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

Both the Nissan Rogue and the Jeep Compass received safety awards from the IIHS in 2017. Safety features can lower auto insurance rates by up to 8%.

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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: Oct 21, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The IIHS is a non-profit that’s run by insurance associations so that losses in car accidents can be reduced
  • Not all small SUVs and compact crossovers have the same safety rating and it’s important for consumers to compare ratings
  • In the small SUV segment, the Nissan Rogue is one of the few models that has earned the Top Safety Pick+ designation
  • The Rogue has consistently earned great marks in front, side, read, and roof IIHS crash tests
  • Jeep also has a popular small SUV called the Compass but it did not perform as well as the Rogue in recent tests

Small SUVs offer many segments of the population big value. With more seating capacity and storage room than a full-size sedan and a smaller carbon footprint, you can enjoy space while you save money on fuel expenses.

Unfortunately, many of the options available on the market today that offer value without a safe structure.

The last thing that you’d expect when you’re buying a Nissan, regardless of the nameplate, is that riding in the vehicle could leave you vulnerable to significant injury.

Believe it or not, vehicles that make their way off of the production line aren’t guaranteed to be safe. Some brands are extremely dedicated to research and safety innovation and others are known to be lax in improving safety testing efforts.

If your family has always sworn by Nissan, there are models that you can choose from that are compact yet still in the SUV class. The most popular small SUV available is the Nissan Rogue, which was released in 2008 and has become a top-seller in the segment.

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Before you let trends dictate your buying decisions, here’s what you need to know when you compare Nissan’s safety ratings to Jeep’s safety ratings:

Where to Look For Reliable Safety Ratings

You can find safety ratings all over the Internet. There are ratings from consumer agencies like JD Power and Edmunds, and then there are ratings from non-profits and government agencies.

It’s best that you rely on the data that’s compiled by scientists that are assessing the vehicles and setting rating criteria as opposed to other resources.

One of the most reliable sources that you can find information about vehicle safety ratings for compacts, sedans, and trucks is through the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

This institute is funded by three of the major insurance associations domestically and it spends resources to identify potential hazards on the road in an effort to reduce how many people are injured in auto accidents every year.

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What You Should Know About IIHS Crash Tests and Safety Ratings

IIHS did not initially rate cars or perform any type of crash tests. In 1992, the association decided to brand off from the original focus of reviewing accident data. This is why the crash hall was developed.

The crash place is the place vehicles purchased by the IIHS would be rammed and battered all in the name of research.

Safety ratings weren’t published until 1995. When they were developed, only one test to see the bulge of the Moderate Overlap Front was assessed after a moderate accident. Since then, a couple of tests have been added every few years.

Now the following tests are being performed on each and every car that hits the Crash Hall:

  • Small overlap front (driver-side)
  • Small overlap front (passenger-side)
  • Moderate overlap front
  • Side crash strength
  • Roof strength
  • Head and seat restraints
  • Front crash avoidance and mitigation
  • Headlight performance
  • Ease of use for child seat latches

After all of the data is compiles, the scientists will look at the kinematics and how the force is measured to see if injuries would be reported.

Rating systems haven’t changed much over time except for grades on crash avoidance technologies.

The intrusion of the safety cage would also be reviewed. This is when the following ratings are given (in order from best to worst):

  • Good
  • Acceptable
  • Marginal
  • Poor
  • Crash Avoidance System Capabilities – Superior, Advanced, or Basic


— Safety Ratings for the 2017 Nissan Rogue

  • Small overlap front crash (driver-side) – Good
  • Small overlap front crash (passenger-side) – N/A
  • Moderate overlap front crash Good
  • Roof crash strength Good
  • Side crash Good
  • Head restraints & seats Good
  • Front Crash Prevention and Crash Avoidance System Superior(with optional equipment)
  • Headlight Evaluation Acceptable (only on certain trims)
  • Child Seat Anchor Ease of Use Marginal

The 2017 Nissan Rogue is a Top Safety Pick+, which is the highest possible award a vehicle can earn from the IIHS. For several years, the Rogue is a nameplate by Nissan that has earned exceptional safety ratings.

Driver space is maintained well in an accident, injury measures are low, and passenger movement is well controlled.

The Rogue also did well on one of IIHS’s newer crash avoidance system tests.

When the vehicle is outfitted with Forward Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection as part of the Platinum Package, it earned ‘Superior’ marks passing all areas of collision warning and auto-brake with flying colors.

Child latch systems need to be improved as this was the only ‘Marginal’ score earned.

— Safety Ratings for the 2017 Jeep Compass

  • Small overlap front crash (driver-side) – Good
  • Small overlap front crash (passenger-side) N/A
  • Moderate overlap front crash – Good
  • Roof crash strength Good
  • Side crash – Good
  • Head Restraints and Seats – Good
  • Front Crash Prevention and Crash Avoidance System Superior (with optional equipment)
  • Headlight performance – Marginal (with optional equipment)
  • Child Seat Anchors Ease of Use Poor

The 2017 Jeep Compass also performed well in the IIHS crash tests conducted today against vehicles of a similar size and weight. The latest model didn’t qualify for the top designation in safety, but it did earn a Top Safety Pick award which is a close second.

Like the Rogue, driver space was well maintained in crash tests. Measures from the dummies also show low sign of risk in terms of significant injury.

When the Compass is outfitted with Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus as part of the Advanced Safety and Lighting Group, the vehicles earned a perfect crash avoidance system score.

All of these ratings are the same as the Rogue.

Are small SUVs by Nissan safer than small SUVs by Jeep?

If you look at the overall scores in crash prevention and crash damage, the cars look like they match up well.

The only difference to report is that the Nissan earned an ‘Acceptable’ headlight rating and the Jeep earned a ‘Poor’ ratings. This was enough to make small SUVs by Nissan the smarter choice in 2017.

If you’re going to buy a Rogue or any other car, make sure to get a sufficient amount of quotes. Knowing how much insurance costs from SUV to SUV can make all of the difference.

Don’t compromise your safety because, in the end, it will pay off with lower insurance premiums. Use our FREE quote tool to compare auto insurance rates today!

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