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The 2015 Kia Sorento this week scored the fifth-highest safety crash test score in ANCAP history with a mark of 36.62 out of a possible 37, making it the safest SUV in Australia.

This puts the Kia Sorento at a safety rating above any model from the Japanese brands and even the likes of Audi. Only the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz B-Class, Volvo V40 and Hyundai Genesis have scored higher.

However, this latter pair also scored their ratings in 2012 and 2014 respectively, and ANCAP progressively scales up its testing criteria. This makes the Sorento’s score even more impressive, given the Kia faced off against the very latest tests.

For a better comparison, the popular Jeep Grand Cherokee is only a four-star rated car with a safety score of 29.95 out 37, while even the five-star-rated Ford Territory only managed 32.57 out of 37.

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Speaking to CarAdvice at the launch of the new Sorento, Kia Australia’s chief operating officer Damien Meredith said the rating ‘means a lot’ to the brand, but it’s not something Kia will boast about too loudly.

“I think it’s just a responsibility of every manufacturer to get the safest cars as possible on to the market for the consumer, it’s as simple as that,” Meredith said.

Kia will use the safety rating more as part of its new message to consumers, following on from its previous strategy change more than 12 months ago to focus on the product and not the price.

“We have stopped advertising price above the line and we’ve been pretty strong on messaging the value of the vehicle in regards to specification, etcetera, and we will put safety into that message also,” he said.

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The title of the safest SUV in Australia will allow Kia to have yet another competitive edge in the large SUV segment against rivals such as the Toyota Kluger, Ford Territory and Hyundai Santa Fe.

“Commercially what it does, it gives us another magnificent closing tool for the dealers. Seven-year warranty, safest SUV in Australia, seven-year capped priced servicing. It gives us another reason to convince the consumer and customer that we are serious about what we are doing,” Meredith said.

The crashed Kia Sorento was part of Euro NCAP testing, which used a left-hand-drive vehicle. Nonetheless, as is standard industry practise, ANCAP used the same data with the right-hand-drive model taken into account.

This differs from the crash testing of the recently launched Kia Carnival, which scored differently when tested overseas (five stars) than when crashed locally (four stars) due to the foot-operated hand brake intruding into the driver’s foot well.

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In the Carnival’s case, test data came from the United States, while the Sorento’s is from Euro NCAP.

CarAdvice understands the left- to right-hand-drive conversion for the new Carnival didn’t take into account the foot well reinforcement, but the matter is expected to be fixed with updated Carnivals set to arrive later this year. This issue is not present in the new Sorento as the car utilises an electronic park brake.

Check in tomorrow to see our 2015 Kia Sorento review. 




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