This year, we've seen the release of the 2021 Kia Sorento, the fourth generation of the Sorento model by South-Korean car manufacturer Kia. All-around, this is a very impressive seven-seater SUV, but that's not the main thing people are talking about.
Not only is it a ‘safe car’, but many people regard this SUV as one of the safest cars in Australia. No doubt that’s because of the 5-star ANCAP rating it received not too long ago.
5-star ratings are all well and good, but it’s essential to understand what that rating means, how the 2021 Kia Sorento earned it, and why it matters to the average car buyer.
That’s why, in this article, we’re going to take a deep dive to understand what makes the 2021 Kia Sorento one of the safest cars in the country.
The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP)
Firstly, let’s take a quick look at the ANCAP rating that’s got everyone talking. ANCAP stands for the Australasian New Car Assessment Program. Simply put, their job is to test and rate the cars that are to go on sale in the Australasian region.
We’re not going to go into too much detail about ANCAP here, so you can find out more by reading this previous article. It’s important to note that ANCAP continually updates its safety standards every year, though, so bear that in mind if you’re reading it after 2020.
For now, the only thing that you need to know is that ANCAP has given the 2021 Kia Sorento a five-star safety rating. That’s the maximum star rating they give out to any vehicle!
The ANCAP score is broken down into several categories, most of which the Sorento scored exceptional points.
How the 2021 Kia Sorento Scored Under ANCAP
To know what makes this one of the safest cars in Australia, you need to look deeper at the ANCAP categories in which it scored high.
Firstly, the Sorento broke records by scoring 89% in the Safety Assist category. That’s the highest that any car has ever scored in that ANCAP category!
Also, the car did well in other categories, namely the Adult Occupation Protection (scoring 82%) and Child Occupation Protection (scoring 85%) categories.
There is one category where the Sorento scored relatively low: the Vulnerable Road User Protection category. Here, the car only got a 63% score.
Some sources say that the score was lowered because the Sorento’s Autonomous Emergency Brake (AEB) doesn’t have the ability to detect pedestrians at the rear of the car.
Just by looking at the ANCAP scores, it’s easy to see that the vehicle does a great job at protecting occupants inside the car, but less so for people on the outside.
How the 2021 Kia Sorento Scored So High
Overall, the 2021 Kia Sorento benefits from its very well-thought-out design. Plus, some outstanding safety features helped it earn those high ANCAP ratings.
The exceptional 89% score for the Safety Assist category was largely due to how the Kia included driver attention monitoring and an autonomous braking system as a standard feature for the new Sorento.
When it comes to the high Adult Occupation Protection score, you can attribute that to the centre airbag, which stops front occupants from hitting each other if another vehicle hits it from the side.
These features went a long way towards contributing to the 2021 Sorento’s overall success.
Where the 2021 Kia Sorento Could Improve
As mentioned earlier, the Sorento scored relatively low when it came to Vulnerable Road User Protection. That is the category that looks at how safe a car is in regards to pedestrians and cyclists; i.e. other people on the road who are at most risk for getting hurt.
Here’s where you can see the precision of ANCAP’s evaluation. The Sorento lost points because ANCAP found the car provided inadequate protection to the pelvis and head of pedestrians. In particular, it seems that the part most harmful to pedestrians’ heads is the base of the Sorento’s stiff A-pillars.
What 2021 Kia Sorento Variants Does the 5-star ANCAP Rating Apply To?
At the time of writing this article, the high ANCAP rating only applies to the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel, AWD variant of the 2021 Kia Sorento.
For the time being, ANCAP has yet to issue a rating for the FWD 3.5-litre petrol V6 or hybrid variants of the 2021 Kia Sorento.
Of course, nothing is certain, but it seems safe to bet that those variants will also score high in ANCAP’s safety categories.
How high? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Safety Features in the 2021 Kia Sorento
All things considered, it’s evident that the 2021 Kia Sorento is a dream-come-true for car buyers who can’t get enough of safety features.
For starters, as you already know, the car is packed with loads of driver-assist technologies, all bundled under the title of Kia Drive Wise Driver Assist Technology.
These include auto emergency braking as mentioned before, as well as lane-keeping, lane-following, rear occupant alert, driver attention warning, and high beam assist.
There’s no shortage of airbags either. The front, side, and rear of the interior, plus the side curtain, and even the driver’s knees all have airbags.
Undoubtedly, all of these safety features working together in harmony is the reason behind the 2021 Kia Sorento getting the high ANCAP scores that it earned.
The 2021 Kia Sorento: The Car to Watch
Still, only the turbo-diesel variant enjoys the 5-star ANCAP rating for now. If you're keen on the other variants, it's definitely worth keeping your eye on this car.
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By Ray Hasbollah