How Safe Is a Jeep Wrangler?

The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most popular off-road vehicles. And with the increase in speed and awareness over the years, vehicles have only gotten safer. But how safe is a Jeep Wrangler?

Safety ratings, even for offroad-orientated vehicles, are a common occurrence these days, after all, while they may be made for slower offroad trails, they’re most often used as a regular SUV getting you from point A to B.

So, in this article, we are going to have a look at how safe the Jeep Wrangler really is and how it performed when put against some of the world’s most stringent safety standards.

Let’s get started.

How safe is a Jeep Wrangler?

The 2018-2019 Jeep Wrangler achieved an average safety rating of 40% by the two biggest safety test institutions, Global/EuroNCAP and the Australian ANCAP. This means that the Jeep Wrangler JK is safe but not as safe as other offroad-orientated SUVs like the VW Touareg, Hyundai Sante Fe, or BMW X5.

Note: The 2022 Wrangler has not yet been submitted for retesting. These are the latest results for the Jeep Wrangler models, however, the latest model is expected to perform substantially better thanks to the many safety improvements that have been introduced since the last testing.

How Safe Is a Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler JK European safety rating

The Jeep Wrangler JK received a EuroNCAP rating of 1 out of 5 in 2018. While this may sound quite poor, it really suffered due to a lack of crash avoidance technology. With a score of 1 out of 5, the car has marginal to average safety.

As of yet, Jeep hasn’t submitted the 2022 Jeep Wrangler for retesting at the EuroNCAP. Expectations are quite high this time around though, as the latest models come with a whole host of electronic aids and features.

Safety ratings can’t be compared directly with other vehicles, as the EuroNCAP ratings are based on different classes. So while the Jeep Wrangler may only score a 1 out of 5 in its class, due to its offroading capabilities and high ride height, it will most likely still be safer than a city hatchback that scored 3 or 4 out of 5.

Compared to other large offroaders tested in 2018, the Jeep Wrangler didn’t fair very well. The other large offroaders tested in 2018 all achieved 5-star ratings, these were the Volkswagen Touareg, Hyundai Sante Fe, and the BMW X5.

The Jeep Wrangler models that were tested were both the 3-door and 5-door models as follows:

  • Jeep Wrangler JK Rubicon (Unlimited) 2.2 Turbo Diesel 
  • Jeep Wrangler JK Sahara (Unlimited) 2.2 Turbo Diesel
  • Jeep Wrangler JK Sport (Unlimited) 2.2 Turbo Diesel
  • Jeep Wrangler JK Rubicon (Unlimited) 2.0 Petrol
  • Jeep Wrangler JK Sahara (Unlimited) 2.0 Petrol
  • Jeep Wrangler JK Sport (Unlimited) 2.0 Petrol

Both the left and right-hand drive versions of these models were tested.

EuroNCAP test criteria and results

The EuroNCAP includes a whole list of tests performed to see how well a vehicle stacks up against certain collisions. The EuroNCAP website covers these individual tests in great detail here if you’re interested.

Now, let’s walk through how the Jeep Wrangler JK performed to better understand how safe this vehicle really is.

Frontal offset deformable barrier impact

In this test, the vehicle hits a deformable barrier with the impact being at a quarter of the front of the car on the driver’s side. This is to simulate crashing into an Armco barrier or standing traffic.

According to the test, the protection given from the Jeep Wrangler was “marginal to adequate” with only the chest of the driver having weak protection.

Frontal full-width impact

In a frontal full-width impact they simulate a head-on collision with either standing traffic or colliding straight into an Armco barrier.

With adults in the vehicle front and back, the Wrangler had overall adequate protection for the occupants, while the rear passenger’s chest area had poor protection and the driver’s chest had marginal protection.

With children in the rear of the vehicle, simulated with one child in a booster seat and one in a baby chair, it scored a good protection rating with only the child in the booster seat receiving adequate chest protection.

Lateral impact

In this test, the vehicle is sideswiped by a mobile crash rig that simulates another vehicle colliding into the side of a vehicle.

The Jeep Wrangler scored full marks in this test with adults in the front and rear of the vehicle as the impact was distributed evenly across the side of the vehicle.

With children in the back, however, the Wrangler only received marginal safety. The child in the baby seat had full protection while the child in the booster seat had the head colliding with the interior of the car, thereby only providing marginal protection and giving the neck weak protection.

