Is Hyundai’s safety rating on small SUVs better than BMW’s?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is the company that tests small SUVs, and other vehicles, to determine which one is the best in terms of performance. When it comes to determining if Hyundai’s safety rating on small SUVs better than BMW’s, the IIHS found that the Hyundai comes out on top.

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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
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UPDATED: Dec 10, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The Hyundai Tucson is the top-rated small SUV in terms of safety
  • The Hyundai far surpasses the BMW in terms of safety
  • The BMW is nearly $11k more expensive than the Hyundai

More than one consideration goes into the decision-making process when you’re in the market for a small SUV. They’re more popular than ever due to the versatility a small SUV has to offer as well as the fact there are 23 small SUVs currently on the market.

They’re bigger than a sedan with a higher seating capacity, but they’re not so much bigger to make fuel efficiency soar.

Both Hyundai and BMW each have a small SUV on the market and while it might not seem many people would spend time comparing a luxury vehicle to a non-luxury vehicle, these two are both worth considering.

The Hyundai Tucson and the BMW X1 are similarly sized, though they’re not similarly priced. The Hyundai starts at just over $22,000 and the BMW starts at just over $33,000.

However, consumers going back and forth between these two aren’t in it for the label the BMW brings to the table.

You might be more concerned with space, with performance, with gas mileage, and most importantly with the cost of insuring a vehicle like this.

The BMW will cost more to insure because it costs more to repair, but that’s not the only factor you consider when you’re buying a car. You also want to know which vehicle is safest not only for you but for your family.

Which small SUV will keep you safer in case of an accident? This is when you begin to look carefully at safety ratings to determine which small SUV is the better buy.

Compare car insurance quotes to see how much you could save. It’s free and easy using our comparison tool above.

Safety Ratings and How They’re Determined

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is the company to go to when you want to know which small SUV is the safest for your family.

The IIHS crash tests these small SUVs to determine which one is the best in terms of performance, and the results are important.

Not only for your safety but for the overall cost of insurance since companies base their prices on how well vehicles perform in crash tests.

The IIHS uses three important categories to grade vehicles, and each one is then divided up into a few smaller categories in which letter grades are then issued.

  • Crashworthiness consists of small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof, head and seats
  • Crash avoidance and mitigation consists of front crash prevention and headlights
  • Child seat anchors consist of the LATCH system

These categories are graded with the following scores:

  • Good is “G”
  • Acceptable is “A”
  • Marginal is “M”
  • Poor is “P”

Only one small category is not issued a letter grade. The front crash prevention category is rated either basic, advanced, or superior with superior being the desired rating.


Once each vehicle is rated, it’s then awarded the IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick Plus award for meeting certain safety standards.

Both awards require the vehicle to earn all “G” ratings in the crashworthiness category as well as an advanced or superior rating for front crash prevention. 

To earn the slightly more prestigious Top Safety Pick Plus award, the vehicle must also have an “A” or “G” rating in the headlight category.

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BMW X1 vs. Hyundai Tucson

The price is different, but what about the safety ratings on these two small SUVs? Both are very safe vehicles with impressive ratings, but it’s the Hyundai that comes out on top quite literally. It’s tied for first place for the title of the safest small SUV on the market right now.


The BMW has a great rating, and it earned a Top Safety Pick award for the most recent model. This vehicle ruled the road in terms of perfect scores in the crashworthiness category and an advanced score for front crash prevention.

It didn’t quite hit the mark in terms of headlights, however. It received a marginal rating for those, but it did get an acceptable rating for the LATCH in the rear.

Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson is the most impressive vehicle in the small SUV class right now. With near perfect scores across the board, this vehicle only missed receiving perfect ratings in every category by only receiving an “A” rating for both the headlights and the LATCH.

However, perfect scores in every other category earned this small SUV a Top Safety Pick Plus award for the year.

The Best Insurance Rates for Small SUVs

You now know the Hyundai is both more affordable and safer, but the BMW is a great choice. Insurance agents will offer you a discount on both since they’re award-winners for safety.

Once you make your decision, it’s time to call your insurance agent to find out what each one might cost to insure, and then discuss when them how you can save more money.

Some simple tips for receiving better rates include mentioning if you are a member of the United States Military, driving a brand-new car with ample safety features, and even mentioning if you’re retired or work from home.

Drivers who have no reason to be on the road twice a day every single day are considered lower risk.

Finally, don’t be afraid to negotiate with your insurance company. You can compare rates first and then come back to your current company to discuss some rate changes or you’ll move on.

If you’re a safe driver with a clean driving record and a history of on-time payments, your own company might be more willing to work with you to reduce your rates to keep you on board.

Compare car insurance quotes right here to make sure you’re not overpaying for the coverage you need.

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