Is Buick’s safety rating on small SUVs better than Ford’s?

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Things to remember...
  • The Ford Escape comes with a difficult-to-use child safety LATCH
  • The Buick Encore was not graded on its headlights in 2017
  • Neither Ford nor Buick won any safety awards or come with any insurance discounts
  • Both the Buick and the Ford scored low ratings on front crash prevention tests


What do you look for in a new vehicle? Is size the most important thing to you, or do you prefer something with better gas mileage? There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to what you look for in a new vehicle.

Everyone has different wants, needs, and tastes, which is why some people prefer the Buick Encore and some people prefer the Ford Escape when shopping for a small SUV.

What you want and need depends on the size of your family, the size of your budget, and the things you enjoy doing the most.

Ford and Buick both have their ups and downs, as does any vehicle on the market. The Buick offers a few more features as standard than the Ford, but the Ford comes with a lower price than the Buick.

Whether or not you are looking for upgrades or a lower sticker price is personal, but it’s probably safe to assume you’re looking for a great discount on insurance as well as the added benefit of driving a vehicle that keeps you and your family safe on the road.

Unfortunately, you’re not getting the added benefit of an insurance discount with either the Buick or Ford’s small SUV. Both have a myriad of good safety ratings, but not good enough to elicit any awards.

When insurance companies look at safety ratings, they offer discounts for those that perform well in crash tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grades the safety of all vehicles on the road, and neither the Ford nor the Buick performed outstandingly in any safety categories.

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Safety Categories for Small SUVs

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There are three main categories of safety tested by the IIHS in all small SUVs. Each of these three is then broken down into subcategories.

Each of the subcategories receives a rating from the IIHS to show how well it performed in various crash tests:

  • Crashworthiness tests the head restraints and seats, the side, the roof strength, the moderate overlap front, and the small overlap front
  • Crash avoidance and mitigation tests the front crash prevention and the headlights
  • Child seat anchors test the latch system in the back of each small SUV

Safety Ratings and Grades

The IIHS crashes each of these vehicles and then provides a letter to determine the overall success of each crash rating. This works a lot like going to school and receiving a letter grade for each assignment you do.

There is only one best grade, and the rest are just leading up to that or showing how unprepared you were for said assignment. The same goes for the IIHS’ letter grades:

  • “G” Good – This is the best rating a vehicle can earn
  • “A” Acceptable This is the second best rating a vehicle can earn
  • “M” Marginal This means a vehicle has a ways to go
  • “P” Poor This is the worst rating a vehicle can earn

As for the front crash prevention category, a letter grade does not apply. Instead, the IIHS uses three different rankings. Basic, advanced, and superior rankings are given to each vehicle as their front crash prevention tests come in.

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Ford Escape vs. Buick Encore

Both Ford and Buick fail to receive any awards for their safety ratings. The Ford was rated in all categories, but the Buick’s headlights were not rated in this test.

Overall, the Buick performs far better in all categories, which makes it the clear winner in this competition.

However, consumers will not receive any insurance discounts for either due to lack of safety awards.

– Buick Encore Ratings

The Buick Encore scored phenomenally across the board save for one category. The results of the front crash prevention category failed to impress testers, and that caused this vehicle to miss out on a Top Safety Pick Award.

The Buick received all “G” ratings in the crashworthiness category and an “A” rating in the latch system. It ranks a very low basic score in the front crash prevention, however.

– Ford Escape

The Ford Escape’s ratings were good in all categories but two. With ratings of “G” in all the crashworthiness categories except small front overlap front with an “A,” this vehicle did well in this category.

However, the latch system is rated marginal, the headlights are acceptable, and the front crash prevention is a very low basic.

Choosing the Best Small SUV

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While Buick has better safety ratings all around, both are going to provide you with various features that might make your family happy. If you have kids, you probably want the Buick with its better safety features and “A” rating for the latch.

If you don’t have kids, the marginal rating on the LATCH system in the Ford won’t bother you.

This is why it’s important you understand that these safety tests are important, but they’re not meant to be the sole deciding factor when you buy a new car.

If you’re looking for insurance discounts, you won’t find them for safety in these vehicles. What you can do is look to see which features your vehicle has and ask for discounts for those.

For example, if you have parking assist, a rear back-up camera, or even a lane-notification system on your small SUV, you might get a small discount for that. They help keep you safer on the road, and insurance companies like to reward that.

By comparing rates, fuel costs, maintenance costs, and warranties in addition to vehicle price, it’s easier to determine whether the Buick or the Ford is a better small SUV for you. Use our FREE quote tool today!

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