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The 2020 Kia Telluride has qualified as an IIHS Top Safety Pick, but only the SX trim.

What separates the SX from the LX, S, and EX trim levels comes down to the headlights. The SX's LED headlights received an "adequate" rating which made it eligible for a Top Safety Pick. While the halogen headlights on the other trims received a "poor" rating.

The SUV earned the award, but only when equipped with specific headlights. To qualify as a Top Safety Pick by the IIHS, vehicles must earn "Good" ratings in at least five of the six crashworthiness tests. The Telluride aced all its crash tests, including the newer passenger-side small-overlap crash test that was recently added to the award criteria. The other five crash tests are the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests.

The caveat for the Telluride are its headlights. The 2020 Telluride's Top Safety Pick only applies to models equipped with optional LED headlights. The safety group found the low beams illuminated the roadway well, but created some minor glare. The headlights earned an "Acceptable" rating-just enough to qualify for a Top Safety Pick. The optional headlights also include high-beam assist, which is a system that automatically flicks between low- and high-beams when possible.

All other Telluride models with the standard halogen projectors earned a "Poor" rating.
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