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

When it comes to small SUVs and safety, Toyota’s small SUV safety rating is better than Kia. Safety features can lower auto insurance rates by up to 8%.

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Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates...

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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...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 23, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Toyota’s small SUV safety rating is better than Kia
  • Kia’s latch system is not as easy to use and the headlights are poor
  • Both vehicles are Top Safety Picks in 2017

Both Toyota and Kia have vehicles in the small SUV category, which is popular with drivers. There’s more space in a small SUV than in a sedan, but it’s a vehicle that’s not so big it has a major impact on the gas you use or the money you spend to keep it on the road.

Both vehicles are high on the list of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) top picks, which means they’re great for anyone who wants a safe and useful vehicle.

The IIHS chooses ratings for all vehicles in every category and ranks them in terms of the safety each car provides in various categories.

In addition to providing consumers with an idea of just how safe their car might be if an accident were to occur, you also have a chance to decide what safety features are more important to you than others.

If it’s rated a top safety pick by the IIHS, your SUV might qualify for an insurance discount with several major insurance companies. Ask about it when you compare rates to get a more accurate quote. Enter your zip code above to compare quotes today!

What items are rated by the IIHS?

Small SUVs and other vehicles are rated in three categories that are each broken down into smaller subcategories:

  • Child seat anchors – the IIHS wants to provide consumers with a good idea of how safe and easy it is to use if you have kids.
  • Crash avoidance and mitigation – this is broken down into headlights and front crash prevention.
  • Crashworthiness – this is judged based on the small and moderate overlap, the side strength, the roof strength, and the head and seat restraints. Each one is tested in various crash tests, a score is given, and vehicles are graded. “G” is for good, “A” is for acceptable, “M” is for marginal, and “P” is for poor.

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Toyota RAV4 Safety Ratings

The Toyota RAV4 is the only Toyota model in 2018 that fits into the small SUV category. It’s designed to fit up to five people in two rows with ample trunk space for those who like to travel or pack the car full of anything else.

It’s also a 2017 IIHS Top Safety Pick+, which is the highest possible rating in terms of safety. Mentioning this when you shop around for car insurance policies might get you a lower rate with many companies.

The front crash prevention score is superior, and the Toyota received a “G” rating in every subcategory save for the passenger-side small front overlap and the headlights.

The small overlap on the passenger side received a “P” rating, but the driver side received a “G” rating, which is outstanding. The headlights received an “A” rating.

Kia Sportage Safety Ratings

The Kia Sportage is a four-door small SUV and it is a Top Safety Pick, but it fell just short of being awarded the Top Safety Pick+ rating due to a few smaller issues with specific safety features.

This small SUV is rating “G” in every category but the headlights and LATCH. It’s got superior front crash prevention, but the LATCH only received an “A” rating and the headlights received a dismal “P” rating.

With such a low rating in the headlights category, this small SUV just missed the mark for being safer than other cars in the same class, but it’s still an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Which is better?

It’s obvious the Toyota is a much better safety pick than the Kia, but that doesn’t mean the Kia is not a safe car. The LATCH is a bit more difficult to use when you’re putting your kids in the car, but that doesn’t make it any less secure.

The headlights are not as good as other headlights, but they allow you to see well enough to drive at night.

If you’re choosing between both cars for safety purposes alone, it’s the Toyota you want. Other factors that might influence your decision are:

  • the cost
  • the maintenance
  • the size
  • the additional features you get for the price you’re paying

It’s all relative since some people don’t have kids and the LATCH system isn’t important to them.

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How to Get the Best Insurance Rate with Either Vehicle

If your sole purpose in buying one of these small SUVs is to get the best rate for your insurance policy, you should keep in mind there are other ways to receive discounts after mentioning the safety rating.

Many insurance agents offer discounts for bundling insurance, for having more than one car, and even for commuting fewer than a predetermined number of miles each day.

Your SUV’s safety rating is good for your insurance benefits, but it’s about the safety of your family when you’re on the road.

Just remember you must also be a good driver who follows the rules of the road and doesn’t rely on the impressive safety features and ratings of your SUV to keep you safe on its own.

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