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

Things to remember...

  • The biggest safety difference between the Fiat 500X and the Buick Encore is the Fiat 500X won the Top Safety Pick award but the Buick Encore didn’t
  • Since the Fiat 500X won the Top Safety Pick award, people who choose it will pay less on their car insurance policy
  • Looking for a vehicle that is safer without looking at any other area can make it difficult to get a vehicle that works best for different situations

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, commonly referred to as the IIHS, focuses on the highway safety of vehicles. The Institute was started in 1959 to help support efforts to make roadways throughout the United States safer.

While it was initially started by insurance companies coming together to help make safety a priority, it eventually became an independent organization that helps research safety information about vehicles.

The Fiat 500X and the Buick Encore are both small SUVs. The Fiat 500X is generally considered a compact small SUV, but the Buick Encore is not.

Many people may think that a larger car will be safer than a smaller car, but the smaller 500X is actually safer than the Buick Encore according to the IIHS.

Compare car insurance quotes today to see how they compare between these vehicles. Enter your zip code above to get started.

Table of Contents

How the 500X and the Encore Were Ranked

The IIHS used the same system for the Fiat 500X and the Buick Encore that they use for every other vehicle they test. They try to only use the same testing methods for vehicles so they will have standardized results.

Doing this standardized testing is part of their commitment to providing accurate test ratings so consumers will have a better idea of how safe their vehicle is.

To determine how a vehicle will perform during a crash, the IIHS has tests they use for the crashworthiness of vehicles. The vehicles are scored as follows:

  • Poor
  • Marginal
  • Acceptable
  • Good

Vehicles that have poor ratings will not be eligible for the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ award, but they will be eligible for the Top Safety Pick award if they are able to meet all the other criteria the IIHS has in place.

The Fiat 500X and the Buick Encore in a Crash

For the IIHS to rank a vehicle depending on crashworthiness, they perform tests in different areas. They judge the vehicle in the following areas:

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

The IIHS uses these tests to determine which areas of the vehicle fare the best and how they would be if a crash actually happened.

There was no data for the Fiat 500X for the small front overlap crash on the passenger side, but it received a Good score on the driver side. The Buick encore received a score of Acceptable on the passenger side and a score of Good on the driver side.

For every other crashworthiness test, including the restraints in the vehicle, the Encore and the 500X had the same score of Good.

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Equipment for Crash Avoidance

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has requirements in place for front collision safety warnings. These must be in every new car to alert drivers if they are going to be in a collision.

While they do not have any guidelines in place for auto brakes, many manufacturers choose to include this feature in their vehicles to make them safer.

A vehicle that meets the NHTSA standards will receive a score of basic from the IIHS on the crash avoidance. The Buick Encore had the warning system. Since it did not have the auto brake, it was only able to score a rating of Basic.

The Fiat 500X also had the warning system that met the standards the NHTSA had in place, but it included optional equipment for the auto brake. The 500X was able to stop when it was going 12 miles per hour.

It was not able to stop when it was going 25 miles per hour so it only received a score of Advanced instead of Superior.

Fiat 500X and Buick Encore LATCH Systems

Since the NHTSA governs the LATCH systems, the IIHS is only able to rate them based on how easy they are for people to use. To determine the efficacy of the LATCH system, the IIHS looks at how easily an average person can put the car seat in.

If it is too hard to maneuver, the person may be less likely to use it.

The system in the Fiat 500X was only rated Marginal because it was too hard to find and too deep in the seat. The 500X also had other hardware in one seat that could have been mistaken for the LATCH system.

The system in the Buick Encore was rated Acceptable because it had other hardware that could have been mistaken for it.

Is the Fiat 500X safer than the Buick Encore?

According to the IIHS ratings, the Fiat 500X is a safer car than the Buick Encore.

While the vehicles had similar ratings in some areas and the Encore even performed better on some tests, the Fiat 500X had an overall higher score than the Encore.

It also received a Top Safety Pick award while the Buick Encore did not receive an award from the IIHS.

Reasons to Choose a Vehicle

Even drivers who want to purchase a safe vehicle should consider a few things:

  • The upfront cost with optional safety equipment
  • Estimated amount you’ll pay over time for the vehicle including maintenance and fuel
  • What it will cost to insure over the lifetime of the vehicle

Shop around for insurance policies and compare quotes to learn what you’ll pay to insure the vehicle. Enter your zip code right here to get started. Think about what you have to spend and what you’ll be using the car for in addition to how safe the car is.


  1. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/about-us
  2. https://www.fiatusa.com/500x.html
  3. http://www.buick.com/suvs/encore-compact-luxury-suv
  4. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/faq
  5. https://www.consumerreports.org/car-maintenance/the-cost-of-car-ownership/
  6. https://www.kbb.com/best-safety-rated-cars/

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