Is Honda’s safety rating for midsize SUVs better than Jeep’s?

Honda safety ratings for midsize SUVs are much better than Jeep's safety ratings when comparing the Pilot to Jeep's Wrangler, Cherokee, and Grand Cherokee.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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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...

  • While Honda and Jeep brands both have exceptional reputations among SUV shoppers and drivers, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety safety tests indicate a major discrepancy in several important categories
  • Three Jeep vehicles and one Honda vehicle were reviewed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the midsize SUV category, and only one of these four models received a commendation for excellence in safety ratings
  • Two of these SUVs had very low safety test ratings in at least two of the eight categories that were analyzed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety


Many automotive buyers are interested in buying a new midsize SUV, and there are almost two dozen models in this class to choose from this year.

This class includes the following vehicles:

You may have already test driven these vehicles at the top of your list, and you may have felt very secure behind the wheel of each one of them.

After all, these are larger vehicles that have exceptional and innovative features. Unfortunately, these features that are common among most midsize SUVs can create a false sense of security.

Make sure you compare rates with our free quote tool above to get the best rates today!

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) regularly reviews vehicles in this class across eight safety test areas

A closer review of the test results for the Honda Pilot and three Jeep models can show you which of these vehicles had overwhelmingly superior safety test scores in many areas.

An IIHS Safety Test Showdown: Honda Versus Jeep Midsize SUV Ratings

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Some SUV buyers may assume that safety ratings for most vehicles in this class from popular, respected automakers have reasonably similar safety ratings.

Because of this, you may not even think about checking IIHS safety test results before buying a vehicle.

However, a closer look at the eight safety test results from the IIHS for this category will open your eyes to the considerable differences between these four SUV models.

Understanding the Purpose of the IIHS Safety Tests

Each of the eight safety tests completed by the IIHS on various vehicle classes reviews a different and important aspect of vehicle safety.

Because some of the tests review different aspects of the same general safety concern, these tests have been clustered together in three larger test groups:

  • LATCH – a single test for child safety seat anchors
  • Crashworthiness – five tests for Front Small Overlap, Roof Strength, Side, Front Moderate Overlap, and Head Restraints and Seats
  • Crash Avoidance and Mitigation – two tests for Headlights and Front Crash Prevention

Through the single LATCH safety test conducted on these SUVs, you can learn how easy it is to secure child car seats to the vehicle’s latching mechanisms or anchors.

Through the combination of the five crashworthiness safety tests, you can get valuable information about an SUV’s ability to keep passengers safe from harm if the vehicle is involved in a collision.

The final two IIHS safety tests are grouped under the crash avoidance or mitigation group, and they examine if a vehicle can effectively avoid being in an accident or otherwise reduce how severe the accident may be.

One of these tests, the Front Crash Prevention test, is rated with a score that ranges from “basic” to “superior.” All of the other seven tests have one of the following ratings:

  • Poor
  • Marginal
  • Average
  • Good

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How easy is it to install a car seat in the SUV?

The one LATCH safety test for child car seat anchors indicates that the Honda Pilot and the Jeep Cherokee both have the same rating of “average” in this category.

The Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, on the other hand, have a lower rating of “marginal” for the LATCH safety test.

Is the SUV crashworthy?

The five tests that are used by the IIHS to determine an SUV’s ability to protect occupants from harm in a collision indicate that the Honda Pilot is the only one of these four vehicles to receive a “good” score for all five tests.

The Grand Cherokee and Cherokee received a “marginal” score for the Front Small Overlap test, but they both had a “good” score in the other four tests.

The Wrangler had a “good” rating for Front Small Overlap and Front Moderate Overlap, a “marginal” score for Side, and no test results published for the remaining two safety tests in this category.

Can the vehicle either mitigate or reduce the likelihood of car accidents?

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For Front Crash Prevention test, the Pilot and Cherokee received a grade of “superior,” the Grand Cherokee was rated as “basic,” and the Wrangler was not rated.

For the Headlights test, the Wrangler had a “poor” score, and the other three vehicles received an “average” mark.

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Determining If the Honda or Jeep SUVs Were Awarded for Safety

To honor the vehicles that excelled in specific safety tests, the IIHS recognizes SUVs with either the Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick+ awards.

To earn both of these awards, an SUV must have higher ratings in all five of the crashworthiness tests and in the Front Crash Prevention test.

For the higher honor of Top Safety Pick+, the vehicle also needs to receive a higher score in the Headlights test. The Honda Pilot is the only one of these vehicles honored in such a way, and it received the award for Top Safety Pick+ in 2017.

Is a Honda SUV safer than a Jeep SUV?

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You can see that there are multiple safety tests performed on these and other SUVs each year, and some vehicles rank higher in some areas and lower in others.

However, the Honda Pilot for 2017 ranked equal to or above all of the Jeep SUV models in all eight categories.

This ranking could indicate a safer driving experience, and it may also indicate an advantage in the form of lower insurance rates.

Auto coverage is based on many factors, however, making it essential to request firm quotes online before you finalize your decision about which model of midsize SUV you should buy. Get a quote today with our free quote tool below! 

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