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SAFETY | 9 out of 10
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'Good,' frontal, side, and rear impact; 'good,' roof strength; Top Safety Pick
We don't really expect to have a great view out the back in crossover SUVs anymore. Lacking rear-quarter windows, the 2011 Kia Sportage is no exception in this regard.
The large A- and C-pillars reduce visibility somewhat, but it's pretty easy to get used to.
The 2012 Kia Sportage has plenty going for it with respect to safety. Its feature list is stocked with items that safety-minded folks in northern climates will appreciate--and so far, it's achieved an excellent set of safety ratings.
Dual front, side and curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; and stability control are standard in all Sportage models. In addition, they have standard hill-start assist and downhill brake assist, which aid and abet all-traction capability. Rear parking sensors and a rearview camera are available in option packages on some but not in all models. We recommend them, as there are some big blind spots and rearward visibility is s weakness.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the Sportage high crash-test scores: the front-drive model earns four stars overall, while the all-wheel-drive models get five stars overall. The compact ute gets top 'good' ratings across the board from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)—and it's earned the Top Safety Pick designation as a result.
Rearward visibility is the only blemish on the 2012 Sportage's very solid set of safety credentials.