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

The IIHS rated the Jeep Compass as safer than the Ford Escape in 2017. The average rates for SUV auto insurance are 18% higher than other 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: Nov 3, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Ford Escape is a small SUV model made in American
  • Jeep Compass received five good scores on its crashworthiness and a superior crash prevention rating while falling short in most other areas.
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an organization that conducts safety testing on new models of almost any car type available.

Small SUVs are a compromise for drivers who like efficiency cars and decent dimensions. The market for these has grown as they are less costly and provide a great opportunity for one to learn how to operate a car in general.

If you’re in the market for a new SUV, there are many factors to consider when making your decision. You should take a little time to compare car insurance quotes for the models you’re deciding between. Enter your zip code into our comparison tool above!

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Institute is a non-profit company and its main facility is located in Virginia. There, they conduct tests in the following three categories:

  • Crashworthiness — Determines if the car will preserve the survival space during a collision. Grades can be good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.
  • Crash Prevention — A scenario in which the car will speed up to a certain point and run into a non-movable object. The goal is to see if there are auto brakes that can make the vehicle stop in time. Ratings can be basic, advanced, or superior.
  • Child Anchors — Looks at the LATCH systems that are used to connect child seats to the vehicle’s seats. This test is conducted in a very simple manner without much preparation and data review. Grades are the same as those in crashworthiness.

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Ford Escape Versus Jeep Compass


For two companies as popular as Ford and Jeep, there is quite a reputation to live up to.

Fortunately, the first test did not show either brand in a bad light for the most part. Jeep received five out of six “good” grades in its crashworthiness and the one area left unreviewed was the passenger-side small overlap collision.

This same test was ungraded for Ford, which is reasonable given that this test was recently created.

Escape, however, showed some shortcomings in the sub-category of driver-side small overlap test and received an “acceptable” score.

The main reason why there were deficiencies came from the vehicle airbags’ inability to stop the driver’s head from hitting sharp and hard objects.

Both models maintained the survival space reasonably well, did not expose the dummy to lower-body injuries, and the roof’s strength-to-weight ratios were around five.

Ford came short to the perfect performance of Jeep, but it is notable that the driver’s small overlap test for Escape was an improvement from the “poor” scores the car received in the last four years.


Crash Prevention & Mitigation

With optional equipment, Jeep Compass was able to reach the highest grade for this category. Its superior performance came from a six out of six score that is based on a functioning forward collision warning and successful 12/25-mph evaluations.

Ford, on the other hand, had no auto brake available which immediately cost it five points. The forward collision warning met the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s criteria and secured the only point that the car got in this area.

The Jeep was very far from what Ford was able to demonstrate, as there were serious deficiencies that must be addressed.

Another test within prevention is the headlight assessment. Luckily for the American company, Ford finally started catching up as shown by its “acceptable” headlight score. The main issue that the Institue identified was inadequate visibility on the gradual left curve.

Jeep undermined its lead by only scoring a marginal rating on headlights. The downgrading occurred after every single test showcased some problems that ranged in seriousness.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

To further make a run for its comeback, Ford outdid Jeep in the last category once more. The problem with the comparison here, however, is the fact that both cars did shockingly bad.

Jeep received the lowest score possible, “poor,” as its LATCH were hard to use, too deep in the seats, and difficult to maneuver around.

Ford did go one level above and attain the “marginal” score. In reality, even though Ford beat its competitor, the marginal score is not high enough for such a famous brand that promotes their vehicle security.

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

To qualify for either of the awards, a car has to start off with a perfect crashworthiness category. Since Ford received one acceptable rating, it lost both of these recognitions. Jeep met all the requirements to get its Top Safety Pick award from the Institute once again.

The comparison demonstrated a lot of weaknesses for both of these cars. Jeep had a better performance.

Ford came a little short in the crashworthiness category and mostly secured its loss in the crash prevention area. Due to some issues with headlights and LATCH, Jeep almost gave its victory away.

The Ford Escape did not win any category by a large margin and this company will have to invest more time and resources into the safety of their small SUV model.

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