Chevy and Jeep Midsize SUV Safety Rating Comparison: Who Comes Out On Top?

Chevy and Jeep Midsize SUV Safety Rating comparison aren't great — they both have poor safety ratings for their midsize SUVs. The low safety ratings for both Jeep and Chevy midsize SUVs will affect insurance rates. Upgrading safety features may lower your car insurance rates by up to 8%.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • SUVs can tip and roll over easier than smaller cars
  • A vehicle’s safety rating can impact the availability and cost of insurance
  • The insurance industry relies heavily on safety ratings awarded by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  • Neither Chevy nor Jeep scored well in 2017, so you might want to look at safer vehicles

If you are in the market for a new SUV, it should go without saying that safety is a prime consideration. You have probably heard that SUVs are more likely to tip and roll over in a crash than a smaller car, but is there any truth to that?

According to the National Traffic Safety Administration (NTSA), larger vehicles such as passenger vans and SUVs are much more likely to tip than smaller passenger vehicles. However, don’t let that discourage you. Crash avoidance technology has significantly advanced.

Now it’s time to choose between your two favorite SUVs. You are probably asking yourself, “Which manufacturer makes the safer vehicle? Is Chevy’s safety rating for midsize SUVs better than Jeep’s?”

Let’s take a look at what the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has to say about it.

Also, you should take a look at how car insurance premiums compare between these two makes. Enter your zip code into our free rate tool above to see and compare quotes.

Why is the IIHS safety rating so important?

When it comes to assessing and pricing the insurability of a vehicle, insurance companies rely heavily on safety ratings provided by the IIHS. Although insurance actuaries may look at data compiled by the NTSA, what concerns them most are the IIHS safety ratings.

The IIHS looks at:

  • Crashworthiness
  • Crash Avoidance & Mitigation
  • Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children

However, this is only one part of the equation when setting individual prices and availability of insurance for drivers. The Institute also looks at:

You may be looking for affordable car insurance, but the IIHS and the NTSA also understand that safety involves more than just the vehicle’s safety rating. A car can be a TOP SAFETY PICK + but still be statistically more likely to be involved in accidents.

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When Safety Ratings and Accident Statistics Don’t Agree

Here is where the IIHS looks at such things as demographics. It could be that a particular vehicle is manufactured with state-of-the-art technology and is one of the safest vehicles on the road, but appeals to young drivers with little driving experience.

In fact, young drivers cost more to insure.

Or, it could be that one type of vehicle is more likely to be driven on longer trips, putting extra miles on the car. The law of averages states that the more you drive, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident. It’s a simple fact.

Don’t let accident statistics be your only guide. The ultimate authority is the IIHS. Take their safety rating and use it to your advantage.

How the IIHS Arrives at Safety Scores

A safety score is the compilation of three sets of tests. Although each set is important, parts of the Crashworthiness segment carry more weight in a vehicle’s final score.


The crashworthiness tests are designed to show how well a vehicle can withstand a direct impact. This set is broken down by:

  • Front Small Overlap
  • Front Moderate Overlap
  • Side
  • Roof Strength
  • Head Restraints & Seats

Of these, the driver’s side Front Small Overlap and the Front Moderate Overlap carry the most weight on an SUV’s final safety rating. The reason for this is that statistically, front overlap crashes pose a high risk of injury.

Simulated accidents help to establish just how well each part of the vehicle can withstand a direct impact.

Each vehicle will be rated Good (G), Acceptable (A), Marginal (M), or Poor (P). Only the Chevy Equinox received a G in all five areas even though it did not receive a TOP SAFETY PICK award. 

The Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee did Marginally on the highly-weighted Front Small Overlap test, while the Wrangler only received an M on the equally-important Side Overlap test.

Crash Avoidance & Mitigation

In the Crash Avoidance & Mitigation tests, the IIHS looks at a car’s auto brake system at speeds of 12 mph and 25 mph, respectively. The tests also look at whether or not there is a warning system in place to detect the potential for a collision.

This warning system must meet or exceed government criteria.

The IIHS also tests a vehicle’s headlights on both straight and curved roadways. Ratings apply to very specific types of headlights. This set of tests is broken down into categories of:

  • Front Crash Prevention – Rated as Superior, Acceptable or Basic
  • Headlights – Rated as G, A, M or P

Only the Jeep Cherokee received a Superior on Front Crash Prevention technology, but still leaving it behind the Chevy Equinox in the overall ranking. 

Chevy’s Equinox didn’t receive a score on Headlights while Jeep’s Cherokee and Grand Cherokee scored as Acceptable. The Jeep Wrangler didn’t fare as well due to its Poor rating in headlights.

Lower Anchors & Tethers for Children (LATCH)

If you have children small enough to require car seats, this test should be of utmost consideration. As one of the newest segments of IIHS safety testing, the LATCH test looks at ease-of-use.

LATCH is scored in the same way as Crashworthiness and Headlights, receiving grades of G, A, M or P. The Chevy Equinox and Jeep Cherokee received an A while the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wrangler received an M.

Are there safer midsize SUVs?

Of the 21 midsize SUVs rated by the IIHS in 2017, none of Chevy’s or Jeep’s models received a TOP SAFETY PICK award. Because of this, you may wish to consider another SUV within this class of vehicles.

You can always check the IIHS safety ratings to see which midsize SUVs scored highly in any given year, but for the sake of brevity, this year’s honors went to:

  1. Hyundai Santa Fe
  2. Toyota Highlander
  3. Kia Sorento
  4. Mazda CX-9
  5. Honda Pilot

Now that you know how the IIHS rates a car’s safety, you can see which factors are most important to you. If you have small children, obviously Child Seat Safety is of vital importance.

Drivers who spend an inordinate amount of time on the road or are apt to take long trips may weigh in heavier on other aspects of safety ratings.

So then, while you still may have your heart set on a Chevy or Jeep, there are safer midsize SUVs on the market. Your safety is of ultimate concern, but the availability and cost of insurance are important as well. The choice is yours, so choose wisely.

Compare car insurance quotes to find the best rate for the coverage you need no matter which vehicle you decide to drive.

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