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

The BMW X1 was rated much safer than the Volkswagen Tiguan by the IIHS. The average cost of SUV auto insurance is 18% higher than normal vehicles.

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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: Oct 26, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The BMW X1’s 2017 won a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS
  • Even though the Volkswagen Tiguan did not receive an award, it had relatively safe features
  • An IIHS Top Safety Pick award recipient is able to help drivers save money on the insurance policy they have for the vehicle

The BMW X1 is a vehicle that was created to be luxurious. It is BMW’s answer to the small size SUV and provides drivers with an experience that is different from other small SUVs.

In addition to the performance and safety features of the BMW X1, there are also interior and entertainment features that no other vehicle has.

Even though the company is not a luxury company, the Volkswagen Tiguan was created to be comparable to other luxury vehicles. As a small size SUV, the Volkswagen Tiguan looks and feels like many luxury vehicles that are in the same class.

It is even comparable in appearance to the BMW X1. Make sure no matter which vehicle you choose, you compare rates with our free quote tool above! 

What IIHS Does

The IIHS has worked hard to ensure they are able to offer all the best options for people who are hoping to learn more about the safety of vehicles.

Not only do they cater to consumers who are interested in learning about the vehicle they’re driving but they also help manufacturers figure out what they can do to improve their vehicles. The Institute even has some contact with the government to help them understand which cars are the safest.

To figure out how safe a vehicle is, the IIHS has safety tests they perform. The tests range from checking the headlights on a vehicle to purposely putting the vehicle in a crash and even buckling in a child safety seat.

While the IIHS does these tests, they keep track of the results so they can use them and put them toward the overall safety rating of the vehicle.

The IIHS Crash Tests

The crash tests the IIHS performs involve testing every area of a vehicle that could be affected in an accident. The sides, front, roof and restraints are all tested during this time so the IIHS can record the information from the tests.

They score each of the tests based on a system of poor, marginal, acceptable and good.

For the small overlap front test on the driver’s side, the X1 and the Tiguan scored differently with the X1 receiving a G and the Tiguan receiving an M.

The IIHS did not have any data for the small overlap front on the passenger’s side on the Tiguan or the X1. For each of the other tests, both the vehicles received scores of G.

IIHS Crash Avoidance Measurement

The IIHS tests whether a vehicle will be able to avoid a crash. During these tests, they look at the auto brake system. They also look at the headlights to determine whether the vehicle has headlights that are good enough to see other things coming toward them in different situations.

The BMW X1 received an advanced rating on the crash avoidance test. While it did have the auto brake feature, it did not work going 25 miles per hour. The IIHS did not have any data to use to rate the Volkswagen Tiguan’s crash avoidance.

During the headlight test, the IIHS found the BMW X1 had headlights that were only rated an M because they did not have the same type of reach on the curves as they did on the straightaways.

The Tiguan received a score of A because they had headlights that were only rated as fair but high beams that were rated as efficient. The biggest difference between the two was in that the X1’s headlights only worked on certain drives, but the Tiguan’s high beams worked on any type of road.


IIHS LATCH Ease of Use

It would be nearly impossible for the IIHS to determine whether a LATCH system is safe because they are all made to be the same when it comes to safety. The IIHS does like to measure whether they are likely to be used by the drivers. If they are easy to use, drivers may be more inclined to use them the right way.

The BMW X1 had a LATCH system that scored an A because the LATCH in some of the seats was too deep. It also had an anchor that had to be shared between two seats.

The Tiguan had the same anchor problem, but it received an A because the anchor had other pieces of equipment within the seat that were close to it making it confusing.

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Is the BMW X1 safer than the Volkswagen Tiguan?

The BMW X1 is safer than the Volkswagen Tiguan.

According to the IIHS, the BMW X1 received scores that were significantly higher than what the Tiguan received.

In addition. The BMW X1 was named a 2017 Top Safety Pick award winner by the IIHS.

Is safety all that matters?

Most buyers don’t look at safety as the first thing when they are looking for a new vehicle, but many of them do look at the price tag on the vehicle. Buyers who are shopping for a new vehicle needs to compare the vehicles as well as the insurance costs of the vehicle over time.

The upfront price and the safety of the vehicle may matter to buyers when they are first shopping, but the cost to own the vehicle can have a larger impact throughout the time someone owns a vehicle.

Get a glimpse at the big picture by comparing car insurance quotes with our free quote tool below! Enter your zip code on our site to get started now!

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Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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