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Are Jeep Wranglers Safe? IIHS & NHTSA Ratings

Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wranglers are one of the most popular cars in the United States. They have a loyal following and a dedicated fan base of owners who adore them. They are eye-catching and often stand out on the road. But are they safe? How do Jeep Wranglers stack up in terms of safety ratings?

Jeep Wranglers have okay safety ratings. They are not the worst cars on the road, but they definitely aren’t the safest. We cover the IIHS Safety Ratings as well as ratings given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to see how safe the Wrangler is or is not. Here are the results.

car and road divider

IIHS Safety Ratings

The IIHS Safety Ratings are one of the most watched and respected rating systems on the market today. Many dealerships, reviewers, and manufacturers take the IIHS Safety Ratings very seriously and tout their grades when they perform well. The IIHS grades each category on a four-point scale. Good is the highest rating, while poor is the worst rating.

IIHS Safety Ranks

Rank Rating Code
#1 Good G
#2 Acceptable A
#3 Marginal M
#4 Poor P

IIHS covers six areas for crashworthiness which is one of the most important aspects of a car’s safety value. Here is how the Jeep Wrangler scored in each individual category.

Black Lifter Wrangler
Image Credit: AJ Festa, Unsplash

Crashworthiness Ratings

Category Rating
Small Overlap Front: Driver’s Side M
Moderate Overlap Front G
Side Original G
Side Updated M
Roof Strength G
Head Restraints and Seats G

The Jeep Wrangler scores top marks in four out of the six categories, or two-thirds. That is pretty good. However, Wrangler scores poorly in two important categories. It scored a marginal in both driver’s side overlap tests and in the updated side crash test. That means that Wranglers are pretty dangerous in head-on collisions and T-bones on the driver’s side. That could be concerning for some people. The rest of the car scored well in all categories meaning that passengers will likely fare better than the driver in this case.

Marginal is the second to worst score, so the fact that it appears twice on the scorecard is mildly concerning. It would have been better to see those marginals upgraded to acceptable.

Overall, according to the IIHS, Jeep Wranglers aren’t unsafe, but they are not the safest either. There is room for improvement in some areas of crashworthiness.

Image Credit:

NHTSA Safety Ratings

The NHTSA also conducts its own independent series of tests focused on crashworthiness. Like the IIHS, these ratings are taken very seriously by many different people. Like the results found in the IIHS study, NHTSA came back with results that were good but not great.

NHTSA Test Results

Test Rating
Overall Not Rated
Frontal Crash ★★★★☆
Side Crash Not Rated
Rollover Crash ★★★☆☆

Wrangler scored four out of five stars in frontal crash tests. That is good as frontal crashes are some of the most serious types. It did not score perfect marks, but it was still above average. However, this data gave the Wrangler just three stars for rollover crashes. Rollover wrecks are already incredibly dangerous, and the fact that Wrangler only came away with three stars is, again, mildly concerning.

car and road divider

Where Wrangler Does Well

Wrangler scores well in head-on crashworthiness. The moderate overlap measured by the IIHS got a rating of good. Moderate overlap means that the two cars hit each other almost directly head-on. That reflects the same ratings that NHTSA found in their own studies. They gave Wrangler four stars for frontal crash ratings.

Wranglers also have a strong roof, safe seats, and good restraints. The ratings reflect good safety for passengers as well as minor side crashes.

Black Jeep Wrangler
Image Credit: Kenny Eliason, Unsplash

Where Wrangler Does Poorly

There are some areas in which Wrangler scores poorly in terms of safety. One of the most concerning areas of the car is the driver’s side corner. IIHS rated this area as just marginal in terms of safety. That means if you get in a crash where the other car clips the driver’s side area or hits the front driver’s side headlight area at an angle, it could be bad. Wrangler also came back with inconsistent results for side crashes scoring both good and marginal. NHTSA rated the Wrangler as moderate in rollover crashes.

Luckily, both of these cases are specific and relatively rare. Angled frontal crashes focusing on the driver and rollovers should, hopefully, not happen too frequently as to cause a major concern.

car and road divider Verdict

Jeep Wranglers are pretty safe. They do not earn top marks in safety, but they also are not concerned. There are a few instances where certain types of crashes could be worse than others based on the safety data, but the majority of the time, Wranglers should be safe. They are heavy, well built, have good seats, a strong roof, and solid safety ratings. The Wrangler is not going to win any awards for safety, but you should also not be afraid to drive them confidently either.


Featured Image Credit: Dan Gomer, Unsplash


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