ARLINGTON, VA - The Kia Forte is now the third model from Hyundai/Kia to earn the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top safety designation for 2010.
The Kia Soul and Hyundai Sonata are the other Top Safety Pick winners.
To win the IIHS award, vehicles must earn the top rating of "good" for front, side, rollover and rear impact protection and have electronic stability control (ESC), which is standard on the Forte.
The Forte, a new small car introduced for the 2010 model year, replaces the Kia Spectra. The Spectra was rated "acceptable" for frontal crash protection and "marginal" for side crash protection by the institute. ESC wasn't available even as an option on the Spectra.
But Kia made changes to the Forte to earn "good" ratings in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's front and side tests. The Top Safety Pick award applies to Fortes built after October 2009.