Whiplash rear impact

In this test, the front seats of the Jeep are mounted on a movable surface with a dummy mounted to it, this rig then suddenly jolts forward to simulate being crashed into from the rear.

Here the seat design performed exceptionally, coming through with flying colors.

This is particularly advantageous when offroading, as you can get jolted about on uneven terrain when climbing trails.

Pedestrian impact

In this test, a crash test dummies head is shot into different parts of the hood to see how much the bonnet absorbs the impact. Here they also launch a dummy leg/pelvis into the bumper at an angle that a pedestrian would be hit at to simulate how the bumper and grill absorb the impact.

The protection given by the hood of the Wrangler when a pedestrian’s head is struck is a mix of very poor to adequate. 

The protection given to the legs was good while the pelvis protection was adequate.

The closer the impact was to the nose of the vehicle, the worse was the rating.

Safety Assistance

The Jeep Wrangler JK only came equipped with a seat belt notifier for the front and rear seats and a driver set speed assistance system to prevent the driver from speeding.

It had no lane assist or emergency braking systems installed at the time of the tests.

There are many safety assistance updates planned for the 2022 Jeep Wrangler JK, so it will be interesting to see how it fairs once these are completed.

Australian safety rating for the Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler JK scored 3 out of 5 in the Australian ANCAP ratings in 2019.

Scoring 3 out of 5 made it the lowest scoring in his class compared to the Mercedes G-Class, Mercedes GLE, Audi Q7, and Audi Q8 scoring 5 stars in that same year.

As noted by the ANCAP, safety improvements were made in late 2019 improving the previous 2018 score of 1 out of 5.

These improvements included adding an autonomous emergency braking (AEB) system and blind-spot monitoring as standard across all models.

Most of the results are identical to the European NCAP

Safety upgrades for the 2022 Jeep Wranglers

Jeep is planning on rolling out numerous safety features in 2022.

These include features such as a Forward Collision Warning-Plus system, adaptive cruise control, rear cross-path detection, and blind-spot monitoring.

With these additions and the other developments at Jeep, it will be interesting to see how it compares when it is next tested.

Why are safety ratings important?

Accidents, as the name suggests, happen accidentally, and with vehicles, the higher the safety ratings, the lower the likelihood of your life, and the lives of others, being at risk. For this reason, the constant push for better safety standards is of utmost importance.

There are some cases where safety ratings are irrelevant, for example, a dedicated offroad vehicle that is only used on trails for adventuring.

This car would be traveling at such low speeds the majority of the time that impacts ratings are meaningless.

Plus, there are other risks that aren’t accounted for on this occasion that the manufacturers would have put more thought into than your standard city cruiser.

Frequently asked questions

Are Jeep Wranglers safe in accidents?

According to the EuroNCAP and ANCAP, passenger and child protection is rated as moderate to good for the Jeep Wrangler JK.

While it might not be the best in his class, with the updates planned for 2022 it may climb higher in the rankings.

Do Jeep Wranglers flip over easily?

No, with the latest electronic stability programs and traction control, Jeep Wrangler JK’s do not flip over easily.

Have a look at this video to see just how stable a Jeep Wrangler JK really is.

Are Jeep Wranglers safe for babies?

Yes, according to the safety tests of the EuroNCAP and ANCAP children up to 6 years old have good protection in a Jeep Wrangler JK.

Final thoughts on the safety of a Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is a much-loved vehicle, and for good reason. It’s an iconic offroad machine that can take on any terrain without breaking a sweat.

While the safety ratings are tough to compare in comparison to other vehicles out there, it does have some redeeming qualities when you look at the EuroNCAP and ANCAP standards.

The 2022 update has made strides towards improving passenger protection with the addition of various safety features. Once these are completed it will be interesting to see where they place in the ratings.

As with any vehicle, you should always wear your seatbelt and drive defensively when taking your Jeep Wrangler out on the open road.


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Article by

Jaco Schrader

Jaco is the automotive heart of our platform. Born and raised in Namibia, he began his journey in the automobile sector in 2012. Launching his own automotive repair business in Africa and fitting a Toyota 1UZ-FE V8 in a Ford Sierra, Jaco brings over six years of hands-on automotive experience. He’s a self-taught expert in various mechanical and electrical aspects of vehicles.

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