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

When comparing small SUVs and safety, Toyota’s RAV4 received the highest award for safety from the IIHS. Jeep’s four small SUVs rate poorly in many categories.

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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: Apr 22, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Toyota’s RAV4 received the highest award for safety from the IIHS
  • Jeep’s four small SUVs rate poorly in many categories
  • The Jeep Compass is the only one of four Jeep’s that received any safety awards from the IIHS

What do you look for when you’re shopping for a small SUV?

Are you more concerned with the exterior appearance of your vehicle or the safety rating that it receives from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)?

For some, the idea of driving a cooler car with a better body style is where their preference lies. For others, it’s in the safety features the vehicle provides while on the road.

There’s nothing wrong with preferring one over the other, but you still want to know what you’re dealing with in terms of safety.

The IIHS takes all the small SUVs on the market each model year and tests them on several factors to give consumers an idea of what they’re working with in terms of safety.

They also provide this information to help insurance agencies figure out which vehicles are less expensive to insure. If a vehicle has an IIHS Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ award, insurance agencies know it’s a solid vehicle worth a nice insurance discount.

Never forget to mention this when you are shopping for insurance rates from various companies. Shop around for insurance coverage today by using our free comparison tool above.

How do I know if a vehicle is safe or not?

The IIHS makes it very easy for you and other consumers to read their ratings. They divide each safety feature into three categories, which are then divided into several subcategories.

The major categories are as follows:

  • crashworthiness
  • crash avoidance and mitigation
  • child safety features

The subcategories are then graded in tests.

Each category can receive one of the four-letter grades like you did when you were in school from best to worse.

  • “G” is good, and it’s the best rating available.
  • “A” is acceptable, and it’s a good rating to receive in any category.
  • “M” is marginal, and it basically means that this feature has ample room for improvement.
  • “P” is poor, and you can do better in most instances.

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Toyota’s Safety Ratings for Small SUVs

The 2018 Toyota RAV4 is the only Toyota on the small SUV list, and it has excellent ratings across the board. In fact, it’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ recipient, which means it is one of the safest vehicles on the road.

The only categories in which the Toyota did not rate a perfect score was in the head lights department, where it did only receive an “A” rating.

In terms of the small overlap in the front, the RAV4 did receive two different ratings, but they do balance one another out. The driver’s side received a perfect “G” rating, but the passenger’s side did not do well.

It received a “P” rating, which is never something you want to see. However, it also received a perfect superior rating in the front crash prevention system, which makes it an excellent choice.

Jeep’s Safety Ratings for Small SUVs

The Jeep family has four small SUVs on this list, but only one is a Top Safety Pick for the current model year.

The Jeep Compass is one you want to look into. It has “G” ratings across the crashworthiness board and the highest level of superior for front-end crashes.

However, the headlights are only marginal, and the child LATCH system is rated poorly. Since most people in a Jeep aren’t looking to drive their kids around, it’s not something too many consumers place much focus on.

Jeep Patriot Ratings

The Patriot has less impressive ratings. It has a “P” in the small overlap category as well as the headlight category, and it has an “A” rating in the LATCH system. It did not earn any top safety pick ratings or awards.

The Patriot was also not tested for front crash prevention, which brings down the overall rating a bit.

Jeep Renegade Ratings

The Renegade doesn’t have horrible ratings where it was rated, but it’s yet to be rated in various categories. It has a “G” rating across what was tested in the crashworthiness category, and it does have an advanced rating in the front crash prevention category.

Superior is best, but advanced is good. Headlights have no rating, and the LATCH is marginal ease of use rating.

Jeep Wrangler Ratings

The Wrangler is a favorite for drivers with its sporty exterior and rugged capabilities, but it’s got horrible safety ratings. The small front overlap received an “M” rating, the side crash tests were “P” for poor, and the headlights received the same “P” rating.

The LATCH received a marginal rating, and the moderate front overlap is the only category in which the Wrangler received a “G” rating in any category.

Toyota Beats Jeep in Terms of Small SUV Safety

If you want the safest vehicle that offers the best insurance discounts, it’s the Toyota you want to go with. However, you might still find that the Jeep Compass is worth a second look.

It does have an IIHS safety rating pick award, and it does have good ratings across the board in terms of most things you find important when driving. It’s also going to provide you a few discounts because of its safety rating, and that might be a deciding factor for many drivers.

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