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

When comparing small SUVs and safety, the Subaru Forester holds up better than the Jeep Wrangler on crashworthiness alone. Such features can lower 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: Nov 2, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The auto industry recognizes the safety tests performed by the IIHS, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, as the industry standard
  • The Subaru Forester outperformed the Jeep Wrangler in a test of crashworthiness
  • The Subaru Forester was selected as a 2017 Top Safety Pick+
  • The Jeep Wrangler is not in the same class of safety as the Subaru Forester

The car you choose can make a big difference in how you walk away from an accident. Some newer vehicles have very effective safety features, while others haven’t done much to improve safety in years.

The auto insurance industry funds the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to help reduce the number of accidents.

The IIHS works with a nonprofit organization that publishes data about losses paid by insurance companies. These two organizations perform tests to determine how safe new vehicles are. This article will compare the Subaru Forester and the Jeep Wrangler.

Compare car insurance rates between these two vehicles, or just compare rates to see how much you could save with the vehicle you currently own. Enter your zip code above to get started!


The IIHS performs six tests of safety on new vehicles to determine crashworthiness including:

  • small overlap collision on both the driver side and passenger side of the vehicle
  • moderate overlap collision
  • side impact safety
  • roof strength
  • safety of seats and head restraints

In 2013, they started testing the abilities of the vehicle to avoid a front to end crash. Lastly, they test the safety of the hardware used to properly install a child safety seat known as the LATCH system or lower anchors and tethers for children.

These tests have established benchmarks to determine which rating each car earns. There are four ratings:

  • Good
  • Acceptable
  • Marginal
  • Poor

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The Subaru Forester received an overall rating of Good in crashworthiness, but the test didn’t show perfect results. The driver side of the vehicle maintained a safe space for the driver and showed a low risk of injury. The passenger side was a different story.

It received a safety rating of Marginal because the passenger’s space was invaded by 29 cm in the lower area and 26 cm in the upper/dash area. The risk of injury to the passenger’s leg is considered likely, but there is still a lower risk of injuries to the upper body.

The Jeep Wrangler didn’t perform well in a test of crashworthiness. Overall, it received a rating of Marginal. The driver’s side small overlap test resulted in an intrusion in the driver’s side space making injuries to legs and hips likely.

The passenger-side small overlap test was not performed.


Front Crash Prevention

The IIHS began performing this test in 2013. In this test, to receive a rating of Superior or Advanced, the vehicle must have an autobraking system.

The Subaru Forester received a rating of Superior because it was able to avoid a collision when the vehicle was traveling at both 12 and 25 miles per hour.

For safety, these results really make the Forester surpass the Wrangler.

The Jeep Wrangler rating on this test is not available.


The Subaru Forester received a rating of Acceptable on the LATCH system. The Wrangler received a rating of Marginal. To receive a rating of Good, the lower anchors must be no more than ¾ inches deep in the seat. The anchors for both vehicles were deeper in the seat than that.

Another requirement for a Good rating is that the tethers, which hold the top part of the car seat steady, must be located in the top 85 percent of the seatback. Neither the Forester nor the Wrangler met this requirement.

The LATCH system must also include tethers that are easy to find and easy to maneuver around. The LATCH design must ensure that the hardware cannot be confused with other hardware. The Forester met these benchmarks, but the Jeep Wrangler did not.

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Top Safety Pick

The 2017 Subaru Forester was designated a Top Safety Pick+. Vehicles that receive a rating of Superior or Advanced in the front crash prevention test and a rating of Good in the crashworthiness test receive this accolade.

The Jeep Wrangler did not receive this designation because it did not receive an overall rating of Good in Crashworthiness and it was not tested in the front crash prevention test.

Selecting the safer vehicle between the Subaru Forester and the Jeep Wrangler is a simple task. There is simply no contest between them.

On crashworthiness alone, the Subaru Forester holds up much better than the Jeep Wrangler.

Add that the Forester is equipped with an automatic braking system that can prevent crashes in the first place, deems the Subaru Forester the clear winner in safety over the Jeep Wrangler.

The safety rating of a vehicle is a major factor in the cost of insurance. If you are considering a new car, safety is always a good thing to consider for your well being, but it can also mean a lower cost of ownership over time.

Before you make your car buying decision, get free insurance quotes right here by entering your zip code below.

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