Is Kia’s safety rating on small SUVs better than Volkswagen’s?

Kia SUV's have a higher safety rating than Volkswagen SUV's according to the IIHS. The rate of auto insurance can be as much as 18% more for some SUV models.

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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...

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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...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 23, 2020

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Things to remember...
  • The Kia Sportage is one of two small SUVs ranked safest in its class
  • The VW Tiguan was not tested for front crash prevention purposes
  • The Kis has better gas mileage, safety ratings, and a lower price than the VW

The Kia Sportage and the Volkswagen Tiguan are both sporty, aesthetically pleasing small SUVs, which is why consumers love them. One of the perks of driving a small SUV is the sportier, sleeker look it provides.

Unlike larger SUVs which are more structured and bulky, the smaller SUV class allows enough room for elegance and luxury while also offering competitive fuel economy and a lower price.

Whatever reason you have for wanting to drive a small SUV, it’s probably safe to assume both price and safety are at the top of your wish list.

With such close pricing, similar sizes, and similar fuel efficiency, the decision to go with the Kia or the VW often comes down to the most minute details.

For example, did you know the sticker price of your small SUV is only a small fraction of the total cost of ownership? From warranties to gas mileage to insurance, the vehicle with the smallest sticker price on the lot might not be the most affordable over the life of your ownership.

Before you start shopping, compare rates with various car insurance companies. A small SUV with a great safety rating is going to net you significant savings with most insurance agents.

Use our FREE quote tool to compare auto insurance rates today!

Safety Ratings with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety


The IIHS’ safety ratings are an important factor for insurance companies that are pricing vehicles and their premiums.

Safer vehicles are less expensive to repair as they hold up better in accidents, which is why you might want to know the Kia Sportage is tied for first place for the safest small SUV on the market out of 23 small SUVs.

The IIHS gave the Kia this great safety rating using their standard crash tests. This includes offering letter grades of good, acceptable, marginal, and poor to each test the vehicle goes through when it’s crash-tested.

The first test is crashworthiness in which there are five questions graded:

  • How does the small front overlap perform?
  • How does the moderate front overlap perform?
  • How is the side strength?
  • How is the roof?
  • How do the head restraints and the seat perform?

The second category is the crash avoidance and mitigation, which is graded for its headlights and its front crash prevention. How does it hold up in both?

Front crash prevention is so important it warrants a grade of either superior, advanced, or a sad score of basic. The third and final category the vehicles are graded on is the child seat anchors, which is the LATCH system and how easy it is to use.

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Kia vs. VW

The Kia Sportage is an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ winner in 2017. This means it rated all “G” scores for crashworthiness, higher than basic in the front crash tests, and it earned a grade of acceptable or better in the headlight tests.

The VW did not earn any safety awards.

Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage earned “G” ratings in each of the crashworthiness test areas, “A” ratings for both the headlight test and the LATCH test, and it earned a superior score in the front crash test.

This is why it’s tied for the safest vehicle in the small SUV class. Such great safety ratings make this vehicle cheaper to insure.

VW Tiguan

Located near the bottom of the list of safest small SUVs on the market, the Tiguan did not rate so well in some categories. It received four “G” ratings in the crashworthiness tests and one “M” rating for the small front overlap.

It did well in the headlight and LATCH tests with “A” ratings in both. It was not graded for front crash prevention purposes.

How do I determine which small SUV is more affordable over time?


You can’t precisely pinpoint the overall cost of anything when it comes to the cost of your small SUV, but you can make some safe assumptions. One great way to calculate the overall cost of ownership is to compare the warranties for both the VW and the Kia.

Warranties cover the cost of problems your vehicle faces over the next few years, and a great warranty can ensure you’ll save more money on car repairs.

The Tiguan’s warranty is a 3-year, 36,000-mile basic warranty, or you can pay more for a 5-year, 60,000-mile warranty. The Kia Sportage comes with a basic 5-year, 60,000-mile bumper to bumper warranty.

If you choose to spend more to purchase the extended warranty, you’re getting a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty. This makes the Kia potentially less expensive over time due to the longer and more comprehensive warranty.

In this case, it seems the Kia has the best ratings, the lower insurance price in terms of safety ratings, and the best money-saving warranty, but is it the small SUV you want?

Don’t buy anything until you call your insurance company for a quote. Use our FREE quote tool to compare auto insurance rates today!

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