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

Nissan and Jeep Midsize SUV Safety Rating comparison is an important step in choosing a vehicle. Nissan's midsize SUVs received top awards for their safety ratings, while Jeep's SUVs did not. Due to Nissan midsize SUVs scoring higher than Jeep midsize SUVs they will generally have lower insurance rates. Safety features may reduce your car insurance rates by up to 8%.

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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...

  • The popular Jeep and Nissan midsize SUVs have all undergone safety testing by the IIHS/HDLI
  • The IIHS/HDLI used the results of these tests to determine that the Nissan midsize SUVs were deserving of Top Safety Pick awards
  • When it comes to midsize SUVs, Nissan produces safer vehicles than Jeep

Midsize SUVs are known for being fairly safe options. Although they may seem safe, car companies can be very biased and may provide information that may not necessarily be accurate.

Car companies know that the driver’s auto insurance costs can be directly affected their vehicle’s safety rating, so they try to convince you that their vehicles are among the safest.

In order to be sure that you’re choosing a safe vehicle, you check 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 no matter which vehicle you drive. Enter your zip code into our free rate tool above to get started.

How the IIHS/HLDI Can Help

If you’re serious about your vehicle’s safety, IIHS/HLDI has vehicle safety ratings available for everyone to refer to before purchasing.

In their vehicle research center, the IIHS/HDLI analyzes the following:

  • crashworthiness
  • crash avoidance and mitigation
  • child seat anchors

Good, acceptable, marginal, and poor ratings will be given in each of these categories.

Basic, advanced, and superior ratings will be given only for the front crash prevention section under the crash avoidance and mitigation category. In this study, Nissan and Jeep midsize SUV models will be evaluated.

Nissan will be evaluated on its Pathfinder models while Jeep is evaluated on its Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Wrangler models.

Determining Crashworthiness

This is the category that gives crash-test dummies their purpose. Crashworthiness is determined by how much the dummy is impacted when the vehicle crashes.

Each vehicle is tested on how well the sides, front moderate overlap, head restraints and seats, front small overlap, and roof strength can withstand the impact. The Nissan Murano and Pathfinder both secured “good” ratings for all of these categories.

The Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee both earned ‘marginal’ ratings for front crash prevention but received “good” ratings for all of the other areas. The Jeep Wrangler was unavailable for roof strength testing as well as head restraints and seat testing.

The Wrangler managed to obtain “good” ratings for its front small and moderate overlaps and a “marginal” rating for its sides.

Determining Crash Avoidance & Mitigation

Crash avoidance and mitigation ensure that the vehicle will be able to keep its passengers safe by avoiding collisions altogether. Front crash prevention and headlights are the factors that determine how effectively a vehicle can do this.

The Nissan Murano, Pathfinder, and Jeep Cherokee all obtained “superior” ratings for front crash prevention with optional equipment. 

The Jeep Grand Cherokee only earned the “basic” rating with optional equipment and the IIHS/HDLI further indicated that the auto brake was not tested. The Jeep Wrangler was completely unavailable for testing.

The Nissan Murano and Pathfinder both earned “marginal” ratings for their headlights, but only for certain trims. The Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee both earned “acceptable” ratings with optional equipment.

Unfortunately, the Jeep Wrangler only earned a “poor” rating for its headlights.

Evaluating Child Seat Anchors

Midsize SUVs can be a more stylish alternative to driving your kids around in a minivan. If you do plan on transporting small children you should pay close attention to this category because it focuses on Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children or LATCH.

Depending on the vehicle, federal regulations require at least two rear seating positions with full LATCH. The IIHS/HDLI thoroughly evaluates the different aspects of each vehicle’s hardware in order to determine how easy they are to use when installing child restraints.

The Nissan Pathfinder, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Jeep Wrangler all received “marginal” ratings for their LATCH while the Nissan Murano and Jeep Cherokee received “acceptable” ratings for theirs.

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Selecting Vehicles for Top Safety Pick Awards

Top Safety Pick awards are only given to vehicles that receive supreme results from their safety testing. The IIHS/HDLI uses this award to praise vehicles that have proven that they are among the safest options.

The Nissan Murano and Pathfinder both managed to obtain 2017 Top Safety Pick awards from the IIHS/HDLI.

Unfortunately, the Jeep Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Wrangler all failed to earn Top Safety Pick awards from the IIHS/HDLI.

Although the Jeep Cherokee came pretty close to the standards set forth by the Nissan Murano and Pathfinder, it fell short by just a bit. Overall, Jeep’s front crash prevention, headlights, and crashworthiness couldn’t compare to the outstanding scores earned by Nissan.

The Jeep Wrangler significantly lowered Jeep’s chances of competing when it failed to provide roof strength or safe head restraints and seats in crashworthiness as well as any form of front crash prevention.

Because of the huge difference in safety, Nissan certainly provides safer midsize SUVs than Jeep.

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