mitsubishi and Kia both earned top safety awards in 2017, but the Mitsubishi Outlander won overall. The average cost of auto insurance for SUVs is 18% higher than other cars.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 22, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Small SUVs are a perfect fit for many people
  • Mitsubishi is the second largest South Korean company and produces high-quality cars such as the Outlander model
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety breaks down their tests into crashworthiness, crash prevention, and child seat anchors
  • Kia has climbed towards the top of the market in Japan, as well as worldwide, due to its successful models such as the Sportage

With more drivers, there is more pressure on the government to built and modernize roads, traffic laws, and other traffic-related fields.

Since this modernization is a long and tedious procedure, however, one must rely on purchasing the safest vehicle that will be useful in dangerous times.

A clear example is an SUV model that provides spaciousness mixed with power and speed.

As the majority of the United States population shares this opinion, the market for SUVs takes over 60 percent of the overall new vehicles sold nationwide. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been able to demonstrate the safety of these new models.

Compare car insurance quotes to find the best rate for the coverage you need. Enter your zip code into our free rate tool above to begin.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety examines three areas of vehicle safety:

  • Crashworthiness is the first area reviewed by the Virginia-based company. It is based on a couple of subsequent tests that assess safety during an accident and comes with a four-grade rating scale (poor, marginal, acceptable, and good).
  • Crash prevention aims to quantify how well a vehicle “thinks,” in a way, and record their reactions to potential threats. Grades are broken down into basic, advanced, and superior.
  • Child anchors are the easiest category to review as one only takes a look at the accessibility. The grades are the same as in crashworthiness.


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Mitsubishi Outlander Versus Kia Sportage


Since the Institute implemented the small overlap collision test for the passenger side, there has only been a few models that obtained a good score. One of those vehicles is Kia Sportage, which completes this vehicle’s perfect record of six “good” scores for the crashworthiness area.

Mitsubishi, unfortunately, was not so successful as its passenger side small overlap test never got rated, so the buyer will not get informed on the capabilities for this test.

Nonetheless, Outlander still received five “good” scores for all other tests and stayed competitive with its comparison opponent.

These vehicles have great capabilities when it comes to minimizing the injuries that the driver will be exposed to. The cabin intrusion was only a few inches which was not sufficient to cause severe lower limbs problems, and the roof’s strength ratio was above four for each car.

As far as the winner, Kia was more dominant as it had an extra good score that Mitsubishi has not had a chance to receive yet.

Crash Prevention & Mitigation

The comparison gets even more unpredictable when one realizes that crash prevention abilities were superior for both cars. Each model scored all six points available.

Not only did these two automobiles detect danger and auto brake to reduce their speed, they also completely avoided the collision in both the low and high-speed scenarios. 

Unfortunately for the South Korean model, its dominance did not last too long as the car received a poor grade for its headlights. The four tests that are used to quantify how well these work all deemed Sportage’s visibility as inadequate.

Also, the glare limits were exceeded by a large margin.

The Japanese manufacturer did a lot better since its headlights only had issues in the gradual left curve. This performance gave it an acceptable score that put it in the first position for the comparison.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

The test was finished similarly to the way it started, very even between the cars. Both models’ anchors were acceptable and some common issues included other hardware that can be mistaken for a latch as well as the location that is too deep in the seat.

Regardless of those minor discrepancies, one can give props to each brand for ensuring that the small SUVs are still very capable of hosting a child seat that is required by law.

2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+

The way a car will qualify for either of the two awards is based solely on the performance. Top Safety Pick award is given to those vehicles with perfect crashworthiness and superior or advanced crash prevention.

The Plus award requires the same standards to be met, as well as an acceptable or good score for headlights.

Luckily, this comparison featured a vehicle from each of these categories. Mitsubishi Outlander won the Top Safety Pick Plus, while Kia Sportage received the Top Safety Pick award since its headlights were poor.

There does seem to be a type of a trade-off between Kia’s amazing crashworthiness abilities and shortcomings in the area of headlights.

To be fair, however, one must take into account that Mitsubishi just lacked the scores, not that they were negative. So, there is still a chance for the South Korean vehicle to get a good score for the passenger side.

On the other hand, headlights’ review was completed and Kia miserably failed at it. For these reasons, one must acknowledge the Outlander as the final winner even though Sportage came very close.

As a part of a new purchase, one will have to prepare for other costs such as:

Insurance tends to be paid semi-annually, with some exceptions, and a rule of thumb is that the newer cars will come with a larger premium.

To save the most money one can, websites that have already done the research on insurance companies should be considered. This way, one can glance through different providers and find the best fitting quota for themselves!

Compare car insurance quotes right here using our free rate tool below.

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