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

Which is safer? Buick Encore or Jeep Compass. Jeep earned a top IIHS safety pick, while Buick didn't make the list. 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 2, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an auto-testing company that evaluates new vehicle’s abilities to prevent and reduce risks of collisions
  • Buick Encore showed a somewhat inconsistent behavior in its safety tests which included a failed crash prevention category, good crashworthiness, and acceptable child latches
  • Jeep Compass is a fine example of a car that will provide a smooth and effortless drive. The vehicle excels in crash prevention and crashworthiness, yet it needs a lot of work in the child anchors area

Even though driving SUVs may feel a lot safer than taking a small, economy car, these vehicles are just as susceptible to accidents if they are not approached carefully.

This means that the size of the car, the ease of control, and power should be taken into account before purchasing any particular model. No matter which vehicle you choose, make sure to use our free quote tool above! 

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

This organization is from Virginia where it tests crashworthiness, crash prevention, and child anchors.

There are many subdivisions in each of these, for example, crashworthiness includes the following:

  • Small Driver and Passenger Overlap Test
  • Moderate Overlap Test
  • Roof’s Strength-to-Weight ratio
  • Side Impact
  • Head and Neck Restraints

The grades for crashworthiness and child latches can be poor, marginal, acceptable, or good. Crash prevention, however, goes through basic, advanced, and superior ratings.

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Buick Encore Versus Jeep Compass


The power to preserve the survival space, absorb the impact, and deploy airbags efficiently was very good with both models. The small overlap passenger-side test was only completed for Buick, and this vehicle achieved an acceptable score. The other five categories were “good” for both cars.

The specific details of crashworthiness abilities of Jeep Compass consist of a 4.94 roof’s strength-to-weight ratio, minor cabin intrusion, and low risk of leg injuries.

Buick was a little less efficient as its roof ratio was 4.63, but it’s knee airbags were very helpful in minimizing the lower-limb injuries.

Overall, Buick won this category simply because it had an extra score that Jeep lacked. This included the small passenger-side overlap test that the Institute recently adopted, and there is no way to tell if Jeep’s performance here would have been good or bad.

Crash Prevention & Mitigation

Buick wasted its lead in the comparison as it came very short in the crash prevention testing. The score Jeep got was the highest one, “superior,” while Buick only attained a “basic” rating.

Compass was able to completely avoid a collision in the 12 and 25-mph scenario. This car also included features such as the optional full-speed forward collision warning plus and advanced safety and lighting group. Ultimately, it got all six points available and did as well as can be done.

Encore, unfortunately, continued its fifth year of “basic” rating for this area of testing. This came after the vehicle was inspected and determined to lack low and high-speed auto brakes. Thus, Jeep won this part of the overall match-up.

Headlights, also a part of the crash prevention category, was a test that Buick lacked. Jeep, however, did not do well enough with its “moderate” rating to claim a strong victory over the lacking headlight of its opponent. Thus, Encore had no score while Jeep failed to impress.


Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

After an unsuccessful comparison in the previous category, Buick took advantage of its well-designed latches that helped it come back in the game. The rating for Encore was acceptable while Jeep thoroughly failed and earned a poor grade.

The issues that Compass experienced with its latches were a location that was too deep in the seat, too much force needed to apply the anchors, and difficulties maneuvering around these. Buick, on the other hand, only struggled with other hardware that was easily mistaken for a latch.

2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+

To win either of these two awards, the basic requirement is to have a perfect crashworthiness category with the exception of an acceptable passenger-side small overlap test. Both models met these standards and were in the game for a Top Safety Pick at first.

Unfortunately for Buick, another requirement for these awards is to get an advanced or superior crash prevention rating. Thus, Encore did not qualify for either award while Jeep received the Top Safety Pick.

How do I get auto insurance on my SUV?

Buying a vehicle implies taking care of many other costs such as the gas, registration fees, and insurance. Insurance tends to be the most expensive one of these as people will be exposed to rates directly connected to their spending history and living arrangements.

Luckily, fierce competition in this market has created hundreds of companies that always want to undercut one another.

To find the best solution quickly, websites with long listings of all the companies and their offerings should be looked at. Quote comparison websites take lots of factors into account including safety ratings.

It’s important to compare insurance rates to make sure that the cars you’re considering are affordable in the long-run.

The Winner

The first category was won by Buick Encore that had an extra score over its opponent, but this model lost the crash prevention tests by a large margin. Luckily for it, there was a dominant showing in the latch area which is why the overall victory goes to Buick.

This is not to say that Jeep had large issues with its model that make it a poor choice for families looking for an SUV.

The manufacturer could definitely improve upon their latches on the Compass model, although there have been prominent areas of safety testing that will justify anyone’s decision to buy this car.

In general, the reasons why these ratings are important is the fact that they will impact insurance costs that companies will offer to drivers.

Cars with horrible safety ratings will undeniably increase the premiums, while more reliable vehicles will carry fewer insurance costs. Make sure you compare rates with our free quote tool below now! 

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