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

Hyundai's midsize SUVs received top safety ratings while Jeep scored low by comparison. Safety features may reduce your car insurance rates by up to 8%.

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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...

  • Safety tests for three midsize Jeep SUVs and two midsize Hyundai SUVs were performed and analyzed by the IIHS in 2017
  • While eight safety tests are completed by the IIHs for most vehicles, some of the Jeep SUVs were not tested in all areas
  • The two Hyundai midsize SUVs received top safety honors from the IIHS, and none of the Jeep SUV models in this class were honored

Jeep and Hyundai are two popular SUV brands that are known for style and quality, but these are not the only factors to review when you are trying to decide which vehicle to buy within the next few days or weeks.

As you test drive these rather large and pampering vehicles, you may notice that you feel rather confident and secure behind the wheel.

However, the large size and comfortable features in these midsize SUVs could cause you to make a false assumption about each vehicle’s overall safety ratings.

The 2017 safety ratings for midsize SUVs have been released by the IIHS, or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety / Highway Loss Data Institute, and this detailed report could help you to locate a safe SUV to purchase.

Various aspects of a vehicle can impact your overall safety on the road as well as the well-being of your passengers. For example, one vehicle may be able to avoid accidents or protect passengers from injuries better than another one.

While the IIHS safety test results provide detailed information about these and other factors, they also may be an indicator of the cost of your auto insurance premium. Car insurance providers regularly review vehicle safety information when preparing premium quotes.

IIHS Safety Tests for the Jeep Versus Hyundai Midsize SUVs

The midsize SUV class reviewed by the IIHS in 2017 has close to two dozen vehicles in it from some of the more popular automakers in the industry, including a total of five models combined from Jeep and Hyundai.

These models are the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, the Hyundai Santa Fe, the Jeep Wrangler, the Jeep Cherokee, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

The IIHS uses eight safety tests to explore how safe each vehicle is, and it places these eight categories into three larger groups for simplification. The test results rate each vehicle in these ways:

  • Good
  • Average
  • Moderate
  • Poor

The single deviation from this rating system is with the Front Crash Prevention test. For this safety test, the results are rated in these ways:

  • Superior
  • Advanced
  • Basic

Crashworthiness: Protecting Occupants from Injuries

Preventing or reducing the severity of injuries in the event of a collision is a critical aspect of safety, and the five tests performed under the title of Crashworthiness give you more information about this.

The five tests are Head Restraint and Safety, Front Small Overlap, Side, Roof Strength, and Front Moderate Overlap. The two Hyundai SUVs analyzed in the midsize group had “good” ratings across the board in all five tested Crashworthiness areas.

The Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee received a lower rating of “marginal” in the Front Small Overlap test, but they both had “good” scores for the other four tested areas.

The Wrangler was not tested in the Roof Strength and Head Restraints and Seats areas, and it was given a “marginal” rating for the Side test. The Jeep Wrangler only had a “good” score for Front Moderate Overlap and Front Moderate Overlap tests.

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Crash Avoidance and Mitigation: Avoiding Collisions

Preventing accidents altogether or otherwise reducing their severity is another factor that the IIHS analyzes. Through the Crash Avoidance and Mitigation category, both Headlights tests and Front Crash Prevention tests are performed.

For the Front Crash Prevention test, the Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, and Cherokee achieved “superior” grades, and the Cherokee had a “basic” grade for this test. The Wrangler was not tested in the Front Crash Prevention category.

For the Headlights safety test, the Santa Fe received a “good” rating. The Grand Cherokee and Cherokee for 2017 had an “average” grade in this important area, and the Santa Fe Sport and Wrangler both were rated “poor” in the Headlights test.

Child Seat Anchors (LATCH): Installing Car Seats Easily

With their large size and excellent features, midsize SUVs are commonly used as family vehicles, and you may have plans to latch one or more car seats into your backseat for your little ones.

The IIHS analyzes how easy it is for drivers to successfully and correctly install car seats through the child seat anchor LATCH test.

The Cherokee, Santa Fe, and Santa Fe Sport for 2017 were given an “average” score in the LATCH area, and a “marginal” grade was given to the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler SUVs.

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2017 Top Safety Pick and/or 2017 Top Safety Pick+

The IIHS wants to help automotive buyers make a safe buying decision, and it has simplified your ability to read the safety test results through issuing awards for Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick.

To qualify for both of these awards, high safety marks are necessary for Front Crash Prevention and for all five tests for Crashworthiness. The Top Safety Pick+ award also has a requirement for higher ratings in the Headlights section.

None of the Jeep models in the midsize SUV class for 2017 were given one of these IIHS safety awards.

However, the Santa Fe had the highest possible safety ratings in this class and was recognized through the Top Safety Pick+ award.

The Santa Fe Sport had relatively high safety ratings as well, and it was awarded the Top Safety Pick award.

Is Hyundai safer than Jeep in 2017 for midsize SUVs?

As you try to finalize your midsize SUV buying decision, you may be wondering which of these five vehicles is the safest. Both of the Hyundai models had overall better safety ratings than the Jeep models.

The Santa Fe had the best safety test results in its class, and the Wrangler had the lowest ratings in this group of five SUVs. The primary areas where the Wrangler had lower scores are LATCH, Headlights, and Side, and it was not rated in two of the other safety categories.

Many auto buyers are focused on finding a vehicle loaded with reliable and thoughtful safety features, but the importance of buying a vehicle that is affordable for your budget should not be overlooked.

Fuel economy and the cost of your monthly auto loan payment are two important factors to analyze, and you also need to review the SUV’s insurance cost.

Remember that safety ratings are one of many factors that can affect the cost of your SUV coverage premium, and you need to request at least three to four insurance quotes on a few top models so that you can see which vehicle will be most affordable to insure.

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