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

Honda's small SUVs received top safety marks from the IIHS in 2017, whereas Jeep's scored relatively low. Safety features can reduce your 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: Oct 26, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • Honda has two small SUVs on the market and Jeep has four
  • Three Jeeps are ranked the least safe of all small SUVs
  • The Honda CR-V and Jeep Compass are the two safest cars out of both categories

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) uses a grading system involving four letters to rate vehicles in terms of safety. All vehicles are categorized based on size, crashed, tested, wrecked, and reviewed, and then they are graded. The IIHS does this testing for two reasons.

  1. The primary reason is to determine which vehicles are the safest in each class as well as on the road.
  2. The second is to help insurance agents figure out which vehicles are least expensive to insure.

The IIHS issues two awards to vehicles that meet and/or exceed specific safety ratings. The Top Safety Pick and the Top Safety Pick+. Any vehicle with one of these two awards is going to provide you with several insurance discounts.

A vehicle is graded on crashworthiness, crash avoidance, and child safety features using the following grades:

  • “G” for good
  • “A” for acceptable
  • “M” for marginal
  • “P” for poor ratings

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How does the IIHS determine whether a car is a top safety pick?

There are two top safety pick ratings from the IIHS. The first is the Top Safety Pick, and the second is the Top Safety Pick+. The Top Safety Pick requirements are simple.

All vehicles must earn a “G” rating in at least five of the crashworthiness subcategories, and it must have either an advanced or superior front crash prevention rating.

To earn a Tops Safety Pick+ rating, vehicles must meet all the requirements for a Top Safety Pick rating, and then they must meet an additional standard. Any vehicle with a plus rating must have an acceptable or good headlight system.

If the headlights are marginal or poor, the entire vehicle loses out on a plus rating. Honda and Jeep both have several vehicles in the small SUV category, and all of them are ranked according to safety.


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Honda’s Safety Ratings for Small SUVs

Honda boasts one of the best vehicles in the small SUV market. The Honda CR-V is one of the top three small SUVs on the market, and it has a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS. The headlights are the lowest ranked category with an “A” rating.

The small front overlap is broken down into two sides, driver and passenger. The driver side has a “G” and the passenger side has a “P” rating. It’s rated superior in terms of front crash prevention.

The Honda HR-V is not so high on the list. It’s not nearly as impressive, and it boasts only impressive scores in the crashworthiness category. It missed out on being a Top Safety Pick only because it was not rated at all for front crash prevention.

The LATCH system is graded “M” and the headlights are graded “P.”

Jeep’s Safety Ratings for Small SUVs

Jeep has four vehicles in the small SUV category, and only one of them is a Top Safety Pick.

The Jeep Compass received “G” ratings across the board in everything but the headlights and latch, which received an “M” and a “P” respectively.

It was awarded a superior front crash prevention score, and that makes it a Top Safety Pick, and the only Jeep to be awarded any safety pick ratings.

The rest of the Jeep family take the bottom three spots in terms of safety. Two were not graded on their front crash prevention, and none of them are rated high across the board.

  • The Jeep Patriot has “G” ratings in all but the small front overlap in the crashworthiness category, a “P” score in the headlight category, and an “A” for the latch.
  • The Jeep Renegade received “G” ratings in the three crashworthiness categories for which it was tested, an advanced front crash prevention rating, and an “M” in the child LATCH system. The Renegade was not graded for its headlights.
  • The Jeep Wrangler rounds out the Jeep family as well as the lowest ranking vehicle in the small SUV category. Only the moderate overlap in the front received a “G” rating. It was not front crash prevention tested, the small front overlap and the child LATCH both received “M” ratings, and the side strength and headlights are both “P” rated issues.

Honda is Safer than Jeep

The IIHS has tested all five of these vehicles carefully and with everything they consider important, and it’s Honda that wins overall.

While the HR-V and three of the four Jeeps in this class all fall at the bottom of the list, the Honda CR-V takes the third overall spot in the small SUV class.

The Jeep Compass has a good rating and does earn a top safety pick, and both of these vehicles do make you eligible for some insurance discounts.

If you are looking to save money on a small SUV, don’t try to save money by forgoing car insurance. It’s illegal to drive without insurance in almost every state, and it’s also dangerous.

Ask for car insurance discounts from different companies, pick a vehicle with an excellent safety rating so you pay a lower premium, and check to see you’re meeting state requirements.

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