The 2018 Kia Rio, which underwent a redesign for the current model year, improved its crash test rating with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The compact sedan, which shares the same platform as the Hyundai Accent, earned a top-level “Good” rating for the IIHS’ driver-side small overlap front crash test. This is one of the hardest tests for vehicles to pass.
Before the redesign, the Rio earned a “Marginal” rating, while the Accent earned a “Poor” rating. The last test on both was performed on 2013 models. The Rio had 11 inches of intrusion at the lower door hinge pillar while steering column movement allowed the dummy’s head to slide off the airbag.
The 2018 Rio saw much better results. The updated design and improved structural integrity allowed for minimal intrusion. The seat belts and airbags controlled the dummy’s movements well in the cabin during the crash.
The passenger-side test did show areas where the Rio could improve. The front airbag didn’t work well enough controlling the dummy’s head movements. The head barely contacted the airbag, sliding off to the right and leaving it vulnerable to contact with the forward structure.
While the 2018 Kia Rio did improve its safety rating, the IIHS didn’t give it or the 2018 Accent a Top Safety Pick award due to the sedan’s underwhelming headlights. Those earned a “Poor” rating – the lowest possible – due to substandard visibility. The Rio earned a “Good” rating in the side impact, roof strength, moderate front overlap, and head restraints and seats crash tests.