2018 Kia Optima modified to ace crash tests

March 18, 2018

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.

MORE: Read our 2018 Kia Optima review

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

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