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

Things to remember...

  • The Kia Sportage is the safest small SUV on the market in terms of safety ratings
  • The Jeep Compass is a Top Safety Pick winner, but it did not rate well in the headlights or LATCH category
  • The Jeep Patriot is the only Jeep with an easy-to-use child LATCH

Safety ratings play a substantial role in the purchase of a new SUV for many families, but it’s not the only consideration consumers make when searching for a new car.

Many consumers spent time researching specific aspects of potential new vehicles to ensure they find the one that best suits their needs, wants, and budget.

It’s often the budget that makes or breaks a deal whether the overall purchase price of a small SUV is too much or the monthly payment is above and beyond your comfort zone.

Small SUVs are becoming more popular with each passing day for their cost-efficiency and great safety ratings. Buyers have the option to choose luxury or functionality, a combination of both, and you know you’re getting something well within the budget.

The Kia Sportage is one of the safest small SUVs in its class, and it’s often compared to one of Jeep’s four small SUVs. The Jeep Compass, Jeep Renegade, Jeep Patriot, and Jeep Wrangler are all popular small SUVs with consumers.

While each one has its own price point, it’s the safety ratings that often have consumers looking hard at one or the other in the Jeep or Kia family. The reason is safety first, but it’s also the overall cost of ownership.

The safer the ratings an SUV receives from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the more affordable the insurance premium.

If a vehicle performs well in safety crash tests, it’s less expensive to repair and insure as a result.

This point is also where most consumers begin to consider shopping around for the best car insurance rates prior to making a new vehicle purchase. Compare car insurance quotes right here by using our tool above.

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IIHS Safety Ratings Made Understandable

The IIHS wants to ensure consumers know how safe they are in a vehicle. These tests are not a guarantee you will be safe in the event of an accident, but they are an indicator of how safe you might remain in an accident of this sort.

The IIHS rates all vehicle crash tests as the following:

  • good (G)
  • acceptable (A)
  • marginal (M)
  • poor (P)

There eight crash tests performed and rated by the IIHS, and they are broken down into different variations.

Each vehicle is tested for its crashworthiness in the following areas:

  • the small overlap front
  • the moderate overlap front
  • the side
  • the roof
  • and the seats and head restraints

Each vehicle is then tested for its front crash prevention abilities as well as the strength of the headlights, which make up the crash avoidance and mitigation process.

The LATCH system is also tested for its ease of use. The easier a LATCH system is to use, the more likely parents will have their kids’ car seats strapped correctly into the back seat of their small SUV.

This is the only test in the child seat anchors category of crash testing by the IIHS.

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IIHS Safety Awards

An award for safety is important when shopping for small SUVs, as this can indicate your potential new vehicle performed well across the board.

It also means you can tell your insurance provider you drive a vehicle listed on the IIHS’ list of Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ winners.

Insurance discounts are available for vehicles that earn either of these honors.

All it takes for a Top Safety Pick award is five good ratings in the crashworthiness category and a rating of advanced or superior in front crash tests. An acceptable or good rating for headlights in addition to these requirements makes the vehicle a Top Safety Pick+ winner.

Kia vs. Jeep Safety Ratings

The Kia Sportage and the Hyundai Tucson are tied for the safest small SUV on the market with excellent scores and Top Safety Pick+ awards. The Jeep Compass is the only Jeep-made small SUV on the list of award winners.

Unfortunately for Jeep, the brand’s Renegade, Patriot, and Wrangler round out the bottom of the list of 23 small SUVs in terms of safety.

Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage excelled in every crash test in the 2017 model year. The vehicle earned a superior rating for front crash prevention and a good rating in every crashworthiness subtest.

The headlights earned an acceptable rating, which is the highest rating earned by any small SUV. The LATCH system is easy to use, and it earned an acceptable rating as a result. It’s a Top Safety Pick+ winner.

Jeep Compass

The Compass just missed the mark as a Top Safety Pick+ winner with a marginal headlight rating. It’s the first on the list of Top Safety Pick award winners in the small SUV category, however. 

The Compass earned perfect scores in each crashworthiness test, a superior score in the front crash test, but it did earn a poor score for the ease of use of the LATCH system.

Jeep Patriot

The Jeep Patriot is the best of the worst Jeeps in terms of safety ratings, but it’s not fair to rate it poorly without a crash test prevention score to round out its rating.

It did score poorly in the small overlap front category, but the rest of the crashworthiness tests each earned a good rating. The lack of front crash prevention hurts this vehicle.

The headlights are poor, but the LATCH system is acceptable, which is the best of all Jeep’s small SUVs.

Jeep Renegade

The Renegade was not rated in several categories including the small overlap front, the seats and head restraints, and the headlights.

It did earn good ratings in the remainder of the crashworthiness categories as well as an advanced rating for its front crash prevention abilities. The LATCH is only marginal.

Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler was not rated across the board. It’s got a marginal rating for its small overlap front, a poor rating for its side strength, and a good rating on the moderate overlap front. The rest of the crashworthiness categories went unrated.

The front crash prevention test was not performed on this vehicle, either. The headlights are poor, and the LATCH is only marginal.

How do I know which small SUV is the most affordable?

Determining which vehicle is the overall least expensive is one of the main points consumers look at when they’re comparing new vehicles.

Hidden costs such as fuel, maintenance, and even your insurance premiums factor into the overall cost. One vehicle might appear less expensive on the lot, but it might be far more expensive to insure.

Call your insurance company prior to buying a new car to figure out what you’ll pay to drive each one.

You may also compare free insurance quotes from other agencies to see which one is offering the best rates. Enter your zip code right here to begin!

Take those rates and factor them into which vehicle has the best factor warranty, gas mileage, and options. That’s who you know which vehicle is most likely to cost less to own over the course of the next few years.


  1. https://www.kia.com/us/en/vehicle/sportage/2017
  2. https://www.jeep.com/2017/compass.html
  3. https://www.jeep.com/renegade.html
  4. https://www.jeep.com/patriot.html
  5. https://www.jeep.com/wrangler.html
  6. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/v/class-summary/small-suvs
  7. https://www.autotrader.com/car-shopping/hidden-costs-of-buying-a-new-car-201898

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