The addition of an optional automatic emergency braking system has elevated the Kia Sorento to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's highest crash test assessment level, Top Safety Pick+.
The 2016 Sorento earned top marks in terms of its crashworthiness, but it only qualified for Top Safety Pick because it lacked a system that could automatically apply the vehicle's brakes in the event of an impending collision. That feature was added for the 2017 model year, where it is an option on all trim levels except the base Sorento L.
Sorento LX and SX models bundle automatic braking with the Advanced Technology Package, while the EX includes the feature with the Advanced Touring Package.
The IIHS requires a vehicle to receive a top rating in all of its measured tests—small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraints—to qualify as a Top Safety Pick. Adding the Pick+ requires an effective automatic emergency braking system capable of stopping the vehicle before it hits a barrier from 12 and 25 mph without driver intervention.
IIHS says that a 2017 Sorento without one of those packages will remain rated as a Top Safety Pick. The least expensive way to opt up to a Sorento with automatic braking—and, thus, one that qualifies as a Top Safety Pick+—is $32,780, which nets buyers a front-wheel-drive LX with the Advanced Technology Package.
The Sorento joins the Honda Pilot, the Hyundai Santa Fe, and the Toyota Highlander as mid-size SUVs with three rows of seating that qualify for its top rating.