How safe are Jeeps? Complete guide with every model [2021]

by Aivaras Grigelevičius
February 9, 2021
by Aivaras Grigelevičius
February 9, 2021

If you’re in the market for a brand-new or previously owned Jeep model and you’re at odds as to which one of them to pick, this article might help you make that choice.

We can do more than just help you with your VIN check, because here at carVertical we always go the extra mile. We believe that it’s our duty to inform and protect our customers in every way we can. That’s why we’ve set up a series of articles that cover most of the popular car models available on the market.

With that in mind, let’s answer the question: how safe are Jeeps, really?

The Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler

Under the tagline “Ready for whatever comes your way”, Jeep now offers over 75 Safety and Security Features on the 2021 Wrangler, enough to score an almost perfect score with both the IIHS and the NHTSA. Almost.

Active safety features such as Blind Spot Monitoring, Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, Adaptive Cruise Control, automatic High-Beam headlamps, and Read Cross Path Detection have elevated Wrangler’s safety scores to unprecedented heights.

Also helpful are its high-strength steel frame that will maximize the safety of its passengers in the event of a crash, the advanced 6-airbag system, and the suite of awareness and connectivity features that directly help boost driver presence while on the road.

With all that, though, the NHTSA still rates the Wrangler with 4 stars on frontal crashes and 3 stars on its rollover test. The Jeep bagged 5 stars on every other test, though, and the IIHS did award it a “Good” (highest possible) on overall safety.

In short: The latest rendition of this iconic nameplate provides good overall safety with a few minus points when it comes to frontal crashes and rollovers. Tons of active safety gear make this the safest Wrangler yet with previous models nowhere near the 2021 Wrangler’s capabilities.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep Grand Cherokee

The newest Grand Cherokee is very much in line with the modern SUVs’ mantra of “safety above anything else”. It can be equipped with the latest active safety features and comes with built-in systems that help keep families safe in pretty much every scenario.

All 2021 Grand Cherokee models come with 7 airbags and the Protech I package that includes Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path Detection – two advanced safety systems that make use of radar-based sensors to detect and warn you about vehicles that you might not see around your Grand Cherokee – plus the new Park Sense and Park View systems.

Previous models, especially those older than three years, are likely not to include such features since they were reserved for top trims only, not base models. Today, a top trim will net you additional safety tech in the form of the Protech II pack that’s available on the Laredo and Laredo X trims. The package includes everything under the Protech I, to which it adds Forward Collision Alert with Automatic Braking, Advanced Brake Assist, the Lane Sense Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Top and Go, and Parallel and Perpendicular Park Assist.

An extensive safety features list that makes the newest rendition of the Grand Cherokee by far the safest yet. It’s a bit disheartening, however, to see its ratings from IIHS. Because the model scored below-par marks on quite a few tests, it earned a Marginal overall safety score which is very far from ideal.

In short: If the latest and best Grand Cherokee yet fares this badly on standardized, official safety tests, we wouldn’t recommend earlier renditions based on modern risk assessment.

The Jeep Cherokee

Jeep Cherokee

The Cherokee either comes or it can be equipped with all the safety gear its bigger brother, the Grand Cherokee has available. Its reduced size, however, allowed it to ace every test the IIHS threw at it and earn a coveted high score, “Good” ranking for overall safety. The only test where the Cherokee netted anything but top marks is the headlights test where it obtained “Average”.

Past models are also in line with the latest rendition’s excellent safety scores but anything older than 5 years is likely to have far fewer if any of the modern active safety features.

In short: Smaller but better, the Cherokee is a fantastic choice if you value the safety of your passengers.

The Jeep Compass

Jeep Compass

Official test results are promising but not perfect. It all depends on who you trust more, the IIHS or the NHTSA with the former awarding the 2021 Compass with its highest overall score while the latter only giving the model 4 out of 5 stars.

Clearly improved for the 2021 model year, it’s a case of good but not great for the 2021 Jeep Compass. That means that you can’t call previous models “exceptionally safe”. But you can say that about the Compass in its upper trims as they come loaded with safety features to compensate for any shortcomings of the base model.

For example, all Compass Trailhawk owners can depend on safety features such as adaptive Cruise Control, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path Detection, Full Speed Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, a suite of parking assist sensors and systems, Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, a Rearview Auto-Dimming Mirror, Auto High-Beam headlights, and a built-in Security Alarm through the SiriusXM Guardian.

In short: a model that in 2021 offers perfect safety on its top trims and average safety on base and middle trims. Previous renditions are below-par when compared to the latest SUV models on the market, so if you do decide to go for a Jeep Compass, you’re better off choosing one that was built in 2019, 2020, or 2021.

The Jeep Renegade

Jeep Renegade

A premium model with exceptional standard safety features such as the Forward Collision Warning, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keep Assist, and Blind Spot Monitoring, the Renegade is Jeep’s safest SUV if we are to compare base models alone.

Even entry-level trims are loaded with active safety gear, which puts the standard Renegade miles ahead of the other standard SUVs in Jeep’s lineup.

Authorities took notice and awarded the Renegade with top marks – a “Good” rating from the IIHS with NHTSA’s results still pending.

In short: great value for money, the Renegade offers exceptional safety on every trim, even the entry-level ones.

The Jeep Gladiator

Jeep Gladiator

The big unknown on the list is the 2021 Jeep Gladiator. A brand-new model with no safety test results yet published, the verdict is still out about the safety of the Gladiator.

Come spring, both the IIHS and the NHTSA should rate the model and we’ll update this article as soon as they do.

How safe are Jeeps – conclusion

Brand-new base Jeep models are either great or average when it comes to safety. The higher the trim, the higher the car’s safety so prospective buyers that can afford to shop top-tier trims shouldn’t worry about the safety of their Jeep. The Grand Cherokee poses some problems, but other than that, Jeep makes some of the safest SUVs available on the market in 2021.

If you’re shopping for older models, though, beware. The Cherokee is a good pick while other models should be not older than 2019 if you want to meet modern safety requirements and keep you and your family safe on the road.

Regardless of your choice, it’s a wise move to test previously-owned Jeeps with carVertical and see if the car’s safety was compromised by previous crashes that the seller isn’t telling you about.