Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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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 Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 22, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • The Fiat 500X performed well enough in safety tests to earn a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS
  • The Audi Q3 was not tested for front crash prevention abilities
  • Both of these small SUVs have less trunk space than a standard sedan, but they have more versatility to create more trunk space with rear seats down

There are dozens of SUVs on the market. Small ones, large ones, in-between crossover-type SUVs, and more. If you’re not going for a large SUV, you might wonder if buying a small SUV is really better than buying a sedan.

The truth is many small SUVs are more sedan-like than ever, and it comes down to whether you’re interested in more passenger seating room or more trunk space. Believe it or not, sedans typically have more trunk space than small SUVs if you don’t have the rear seats down.

The Fiat 500X and the Audi Q3 are among a few of the smaller small SUVs on the market, and they’re both sporty and chic. This style is a large part of the appeal for both.

Once you make the decision to purchase a small SUV, you might imagine the decision regarding what you want to drive is easier.

Small SUVs are more versatile in terms of cargo space and room, but there are 23 small SUVs on the market. Do you know what you want from a small SUV?

Price and safety come to mind as two important factors to consider, but are you aware these two features are more closely related than you imagine?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) performs crash tests on all small SUVs to determine how well they perform in various accidents and unfortunate situations, and the results of those tests can impact the overall cost of owning your vehicle in the long-term.

Never judge a price tag by its cover until you’ve compared insurance rates for various vehicles with various companies. Enter your zip code above to get started comparing.

What does the IIHS test?

The IIHS tests several areas of each small SUV on the market to determine how it holds up in case an accident occurs.

Insurance companies tend to charge less for safer vehicles because they are less likely to allow passengers to be injured.

The IIHS tests all vehicles to see how well the following parts perform in an accident:

  • small front overlap
  • moderate overlap front
  • sides
  • roof
  • head restraints and seats

These small tests create a crashworthiness category. The IIHS also tests each vehicle on its front crash prevention abilities and its headlight function. These two tests make up the crash avoidance and mitigation category.

The child LATCH system makes up the child seat anchors category.

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Once each test is performed and professional examiners look at each piece of the vehicle individually, they provide ratings. These are labeled from best to worse, and each one is abbreviated on rating charts using only the first letter of the rating.

  • Good
  • Acceptable
  • Marginal
  • Poor

All good ratings for crashworthiness and an advanced or better rating in the front crash test allows the IIHS to offer a vehicle a Top Safety Pick award. It’s an honor for the manufacturer, and it’s good news for you in terms of what you pay for insurance.

Add an acceptable or good rating in the headlight category and the vehicle is awarded a Top Safety Pick+ award. There is no higher safety honor.

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Fiat vs. Audi

Both Fiat and Audi have excellent reputations as luxury brands. However, only one gets a spot in the IIHS’ Top Safety Pick award-winner list. The other wasn’t graded for its front crash prevention skills, which means it’s ineligible to earn a spot on any award list.

Fiat 500X

The Fiat 500X performed well enough to earn a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. That fact makes it unnecessary to mention this vehicle has all “G” ratings for crashworthiness abilities.

The front crash prevention tests the Fiat endured had results well enough to earn an advanced rating. It’s the headlights and the LATCH system where this vehicle falls a bit short, which is only important if you drive at night or in the rain or you have kids in car seats.

Headlights earned a poor rating, and the LATCH earned a marginal rating.

Audi Q3

Unlike the Fiat, the Audi did not earn any awards for its safety features. This small SUV was not put through front crash prevention testing. This makes it ineligible for an award. It did, however, perform just as well as the Fiat in the crashworthiness tests.

The Audi earned the same poor rating for headlights, but it has a much better LATCH rating. It earned an “A” rating for ease of use in the LATCH test.

Which vehicle is more affordable?

You can compare the sticker price on each vehicle, but remember adding options makes the price go up.

What you should do is compare the long-term cost of ownership for each small SUV.

Which one has a better factory warranty, better fuel-efficiency, and which one comes standard with more of the options you want?

Next, call your insurance company to find out which one is more affordable to insure before comparing free insurance quotes from other companies.

To further ensure you’re getting the best overall price, don’t fall prey to additional items such as extended warranties. Experts often tout these as a waste of money depending on personal use and how long you plan on keeping a car.

You may also ask for insurance discounts if you meet specific requirements such as being retired, being a good student, or even being a safe driver. Many factors go into determining the overall cost of vehicle ownership.

Compare car insurance quotes from several companies by entering your zip code into our free tool below.