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

Things to remember...

  • The Fiat 500X is a Top Safety Pick award winner for safety
  • The Volkswagen Tiguan has a superior child LATCH and superior headlights
  • The VW was not rated for its front crash prevention abilities

Safety features are more important than ever to many consumers. Whether you’re in the market for the new Fiat 500X or the new Volkswagen Tiguan, one of the first questions you might ask at the dealership is how well each one performed in its crash tests.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) performs safety tests on all small SUVs annually in an effort to rate them from best to worst in addition to providing consumers with insight into what they might expect in terms of safety in their new small SUV.

Why is safety so important now versus a decade ago? Distracted driving is the primary reason. For example:

  • You pick up the phone.
  • You answer a quick text.
  • Someone tagged you in a social media photo, and you must check on it right away in case it’s unflattering.

Many people pay more attention to their phones than the road, and it’s dangerous.

Just when you thought avoiding the road on New Year’s Eve kept you safe, you find out distracted driving such as texting behind the wheel is more dangerous than drunk driving putting you in more danger on your way to work every morning.

Safety is important, and it also factors into the cost of owning your vehicle. A safe vehicle is more likely to stand up to crash tests with minimal damage and fewer injuries due to great features.

Your insurance agency is going to charge you less to insure a safe vehicle. Call your insurance company before you make a decision regarding which vehicle you want to drive to compare rates, and don’t forget to mention if one is rated well in terms of safety.

Compare quotes with other car insurance companies to make sure you’re getting the best rate. Enter your zip code above to compare several companies at once for free.

Table of Contents

IIHS Safety Ratings and Why They’re Important

Imagine being involved in a crash in your new SUV. You want to be sure your interior keeps you safe, your exterior takes the brunt of the damage, and your family remains safe.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests all small SUVs on how crashworthy they are. To determine crashworthiness, the IIHS rates all vehicles on how well the following parts perform:

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

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To see if the vehicle is good for crash avoidance and mitigation, the IIHS rates the vehicle’s front crash prevention and its headlights.

Unfortunately, few vehicles perform well in the headlight testing performed by the IIHS. None of the 23 small SUVs on the market managed to score the highest rating in headlight testing.

The LATCH system is the final rating issued to all vehicles, and this system performed as well as the headlights. No small SUV earned the highest rating for its LATCH.

Every vehicle is tested, examined, and judged. Good, acceptable, marginal, and poor are the ratings issued for every test performed. Any test with a marginal or poor score is bad news, but acceptable and good ratings mean a car is at the top of its safety performance.

Is the Fiat safer than the VW?

The Fiat 500X performed quite well in safety tests.

It performed well enough to earn a Top Safety Pick rating from the IIHS, which is awarded to any small SUV that earned five good ratings in crashworthiness tests as well as advanced or higher for front crash prevention abilities.

The Fiat did just that with all good ratings in every crashworthiness test. It earned an advanced rating for its front crash prevention as well.

Where the Fiat fell short was the LATCH and headlights. The LATCH earned a marginal rating while the headlights earned a dismal poor rating.

The Volkswagen is not an award winner for any safety features. However, it holds its own in terms of safety. The small overlap front is only marginal, but the Tiguan earned good ratings in the other four crashworthiness tests.

It also features significantly more impressive headlights and LATCH. Both earned acceptable ratings. The VW didn’t fall short, but it wasn’t rated for its front crash prevention in the current model year.

Can I save money buying a small SUV in any other way?

Saving money on the purchase of a new vehicle is important. Right at the top of the list with safety, the price is a major concern or many consumers. The Volkswagon is more expensive than the Fiat by approximately four thousand dollars.

The Fiat blows the VW out of the water with gas mileage, earning anywhere from four to nine additional miles per gallon depending on where you drive.

However, the Volkswagon is also much larger and more spacious in almost every category than the Fiat, which is a big deal for many consumers.

To save additional money on your vehicle, consider the warranties they come with. A longer factory warranty saves you money on basic repairs and potential problems. The other consideration is insurance.

Your insurance company will provide you with exact costs for insuring both vehicles to help with your decision. You should also compare free insurance quotes right here to see if another company is more willing to work with you in terms of the overall cost.


  1. https://www.fiatusa.com/500x.html
  2. http://www.vw.com/models/tiguan/
  3. https://www.cnbc.com/id/31545004
  4. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/v/class-summary/small-suvs
  5. https://www.consumerreports.org/car-insurance/10-tips-to-save-on-car-insurance/

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