After adopting some mid-year changes, the 2018 Kia Optima earned top marks in independent crash-testing last week.
The Optima previously earned the Top Safety Pick Award but now qualifies for the more challenging Top Safety Pick+ after Kia made some changes to improve the mid-size sedan's performance in passenger-side impacts. The Top Safety Pick+ award applies only to models fitted with optional automatic emergency braking and LED headlights.
Built on the same platform as the Hyundai Sonata, the Optima differed from its Hyundai sibling in passenger-side crash-testing until after January production when its passenger-side door sill, lower door-hinge pillar and toepan were reinforced to improve occupant protection in small-overlap crashes.
To qualify for the IIHS' Top Safety Pick+ award, vehicles must earn a "Good" rating in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests; an "Acceptable" or "Good" rating in the passenger-side small overlap test; an "Advanced" or "Superior" rating for front crash prevention; and a "Good" headlight rating.
When track-tested by the IIHS at 12 mph and 25 mph, the Optima successfully avoided collisions.
The Optima’s optional LED headlights can be further upgraded with automatic high-beams. Without that feature, the LED headlights rate "Acceptable". The standard halogen lights on most Optimas earn a poor rating.
-- by Ruben Porras