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

The IIHS gave Mitsubishi SUV's a higher safety rating than Volkswagen SUV's in recent tests. Auto insurance averages around $125/mo. for a normal SUV.

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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
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UPDATED: Apr 23, 2020

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Things to remember...
  • The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and the Volkswagen Tiguan did not score high enough to receive a Top Safety Pick+ award
  • Choosing cars with an award can help drivers save money on insurance, but higher safety ratings can also help drivers save money
  • Different trim levels may be the difference between a Top Safety Pick+ award and not receive any type of award from the IIHS


The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a small SUV that is considered compact. It is smaller than the rest of the SUVs in the Mitsubishi lineup. Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was once a trim level for the Outlander but was changed over to its own make.

Even though Mitsubishi Outlander Sport the Volkswagen Tiguan is less than 10 years old, it has repeatedly received high scores from the IIHS. It is a small SUV that has a lot of space on the inside.

It was created before the larger Volkswagen SUV, the Atlas. No matter which vehicle you choose, insurance is necessary. Compare rates with our free quote tool above!

What Vehicles Are Rated

Ratings are one of the most important parts of the tests the IIHS performs. They want to make sure they are using a rating system that is both easy to understand and can be used for every vehicle they run through the tests.

For the major crash tests IIHS does, they use a system of P through G. P stands for poor performance while G is for good. In between these are M for marginal and A for acceptable.

To receive an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, a vehicle must not score a P on anything and must only have one M or A in the major crash tests.

  • Good
  • Marginal
  • Acceptable
  • Poor

The IIHS also uses a different system to determine whether a car has the appropriate crash avoidance equipment. Cars can be basic, advanced or superior. A vehicle that scores a basic score in crash avoidance is not eligible for The Top Safety Pick+ award.

Traditional Crash Tests

The crashworthiness of a vehicle is important because it determines how a vehicle will perform if it is in a collision. The IIHS does these tests so consumers will have an understanding of what their vehicle will be like if it is in an accident.

To determine how a vehicle will be able to withstand a crash, the IIHS looks at several different collision situations.

They do a small overlap front crash on each side, moderate overlap front crashes, side crashes, and rollovers.

The IIHS also tests the safety belts and the seats including the headrests to see how people will be affected by each of the crash types. Neither the Volkswagen Tiguan or the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport received a score on the passenger side small overlap front test.

The Outlander Sport received an A on the driver side and the Tiguan received an M on the driver side. For the rest of the tests, the Tiguan and the Outlander Sport both received G-ratings.

Anti-Crash

For the anti-collision equipment, the IIHS uses a test that will determine if a vehicle can stop before it is in a collision. It will test the auto brake features as well as the warning systems. Vehicles have to have a warning system, but they are not required to have auto brakes.

The Volkswagen Tiguan and the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport did not receive scores on their anti-crash equipment. There was either no equipment in place for any of the trims of each of the vehicles or the IIHS was unable to test the equipment in a way that would make sense on a road test. The headlights were also tested during this time.

The headlights on the Outlander Sport received a rating of M, but the Tiguan received a rating of A on the headlights. The headlights on the Outlander Sport did not reach far enough.

There was not a large difference in the reach between the normal headlights and the high beams. There were issues with the headlights on the Tiguan not performing properly on sharp left turns.

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LATCH Functionality

The LATCH and anchor system is what users attach child safety seats to in a vehicle. The NHSTA determines how the LATCH systems should work so they do not vary from vehicle to vehicle. The differences generally lie in where the LATCH and the anchor are at in the vehicle.

To determine the ease of use for the LATCH system, the IIHS makes sure the vehicles are receiving the same type of safety seats in the same setting.

Both the Tiguan and the Outlander Sport received A ratings on the LATCH system.

The Outlander Sport had a LATCH system that was too deep in the seat, making it difficult for the person who was putting the seat in to reach it. The Tiguan did not have a LATCH system that was isolated from other equipment.

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The Overall Score

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Despite having a rating of P, the Outlander Sport scored a higher score than the Tiguan. It received slightly higher because of the A and G ratings it had in the crash tests. Neither the Tiguan or the Outlander Sport received Top Safety Pick+ or Top Safety Pick awards because of their ratings in the different crash tests.

Even though the Outlander Sport was not able to receive the award, the Outlander, which is a similar vehicle, received the Top Safety Pick+ award for 2017.

The biggest difference between Mitsubishi’s Outlander and Outlander Sport is the sports model is a more compact small SUV than the Outlander Sport is, but the bigger size may not be the only reason the Outlander received higher scores.

Vehicle Choice

Drivers need to consider every aspect of a vehicle before they purchase one. The safety ratings are important because they protect the people in the car and can save money on insurance, but they are not the only thing you should be considering when you are shopping for a vehicle.

Other things you may want to keep in mind are the cost of the vehicle, the performance for different needs and the availability of the vehicle in your area.

Drivers can also benefit from looking at the different extras each vehicle has available to determine if that is something they can see themselves driving. Compare rates for whichever vehicle you choose with our free quote tool below!

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