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

Mazda's small SUVs received top safety marks from the IIHS, while Jeep's scored low overall. The average cost of SUV auto insurance is 18% higher than normal vehicles.

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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. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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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 Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Apr 22, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Mazda’s safety ratings are better than Jeep’s
  • Mazda’s small SUVs include the CX-3 and the CX-5
  • Jeep’s small SUVs include the Compass, Renegade, Patriot, and Wrangler
  • Both of Mazda’s small SUVs receive the top award for safety
  • Jeep’s Patriot, Renegade, and Wrangler take the three lowest spots for safety on the list


When it comes to small SUVs, Mazda’s CX-3 and CX-5 take two of the top seven Top Safety Pick+ ratings.

It’s the highest possible honor provided to any vehicle in any class, and it’s also one of the primary reasons so many consumers put the Mazdas on their short list of excellent rides.

Safe, efficient, and spacious enough for a small family, this is a vehicle you feel comfortable driving. Make sure you are covered no matter what vehicle you choose with our free quote tool above today! 

Another popular small SUV is the Jeep, which has the Compass, Patriot, Renegade, and Wrangler SUVs in the small SUV market. It’s a popular brand, but how does it compare to the Mazda?

How are safety ratings determined?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates vehicles in three categories.

  • Crashworthiness is graded on the small front overlap, moderate overlap, side, roof, head restraints, and seats
  • Crash avoidance and mitigation is graded on the front crash prevention and the headlights
  • Child seat anchors are judged on the child seat latch in the back seat

Each of these categories is then graded using a letter system that works much like the grading system we’re familiar with from schooling.

  • “G” is for good, and it’s the best rating possible
  • “A” is for acceptable
  • “M” is for marginal
  • “P” is for poor

Insurance companies use this information to determine which vehicles are safest and therefore the least expensive to insure. If you drive a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+, be sure to mention this to your insurance agent, so you qualify for a few insurance discounts.

If your agent won’t budge on the cost to insure such a safe car, it’s time to compare rates with other providers.

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Mazda’s Safety Ratings for Small SUVs

Mazda has two vehicles in the small SUV class, and both are Top Safety Pick+ award-winning small SUVs. The 2017 Mazda CX-3 has the best rating of the two, but not by much.

It received a “G” rating in all the crashworthiness categories, which is an excellent accomplishment. It received “A” ratings in the latch and headlights categories.

Most impressive, however, is that it received the top superior rating in the front crash prevention category. There are three levels here. Superior, advanced, and basic, and each one has a high and a low level.

The 2017 Mazda CX-5 received the exact same ratings in every category as its sister vehicle, but it didn’t get the top superior honor.

It does still have a superior rating for the front crash prevention category, but it’s the lower of the superior levels. It’s still a safe and excellent vehicle to drive.

Jeep’s Safety Ratings for Small SUVs

Jeep has four vehicles in the small SUV category, and the 2017 Jeep Compass is the only one that received any safety awards. It’s a 2017 Top Safety Pick award-winning SUV with a “G” rating in all crashworthiness categories.

It also has the top superior rating in the front crash prevention category, but it falls short when it comes to headlights and the latch. The headlights only received an “M” rating and the latch received a “P” rating.

Jeep’s other three models are at the bottom of the list for all the small SUVs regarding safety. They were not all graded across the board, however, so there are only a few ratings available for each.

The 2017 Jeep Patriot earned a “P” rating in one crashworthiness category and “G” ratings in the other four. It also has a “P” rating in the headlights, but it does have an “A” in the latch category. It was not tested for front crash prevention.

The 2017 Jeep Renegade has three “G” ratings in the crashworthiness category, but the other two subcategories were not graded. The front crash prevention grade is a high-level advanced, but the headlights were not rated and the latch received a marginal rating.

The 2017 Jeep Wrangler is a fan favorite, but its safety ratings are anything but impressive.

Out of the three crashworthiness subcategories assessed, it has one “G”, one “M”, and one “P” rating. It also has a “P” rating for the headlights, and an “M” in the latch category. It was not graded on front crash prevention.

How are Top Safety Pick Winners chosen?

It’s clear Mazda’s safety ratings are far superior compared to Jeep’s safety ratings, but you still want to know how these vehicles are chosen as top safety picks and award winners.

The IIHS issues a Top Safety Pick award to all vehicles that receive 5 “G” ratings in the crashworthiness category in addition to an advanced or superior rating in the front crash prevention testing.

To be elevated to a Top Safety Pick+ winner, the vehicle must also have an “A” or “G” rating in the headlights category. Other vehicles fall short if they don’t perform well in the headlights category, which is not uncommon.

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IIHS and Insurance Premium Costs

The primary reason for choosing a vehicle with a top rating in the IIHS’ safety picks is to drive a vehicle that’s keeping you and your family safe. However, saving money on your insurance premium is also important.

If you drive one with a high rating and an award, you get an insurance discount you can add to the other discounts you might qualify for to receive a much lower premium. It’s a big savings. Compare rates today with our free quote tool below now!

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