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

When it comes to small SUVs and safety, the Hyundai Tucson Hyundai wins, but Jeep’s Compass is impressive, too. The other three Jeeps are ranked low.

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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...

  • The Hyundai Tucson is the safest small SUV out of all 23 on the market
  • Of four Jeeps in the small SUV category, only the Compass has excellent safety ratings
  • Jeeps remaining three small SUVs are the three least safe SUVs on the market according to the IIHS

The Hyundai Tucson is the safest small SUV on the market by Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) standards, but that doesn’t stop some consumers from wanting to compare this impressively safe small SUV with the Jeep models.

The Jeep Compass, Jeep Renegade, Jeep Patriot, and the Jeep Wrangler are all in the same class as the Tucson but are not comparable in terms of safety.

In fact, the Hyundai Tucson is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award-winning small SUV, and the only Jeep that comes close is the Compass. It’s a Top Safety Pick winner for the year.

Safety is important, but it’s not the only thing that you should consider when you shop for a small SUV. Price is also important, and it’s never as simple as looking for the one with the lowest price tag.

Each of the five small SUVs Jeep and Hyundai bring to the table is priced appropriately, but it’s outside factors that make the biggest difference in the overall cost of ownership.

Perhaps the most important factor in the long-term cost of ownership category is the cost of insuring a small SUV such as these.

Generally, vehicles with better safety ratings are less expensive to insure, but there are many ways you can get the cost of insurance down to make a vehicle more affordable.

You can start by comparing car insurance rates with various companies to see which one offers the best price for your new SUV. Enter your zip code into our free comparison tool above to get started.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Ratings Information

The IIHS breaks down safety ratings by letter grades that match the first letter of their definition:

  • Good (G)
  • Acceptable (A)
  • Marginal (M)
  • Poor (P)

It goes without saying these ratings are in order from best to worst. To earn ratings, the vehicles are crashed, reviewed, and then graded. They’re tested on their crashworthiness, their crash avoidance abilities, and the child safety anchors.

Child safety anchors are called LATCH systems. Crash avoidance is broken down into two areas called front crash prevention and headlights.

Crashworthiness is detailed based on specific areas of the small SUVs. These areas include the small and moderate overlap front, how strong the roof is, how strong the sides are, and how safe the heads and seats are.

If a vehicle earns all good ratings in the crashworthiness category and either a superior or advanced rating when it’s tested for its front crash prevention, the vehicle is considered a Top Safety Pick winner.

Add headlight ratings of acceptable or good to that and the vehicle is Top Safety Pick+ winner. These awards label vehicles as safer and worthy of more insurance discounts.


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Hyundai vs. Jeep

Hyundai wins this race for safety by a mile, but Jeep’s Compass is an impressive vehicle, too. The other three Jeep models were either not fully tested this model year or they did not perform well enough to earn any ratings.

Specifically, these three Jeep models round out the lowest-ranked vehicles in terms of safety on the list of 23 small SUVs.

Hyundai Tucson

  • “G” ratings in all crashworthiness tests
  • Superior rating in front crash prevention
  • “A” rating for headlights
  • “A” rating for the child LATCH

Jeep Compass

  • “G” ratings in all crashworthiness categories
  • Superior rating in front crash tests
  • “M” rating for headlights
  • “P” rating for child LATCH

Jeep Patriot

  • “P” rating in small overlap front, “G” rating in all other crashworthiness categories
  • “P” rating in headlights
  • “A” rating for LATCH
  • The Jeep Patriot was not rated for front crash prevention

Jeep Renegade

  • “G” ratings in three crashworthiness categories and unrated in the remainder
  • Advanced front crash test score
  • No headlight ratings
  • “M” rating for the LATCH system

Jeep Wrangler

  • “M” rating for small overlap front, “G” for moderate overlap front, “P” for side tests, unrated on roof strength and head and seats
  • Unrated in the front crash prevention category
  • “P” for headlights
  • “M” for the LATCH system

Calculating the Price of a Small SUV

You can look at the price tag of a small SUV as a starting point. Now choose the trim and begin adding to figure out what you’re paying for this vehicle. The more features you add, the more expensive the vehicle becomes.

Before you buy the one you want, call your insurance company to find out what they will charge you to insure this vehicle.

Now check online to see if there are any different free quotes available from other car insurance companies.

You might also see which vehicle has a longer, more efficient warranty and better gas mileage. These are the little details that often make the cost of owning a specific small SUV far more or less over time.

Don’t forget to ask for insurance discounts if you choose one with a high safety rating, if you live close to work, or even if you’re a good student. The little things add up, and that’s sometimes the best way to choose a new vehicle for your needs.

Compare car insurance quotes today using our free rate tool below.

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