The IIHS said last week that the 2018 Kia Niro is among the safest cars it has tested, at least when equipped with optional active-safety gear and headlights.
The insurance industry-funded crash-testers found that the Niro and Niro Plug-In Hybrid both have a strong safety structure and they hold occupants in place well during a crash. Importantly, the Niros performed just as well when the challenging small-overlap front crash test was performed on the passenger's side as they did on the driver's side.
Several crossover SUVs have come under fire from the IIHS for safety structures that protect drivers better than they do passengers.
The 2018 Niro only earns the Top Safety Pick+ award when it is fitted with HID headlights and automatic emergency braking, however, meaning shoppers will need to be prepared to spend more for the safest model.
That means that the base Niro FE, LX, and EX trim levels aren't as highly rated. Kia fits automatic emergency braking as standard equipment on the Niro Touring trim level and it is optional on the LX and EX. Automatic emergency braking is standard on the Niro Plug-In Hybrid, too.
The IIHS' new headlight performance test found that the halogen reflector lights used in the Niro Plug-In and the Niro FE, LX, and EX rated "Poor" in the agency's testing. The HID projector headlights standard on the Niro Touring and included with the Premium package that's optional on the Niro EX rate "Good," however.
In short: the least-expensive 2018 Kia Niro to earn the Top Safety Pick+ award runs about $32,800.