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

Kia's midsize SUV received a top safety rating while Jeep's midsize SUVs did not. Upgrade your car's safety features to 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...

  • In this study, Jeep and Kia midsize SUVs competed for the best safety ratings
  • The IIHS/HDLI found that the Kia Sorrento was the safest vehicle of in this group
  • Overall, the Kia model excelled over most of the Jeep models in most testing areas

It’s important to consider the safety of a vehicle before you purchase it.

A safer car generally results in more affordable auto insurance. Although Car companies provide you with information to prove that their vehicles are safe options, you can’t always trust that their findings are unbiased.

Their top priority is to sell you a vehicle, so they’ll do whatever it takes to get it done. 

If your goal is to know how safe a vehicle truly is before you commit to purchasing it, you can refer to the safety ratings provided by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI).

Compare car insurance quotes to find the best rate for the coverage you need. You might be surprised how much rates vary depending on which vehicle you drive. Use our free quote tool before today to start comparing.

IIHS/HLDI Safety Ratings

Each vehicle goes through a series of tests in the IIHS/HLDI’s vehicle research center. The three main tests are for the following:

  • Crash avoidance and mitigation
  • Child seat anchors
  • Crashworthiness

The scores for these categories are either good, acceptable, marginal, or poor. Under the category of crash avoidance and mitigation, front crash prevention is the only area that receives basic, advanced or superior ratings.

Once all of the tests are complete, the IIHS/HDLI compares them and shows the consumer which vehicles are safer options.

In this study, the tested vehicles are midsize SUVs provided by Jeep and Kia.

The models include the Kia Sorento, Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.


If the vehicle can hold up against an impact and keep its passengers safe, then it will receive higher ratings for its crashworthiness.

In the vehicle research center, the IIHS/HDLI tests each vehicle’s head restraints and seats, sides, front small overlap, front moderate overlap, and roof strength.

The Kia Sorento was the only vehicle of the four models to earn “good” ratings for all of the crashworthiness areas. The Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee both earned “good” ratings in every area except for their front small overlaps.

For this area, they earned “marginal” ratings. The Jeep Wrangler was unavailable for the testing of its head restraints and seats, as well as its roof strength. However, it did manage to earn “good” ratings for is front small and moderate overlaps and a “marginal” rating for its sides.

 – Crash Avoidance & Mitigation

Front crash prevention and headlights are the main focuses when it comes to a vehicle’s crash avoidance and mitigation ratings.

Because these safety features assist the driver in avoiding collisions, that can have a huge affect on the operator’s driving record and auto insurance costs.

The Kia Sorento and Jeep Cherokee both earned “superior” ratings for their front crash prevention, and “acceptable” ratings for their headlights, both with optional equipment.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee also earned an “acceptable” rating for its headlights, but only earned the “basic” rating for front crash prevention with optional equipment.

The IIHS/HDLI further indicated that the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s auto brake was not tested. Sadly, the Jeep Wrangler was unavailable for front crash prevention testing and only earned a “poor” rating for its headlights.

Child Seat Anchors

Installing car seats can be an important factor for potential midsize SUV owners with small children.

Because federal law requires Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, or LATCH in most vehicles, the IIHS/HDLI dedicates time specifically to making sure that the vehicle’s hardware is easy enough to use.

The Kia Sorento and Jeep Cherokee both earned “acceptable” ratings in this category, while the two remaining Jeep models only obtained “marginal” ratings.

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Top Safety Pick Awards

The IIHS/HDLI uses all of the preceding information to choose vehicles worthy of one of their

Top Safety Pick awards. The requirements to earn a Top Safety Pick award includes “good” ratings in all five crashworthiness areas and at least an “advanced” rating for front crash prevention.

For a Top Safety Pick+ award, vehicles must meet the same requirements in addition to an “acceptable” or “good” headlight rating.

Of the four vehicles, the Kia Sorento was the only midsize SUV to earn a Top Safety Pick+ award. None of the other vehicles qualified for a Top Safety Pick award.

Which Is Safer?

The IIHS/HDLI made it perfectly clear that the Kia Sorento is the safest option when compared to the Jeep models. The Jeep Cherokee came extremely close to matching all of the Kia Sorento’s ratings but fell short with its “marginal” front small overlap.

This “marginal” rating also held the Jeep Cherokee back from earning a Top Safety Pick award. The other two Jeep models didn’t even come close with several unavailable testing areas and “basic” ratings. Overall, Kia definitely produces safer midsize SUVs than Jeep.

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