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

Things to remember...

  • The Fiat 500X is less expensive than the Ford Escape
  • The Fiat 500X performed well on safety tests and earned a Top Safety Pick Award
  • The Ford Escape has better headlights than the Fiat

The Fiat 500X is smaller than the Ford Escape in many aspects, but both of these vehicles have a place in the small SUV class. There are 23 small SUVs on the market in total, and both of these vehicles work hard to compete with the others on the list.

One way in which these two small SUVs compete is with their safety ratings. Consumers are concerned with safety, as they should be in a time when drivers are more distracted than ever.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) understands the importance of driving a safe vehicle, and their experts work hard every day to test each and every vehicle in the small SUV class to determine which is the safest for you and your family.

The safety ratings the IIHS provides each small SUV also factor into the overall cost of ownership in terms of insurance premiums. Safe vehicles are less expensive to insure.

Call your insurance provider for a quote for both SUVs and then compare rates with other companies right here free of charge.

Table of Contents

IIHS Safety Ratings Broken Down

The IIHS makes their safety ratings easy to understand by ascribing familiar rankings to their test results. Scores are written as the following:

  • Good
  • Acceptable
  • Marginal
  • Poor

Each one is in order from best to worse, and the IIHS typically uses the first letter of each rating to describe the rating given to each.

Earning anything less than good scores in the crashworthiness category eliminates a small SUV from being eligible for a Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ rating.

The first set of tests used to determine the safety of a small SUV breaks down the crashworthiness of the vehicle in various accidents. The following areas are put to the test:

  • The small front overlap
  • The moderate overlap front
  • The roof
  • The sides
  • The head restraints and seats

The second category is the crash avoidance and mitigation category, which provides ratings on the headlights and the front crash prevention aspects of all vehicles. The front crash prevention doesn’t earn a letter rating. Instead, it’s rated superior, advanced, or basic.

If the rating is basic, the vehicle cannot earn any safety picks.

If headlights earn an acceptable or good rating as well as all good ratings in crashworthiness and a rating better than basic in the front crash test, it’s a Top Safety Pick+ winner.

The final rating category takes into account the child safety anchors in each small SUV. This is only broken down to test the LATCH in the back seat and even then, it’s only rated on how easy it is to use.

The idea is the ease of use makes it safer because parents are more likely to install seats correctly when it’s easier.

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Fiat vs. Ford

Only the Fiat earned a safety award. The Ford Escape didn’t perform poorly in any category, but it didn’t earn a high enough front crash prevention score to earn an award.

This score makes the Fiat the better vehicle in terms of safety ratings, and it makes it slightly less expensive to insure over the course of time.

Fiat 500X

  • Good ratings in all crashworthiness tests
  • Advanced rating in front crash tests
  • Poor rating in headlight tests
  • Marginal rating in LATCH tests

Ford Escape

  • Good rating in four crashworthiness categories
  • Acceptable rating in the final crashworthiness category
  • Basic rating in front crash tests
  • Acceptable headlight rating
  • Marginal LATCH ease of use

Cost of Ownership

The true cost of ownership is as important to many consumers as the safety features in a small SUV.

You might not care if the LATCH earns a great rating if you don’t have kids, and you might not be as concerned with other safety features if you don’t spend much time on the road. It’s your prerogative.

However, the true cost of ownership is what you should consider next in line to safety.

The starting price on these two SUVs is staggering. The Fiat is almost $4,000 less expensive than the Ford, but what about the overall cost of owning it?

To determine if the Fiat remains less expensive, you must consider which one comes with the better factory warranty, which one has better gas mileage and which one is less expensive to insure.

Comparing car insurance rates is the best way to figure out which one is less expensive to insure. You can ask your current insurance provider to offer quotes, shop around, and even negotiate.

Mention to the agent the Fiat is a Top Safety Pick. Mention if you’re retired, if you work from home, or if you live in a safe neighborhood. All of these can lower rates a bit.

Enter your zip code below to compare quotes from several insurance companies at once for free.


  1. https://www.fiatusa.com/500x.html
  2. https://www.ford.com/suvs-crossovers/escape/2017/
  3. http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/v/class-summary/small-suvs
  4. http://www.chop.edu/pages/what-latch
  5. https://www.edmunds.com/tco.html

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