Crash Test Ratings Boosted for 2015 Kia Soul and Forte
The 2015 Kia Soul and Kia Forte have improved their performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small-overlap crash test because Kia made changes to these two models, as Joseph Capparella reports for Automobile. Kia strengthened the front end and occupant compartments in the two models, according to an IIHS press release.
The Soul, which IIHS had previously rated “Poor” in the small-overlap test, has now garnered a “Good” rating in that test, Capparella writes, and has achieved an overall “Top Safety Pick” rating, because it also rated “Good” in the IIHS’s moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests. However, the Soul is not rated a Top Safety Pick Plus because it lacks frontal collision warning technology, Capparella writes.
Similar improvements that Kia made to its 2015 Forte model boosted that car’s IIHS crash test rating from four stars to five, but despite the changes, the car is rated only “marginal” in the small-overlap test, just a notch above its previous “Poor” rating. Cars need to have ratings of “Acceptable” in IIHS’s small-overlap test, and “Good” in all the Institute’s other tests in order to earn a Top Safety Pick rating, Capparella writes.
IIHS writes that in spite of Kia’s strengthening of the Forte’s occupant compartment, the crash-test dummy did not emerge injury-free:
[T]he driver’s space wasn’t maintained well, with intrusion approaching 8 inches at the lower hinge pillar. The dummy’s head slid off the frontal airbag and struck the instrument panel, as the safety belt allowed too much forward motion. The side airbag also lacked sufficient coverage to protect the head. Nevertheless, injury measures on the dummy were low.
Capparella points out that the similar ratings of competing compact cars may prompt further improvements in Kia models:
There’s no word yet on whether Kia will make further structural upgrades to the Forte to improve its performance, but we wouldn’t be surprised if a quick fix is already in the works given that nearly all of the Forte’s compact competitors are rated Top Safety Pick, including the Volkswagen Golf, Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, and Mazda 3.
As this blog has written, in the small-overlap test, a car is driven at 40 mph into a 5-foot-high rigid barrier, such that only 25% of the driver’s side of the vehicle makes contact with that barrier. The test is a simulation of crashes in which two vehicles collide where one driver might cross the center line, or where a vehicle might crash into a tree or pole.
In other Kia news, the carmaker is installing new charging stations in Europe for its 2015 Soul Electric Vehicle, according to Kia Buzz, Kia’s official corporate blog; and Kia has introduced a new smart watch for Korean buyers of the K3, the Korean-made version of the Kia Forte, as ConsumerReports.org writes.
Here is a video of the 2015 Kia Soul small overlap crash test: