The Kia Forte took home the 2010 Top Safety Pick, given out by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This is the third model from the Kia/Hyundai brand to win the rating for 2010, following the Kia Soul and the Hyundai Sonata.
To be considered for this award, vehicles must earn the top rating of "good" for front, side, rollover, and rear impact protection. This year also marks the first time a vehicle has to achieve a good performance in its roof strength test to measure protection in the case of a rollover. The vehicle's overall evaluation was determined on a variety of measurements specific to each crash angle, and overall impact on crash test dummies inside the vehicle at the time of collision. As well, to receive a Top Pick, the car needs to have electronic stability control (ESC), a feature that comes standard on the Forte.
In order to qualify for the award, Kia had to make some improvements to the Forte to ensure occupant protection, including revisions to its B-pillar and its roof. If you're in the market for the Forte, be aware that this rating only applies to Fortes built after October 2009.
Other safety features the Forte showcases (and comes standard with) include active front headrests, advanced two-stage airbags, front seat-mounted and side curtain airbags, four-wheel disc brakes with an antilock brake system (ABS), brake assist (BAS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), electronic stability control (ESC), a traction control system (TCS) and a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
Fellow small cars joining Forte with a 2010 Top Safety Pick status are the VW Golf, Toyota Corolla, Subaru Impreza, Scion xB and Nissan Cube.
More: Kia Forte Announced as 2010 Top Safety Pick by IIHS on AutoGuide.com