December 21, 2004

Kia Spectra receives ‘poor’ rating in crash test

Arlington, Virginia – The Mazda3 was the best performer and the Kia Spectra was the worst in a recent series of frontal offset crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Mazda3 earned a good rating and the added designation of “best pick” for frontal crash protection. The Hyundai Elantra also earned a good overall rating, but only after three tests revealed two design problems that led to recalls. The Suzuki Forenza and Saturn Ion are rated acceptable, and the Kia Spectra earned the lowest rating of poor.

“The Kia Spectra’s poor performance was a surprise,” says Institute chief operating officer Adrian Lund. “Most manufacturers have figured out how to design vehicles to do a good job of protecting people in frontal crashes. Kia lags behind its competitors.”

The Kia is the first vehicle the Institute has rated poor in a frontal crash test since 2001.

The ratings reflect performance in a 40 mph frontal offset crash test into a deformable barrier. Based on the results, the Institute evaluates the crashworthiness of passenger vehicles, assigning each vehicle a rating from good overall to poor. The better performers among the vehicles with good ratings receive the added designation of “best pick.” If a vehicle earns a good rating, it means that in a real-world crash of similar severity a belted driver most likely would be able to walk away with only minor injuries.

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