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

Jeep's SUV received top safety honors from the IIHS in 2017, while Volkswagen's did not. The average cost of SUV auto insurance is 18% higher than normal cars.

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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 28, 2021

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Things to remember...

  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is one of the leading vehicle safety companies in the United States.
  • The IIHS conducts real-life evaluations within areas of crashworthiness, crash prevention, and latches
  • Volkswagen Tiguan was a little below average in its safety ratings given by the IIHS, mostly because of a marginal grade for the small overlap test
  • Jeep Compass is an American vehicle that bears collisions and collision-prevention very well, but it comes short in the area of headlights and latches

Sports Utility Vehicles or SUVs are now driven by almost all demographics in the market. The numerous possibilities available with all the space that is within these cars, as well as the enormous power under the hood, is appealing to millions of people worldwide.

Sometimes, however, drivers forget that larger cars might be harder to control and this causes accidents that can take lives. Make sure you are covered with our free quote tool above! Just enter your zip code and compare rates today!

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

The Institute tests crashworthiness, crash prevention, and child anchors. Grades for the crashworthiness and child anchors can be good, acceptable, marginal, or poor. Crash prevention is slightly different with basic, advanced, and superior ratings possible.

Furthermore, almost all categories are broken down into more sub-areas of assessment. This will be showcased through an example of a comparison between two prominent SUVs.

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Volkswagen Tiguan Versus Jeep Compass

When looked at from the front, these two vehicles almost remind of one another. The modern design with subtle headlights and smooth grill make both models appear flawless. When it comes to safety, however, are they impeccable?


When the Institute tested Tiguan in their crashworthiness procedures, the vehicle displayed some concerning shortcomings. The small overlap front collisions resulted in lack of survival space that was not maintained well. This caused the risk of injuries to spike up, and the fact that the airbags did not protect the head and neck did not help.

Even though the other four categories were good for Volkswagen’s model, the poor performance mentioned above undermined almost all of it. The dummy was exposed to a very high risk of left hip injury as the instrument panel was completely hindered when the intrusion happened.

As far as Jeep goes, it can be said that the opposite results took place. The American manufacturer maintained the survival space very well and preserved the dummy from any head injuries.

The airbags were deployed in a way that the driver’s head had nowhere else to slide off once it contacted them, and the overall intrusion to the cabin was nowhere near as bad as it was with Volkswagen.

Therefore, the winner of the first part of this comparison is Jeep that achieved perfect results for crashworthiness. Both vehicles lacked a score for the passenger-side overlap test that the Institute started doing about a month ago.

Crash Prevention & Mitigation

Technically speaking, both models continued their performance on the same pattern. This means that Jeep excelled once more while Volkswagen somehow came short.

To be precise, Tiguan’s downfall was not a poor performance within the crash prevention area, but the fact that no rating was available at all. For a potential buyer, no rating could almost be interpreted as a bad rating.

Jeep, on the other hand, completely avoided a collision in both 12 and 25-mph tests, which gave it all six points or a superior rating.

Another area that the Institute sneaks in their crash prevention testing is the headlight review. Luckily for Volkswagen, their model finally outdid Jeep because the grades compared “acceptable” to “marginal”.

Jeep struggled with inadequate visibility on the gradual left curve and only fair visibility on the sharp right and sharp left curve.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH)

To finish off the comparison, the Institute did an overview of both models’ latches. Jeep started off the comparison very positively and it almost seemed like the performance was going to be prominent.

Unfortunately, the model fell off and its latches received a poor rating. The areas of struggles were multiple: anchors too deep in the seat, anchors required too much force to attach, and it was difficult to maneuver around them.

Volkswagen got an acceptable rating which gave it a notable mini-victory. The only issues that the Institute found on the German model included latches being too deep in the seat.

2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+

Volkswagen was immediately disqualified from either award as the crashworthiness ratings were not perfect across the board.

This requirement, as well as an advanced or superior crash prevention, will give a vehicle its Top Safety Pick award. Jeep Compass met these two thresholds and got selected to be within this group of above-average automobiles.

The Winner

Although Jeep somewhat ruined its great start with a marginal headlight and poor latch rating, it still significantly surpassed Volkswagen in the first two categories.

Tiguan receiving a marginal rating for its small overlap test was very concerning, and the lack of crash prevention results did not ease these concerns. Thus, the winner is Jeep Compass.

Whether Jeep or Volkswagen is the best fit for you, there will be insurance needs for your new car. To get coverage effortlessly is impossible as this is a tedious process that requires hefty research and dedication. Lack of either can result in overpayments and money being wasted.

To find the best offer or quote from an insurance company, numerous companies will need to be taken into account. This can be done through quote-comparison websites that have already done the research. These websites showcase the true cost of a car that goes beyond the basic price tag.

The drivers often forget that they will have to pay insurance costs that are reflective of many factors, one of which is the safety evaluation. The better the results of an automobile during the safety testing, the lower the premium rates will be.

Thus, by comparing insurance quotes and knowing how safety issues affect premiums, a driver will be able to get to the bottom of the true costs of the new car they might be purchasing. Compare quotes with our free quote tool below now!

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