Is Audi’s safety rating on small SUVs better than Volkswagen’s?

The Audi Q3 was given better ratings by the IIHS than the Volkswagen Tiguan, but it was not a Top Safety Pick. Safety features can lower auto insurance rates by up to 8%.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 9, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Even though the Audi Q3 and the Volkswagen Tiguan are both created by the same parent company, they are not the same car
  • The Audi Q3 sits higher on the IIHS rankings for safe cars than the Volkswagen Tiguan does
  • Neither vehicle has a Top Safety Pick award, but the Q3 is a safer choice

For years, people have thought of Audi and Volkswagen as the same company because they are owned by the same company. People will often compare the Volkswagen Models like the Tiguan to the models that are offered by Audi.

While the Audi Q3 may have some similarities to the Volkswagen Tiguan, it is a different vehicle with a much different safety rating.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is a nonprofit organization that uses standardized safety and crash tests to help determine how safe a vehicle is.

They regularly compare vehicles within the same class, but they use the same testing standards for every class of vehicle.

By looking at the different vehicles within a class, it can give a buyer the chance to see how safe one is compared to the others. Use our FREE comparison tool to find auto insurance quotes today!

The Role of Safety Ratings

Even though a vehicle is determined the safest by the IIHS, that might not be the case for the vehicle while it’s on the road.

While the IIHS does their best to help make their ratings as accurate as possible, there are some instances where they cannot test every safety feature.

Drivers should think about safety ratings but they should also do research to determine if the vehicle is really right for them even if it is safe.

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IIHS Safety Ratings

To get an accurate idea of what a vehicle is able to do and how safe it is, the IIHS uses ratings that include poor, marginal, acceptable and good. The vehicles that do not fare well in crash tests are the ones who receive the worst scores.

Some vehicles may not be able to be tested or they may not have the equipment the IIHS is testing in each area.

When a vehicle is unable to be tested, the IIHS uses that as part of their score. Having a vehicle that has not received a rating for any one category can actually bring down the overall score of the vehicle, but it may not have an effect on the categorical score for the vehicle.

The Tiguan and the Q3 both had some areas that were unable to be rated since the IIHS could not collect the data on them.


The IIHS has several different tests they perform to determine the safety of a vehicle during a crash. They do side-impact crashes and frontal crashes. In addition, they do rollover crashes to test the integrity and strength of the roof.

The Audi Q3 and the Tiguan did no have scores for the small overlap frontal crash on the passenger side, and many SUVs struggle in that area.

They did have a difference of scores for the driver’s side, though with the Q3 scoring a Good while the Tiguan scored a Marginal. They both scored Good in the moderate front, the side, the roof strength, and the restraint tests.


Crash Avoidance and Mitigation

To determine if a vehicle is able to avoid a crash, the IIHS puts the vehicle in a potential collision situation going both 12 MPH and 25 MPH. They test the warning system and the brakes.

The headlights are tested using a road test to determine if they have the reach the NHSTA has put into place and the IIHS requires to score Good.

There was no information available for the Audi Q3 or the Volkswagen Tiguan. Since there was no information available, it brought down the scores of both vehicles and made them ineligible for the Top Safety Pick awards.

Just because the information is not available does not mean the vehicles do not have it; the IIHS was just unable to test the system.

For the headlight test, the Q3 scored a poor because it had inadequate visibility using the low beams. The high beams were adequate, but it was only with optional equipment. The Tiguan scored an acceptable because it had fair visibility on straightaways and curves.


The National Highway Trafic Safety Administration has the LATCH systems for vehicles approved before they are put in. Overall, the systems are extremely safe and exceed any standards the IIHS may be able to set.

The IIHS likes to look at how easy they are to use to determine if people will actually be using them the correct way.

For the Tiguan and the Q3, the LATCH systems were both acceptable. They were in the same spots on both vehicles since the interiors are laid out similarly.

The only problem the IIHS found with both vehicles was the LATCH system was close to other hardware making it difficult to tell the difference.

Buying Your Vehicle

Choosing a vehicle isn’t all about safety even though it is important to most people. Before making the decision on a vehicle by asking yourself a few questions such as:

  • What will the vehicle cost upfront?
  • What is the average cost for the lifetime of the vehicle?
  • How much will it cost to insure the vehicle?
  • Will the vehicle still be a good choice if there are life changes?

Once you have satisfied all of these questions, then you can begin looking at the safety factors and how they tie into your vehicle. Use our FREE comparison tool to find auto insurance quotes today!

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