Kia 's 2018 Soul small wagon and 2018 Sportage compact SUV have earned Top Safety Pick Plus awards in testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety — though the top headlight and front collision scores are limited to higher trim levels and option packages.
Related: What's the Best Compact SUV for 2017?
Both earned the required good scores in all five IIHS crashworthiness tests, including moderate overlap front, small overlap front, side impact, roof strength, and head restraints and seats.
They also earned the top superior rating for their available front collision systems with automatic emergency braking, beating the required advanced score. Both systems avoided a collision at 12 mph in IIHS track tests; the Sportage avoided a collision in the 25-mph collision avoidance test, while the Soul system reduced the impact speed by an average of 24 mph.
Both vehicles qualified for Plus status, which requires an acceptable or good score for headlights. The best available system for the Soul earned a good rating and the best available Sportage system rated acceptable.
The 2018 Soul improves on results for the 2017 model, which also had good crashworthiness scores but was not a Top Safety Pick because it offered only a front collision warning and not the required collision avoidance technology. The 2017 Sportage was a Top Safety Pick but failed to get Plus status because the available headlight systems were rated poor.
Getting one of these Kia vehicles with the top-scoring collision avoidance and headlight systems will require careful shopping, however. The Soul offers the collision system with automatic braking on the mid-level Soul Plus trim in an option package, but it does not offer it on the top-level Soul Exclaim with the upgraded 1.6-liter turbo Used Engine . And on the Soul Plus, it requires adding $6,000 in two option packages to the $21,195 starting price with destination.
The Sportage makes the collision system available on all but the base trim level; it's optional on the EX and standard on the top SX. But the best headlight score applies not only to a higher trim level, but also only to revised headlights on vehicles built after June 2017 (the build month and year can be found on the driver door or pillar).
Among the Soul's potential rivals, the 2018 Toyota C-HR has not yet been rated by IIHS, while the 2018 Subaru Crosstrek is also a Top Safety Pick Plus. The Sportage's top IIHS rating equals the top ratings for the 2018 Toyota RAV4 and Subaru Forester as well as the 2017 Hyundai Tucson and Honda CR-V.
's Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with 's long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don't accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of 's advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.