2018 Hyundai Accent, 2018 Kia Rio pass stringent IIHS crash test

July 6, 2018

The redesigned 2018 Hyundai Accent and 2018 Kia Rio subcompact cars scored a key win in the IIHS' challenging small-overlap frontal crash test, garnering a "Good" rating for the driver side and an “Acceptable” rating  for the passenger side, the insurance industry-funded organization said Tuesday.

The small-overlap test simulates impact with an object such as a utility pole. In some cars, the test has revealed major discrepencies between how cars protect drivers and front passengers. The 2018 Rio and 2018 Accent are the first subcompact cars to have been subjected to the test on the passenger side and their "Acceptable" score reflects only a small difference.

MORE: Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer flunk passenger-side crash test

The Korean subcompacts are essentially the same car beneath their sheetmetal and the latest models delivered far better results than the “Poor” and “Marginal” ratings the Hyundai and Kia, respectively, earned the last time around. Last year's models were not tested in the passenger-side test.

Small front overlap tests have been a struggle for many recent small cars and SUVs, as the test is fairly new and many models lacked the structural integrity to receive high marks. Vehicles are crashed into a corner barrier at 40 mph on either side head on to test the ability of the car’s frame to protect front seat occupants.

Despite the improvement in crash test performance and an optional automatic emergency braking system that earned a “Superior” rating from the IIHS, both models missed out on Top Safety Pick awards because of poor headlight performance from the halogen headlights fitted every Rio and Accent model, regardless of trim level.

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