Is Toyota’s safety rating on small SUVs better than Fiat’s?

The Fiat 500X won the Top Safety Pick award, but it wasn't as safe as the Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 is the second safest small SUV. The 500X was 12th.

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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 9, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The RAV4 and the Fiat 500X are both safe cars, but one ranks much higher than the other
  • If you choose a car with an IIHS award, you may be able to save money on insurance
  • The small size SUV class is notoriously unsafe, but some options are actually safer than other cars

Even though small size SUVs are actually much less safe than their midsize and full-size counterparts, some are a great option for people who want more protection than what they would receive in a small car or even a full-size car.

The idea that small size SUVs are unsafe is being turned upside down by car companies that are committed to making all the right features on their cars so they don’t have to worry about poor safety ratings anymore.

For as long as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been creating tests for the vehicles, they have made sure they can make their tests as realistic as possible. Cars must meet certain requirements to be considered safe or they will not get the best scores possible.

IIHS rates their cars in order of best to worst:

  • Good (G)
  • Acceptable (A)
  • Marginal (M)
  • Poor (P)

Compare car insurance rates and see what a difference a car’s safety rating can make. Enter your zip code into our free comparison tool above to get started.

What the Ratings Mean

The ratings will help determine the safety of a vehicle. If a car has a high rating of “G,” then it is safer than a car that has a rating of “M.” The IIHS adds all of these scores up, though, and the higher each of the scores are, the overall better ranking a vehicle will have.

The higher ranking a vehicle is, the safer it is for people to drive.

The vehicles that have the highest rankings and have the best safety features on all models will be able to receive the Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards to help potential owners know they are getting the best vehicle in terms of safety.

The Toyota and the Fiat both won awards from IIHS for the safety ratings they received. They are among the top vehicles in their class.


Using the LATCH System

The LATCH system was designed to keep children as safe as possible, but it is not effective if it is difficult to use. Since the LATCH system can sometimes be hard for people to figure out how to use, it is important for IIHS to determine how safe it is.

In fact, The Institute likes to make sure they are checking different parts of the LATCH system to see how it performs. The Toyota LATCH system had hardware that was close to the anchors and could have been mistaken for the anchor.

The Fiat had a LATCH system that was too difficult for the user to maneuver in different positions. For that reason, it only received an “M” score on the LATCH system.

Avoidance Measures

The Fiat 500X and the Toyota RAV4 are both equipped with crash avoidance equipment. The equipment includes a warning system to let drivers know they are going to get in a collision.

The vehicles also have auto brake features on certain trims that help the car to stop in the event of an imminent accident. The Toyota RAV4 received a “superior” rating for the front crash prevention. The Fiat 500X received an “advanced” score.

Both of the vehicles got the score as a result of optional equipment. The Toyota RAV4 performed better because it avoided a crash at 12 and 25 miles per hour.

The Fiat 500X avoided a crash at 12 miles per hour, but it was only able to reduce its speed at 25 miles per hour resulting in a collision.

The Crash Test

In the crash tests, the IIHS looks at several different areas to determine how the vehicles will perform during a crash. During the small overlap on the front driver’s side, the RAV4 and the Fiat500X had the same score of “G.”

They also had the same score of “G” on all of the other tests that IIHS performed for collision performance. The RAV4 received a rating of “P” on the small overlap front test on the passenger’s side, but there was no data for the Fiat 500X.

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The Safer Choice

The RAV4 is the safer choice of a vehicle between the RAV4 and the Fiat 500X. It scored higher in every area and in the overall score. The IIHS also awarded the RAV4 the Top Safety Pick+ for the performance it had in each of the tests.

The Fiat 500X was able to win the Top Safety Pick award, but it was not as safe as what the RAV4 was. In fact, the RAV4 is the second safest small size SUV, but the 500X was the twelfth.

Since a Top Safety Pick+ vehicle is often less expensive for drivers to insurance, the process of shopping around for insurance may be easier.

While a reduced insurance premium may seem like a good idea, it is not the only reason to choose a Top Safety Pick+. You can also rest assured you will be safer in it and you’ll have less of a chance of being injured in a collision.

While you can’t be guaranteed that you won’t get hurt in an accident, a Top Safety Pick+ or a Top Safety Pick will certainly keep you safer than a car that does not have high IIHS ratings.

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