Reliable Small Suv

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The amount of luxury compact SUVs is quickly multiplying. Even though they’re small, luxury crossover SUVs still offer premium power and a long list of amenities. Plus, these models cost about the same as a non-luxury midsize SUV, so they are more affordable than you might think. To help you with your search, here are the top three most reliable luxury crossovers in 2020, according to Consumer Reports.

2020 Porsche Macan

More on Compact SUVs. For most of the people most of the time, it’s not the size of an SUV that delivers the goods, it’s the shape. It’s about sitting above the traffic, lifting the tailgate. Hybrid compact SUVs can be even more efficient or powerful than nonhybrid models—these are MotorTrend’s picks for the best small crossover hybrids for 2020.

Consumer Reports gave the 2020 Porsche Macan its highest overall rating in the luxury crossover SUV class. The Macan’s overall dependability makes it an excellent choice to buy used too. This Porsche is one of the more expensive models in the class, but its dynamic performance makes the price tag worth it. The Macan actually drives like a sports car and doesn’t compromise on thrills.

The Macan’s base engine is an athletic 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that creates 248-horsepower and 273 pound-feet of torque. This turbo-four can go from 0-to-60 mph in 6.3 seconds and has a top speed of 141 mph. The Macan S takes things up a notch; it has a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 that generates 348-hp and 354 pound-feet of torque. There’s also an available twin-turbo v6.

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  • The 2021 Kia Sportage finishes near the top of our compact SUV rankings thanks in part to its good predicted reliability rating, adult-frien read more ». $23,990 - $35,150 MSRP. 23 City / 30 Hwy MPG. $23,990 - $35,150 MSRP. 23 City / 30 Hwy MPG.

On the inside, the Macan pleases with Porsche’s standard Comfort seats along with its leather and suede upholstery. Another highlight inside the Macan is its user-friendly tech. It features a 10.9-inch touchscreen, navigation, and a 10-speaker stereo.

2020 Lexus NX


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Especially compared to the Macan, the Lexus NX is more of an easy-going, gentle luxury crossover. Even so, the NX’s agile handling makes it more fun to drive. CR gave this Lexus its highest possible predicted reliability score. The NX features a pleasant turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that creates 235-hp. It’s also available as a hybrid, but this variant is significantly more expensive.

For the most part, reviewers are more impressed with the NX’s car cabin. The NX’s interior feels peaceful and upscale, plus it’s cozy. This Lexus also offers many gadgets. A wifi hotspot and app navigation come standard, and so does Apple CarPlay. The NX also comes with Lexus’ advanced safety suite, which includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection.

2020 BMW X3

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Based on CR’s data, the X3 is exceptional in almost every category. It offers potent engines, an elegant cabin, and a variety of desirable in-car electronics. Base X3 models have a 248-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s quick and engaging. Next up is the M40i trim that features a 382-hp 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder. The X3 also has two high-performance variants, including the X3 M.

CR gave the X3 an average reliability score but raved about its spacious interior. The X3’s seats are supple, and even the carpet is high-quality. CR also likes the X3, especially for its standard advanced safety equipment. This BMW comes with automatic emergency braking, and other helpful features include traffic sign recognition.

Consumer Reports (CR) has published its annual vehicle reliability survey. The survey ranked cars, trucks, and SUV models on 17 potential trouble spots including engine, power equipment, body, and electronics. The cumulative score of a company’s models determines the brand’s overall reliability ranking for 2021 models.

The CR survey, which includes over 300,000 vehicles, determines predicted reliability for new vehicles on a 0-100 scale, with the average vehicle being between 41 and 60 points. The fewer the problems, the higher the score. Due to insufficient data, or brands not having enough vehicles, some brands and models were not included in these ratings.

The Most Reliable 2021 SUV

In the survey findings, the Lexus NX. The NX is the company’s entry-level compact crossover with a starting price under $40,000.

The NX blends interior comforts, with lots of standard safety features, and great reliability. It was just one model that helped push Lexus to 3rd overall in brand reliability ratings.

Overall, the top 5 most reliable SUVs in the reliability survey were the NX, Buick Encore, Lexus GX, Honda HR-V, and Hyundai Kona. These models cover the subcompact, compact, luxury, and full-size SUV categories.

The Least Reliable 2021 SUV

The CR survey found that the Ford Explorer was the least reliable SUV. The Explorer was plagued with problems in its engines, electronics, power equipment, body, and transmission. It scored a paltry 1 out of 100 in the reliability survey.

The Explorer, which was redesigned for 2020, was plagued by a rushed production. More specifically, this caused problems with faulty seats, digital displays with buggy software, and loose wiring harnesses.

“The Ford Explorer, redesigned for 2020, is one of the lowest scoring models from any manufacturer — domestic or foreign — this year” – Consumer Reports

The redesigned Ford Escape compact crossover didn’t perform much better. And the subcompact Ecosport crossover was another downer. Overall as a company, Ford did poorly finishing in the bottom 5.

The other lease reliable SUVs based on the survey were the Subaru Ascent, Volkswagen Atlas, Jeep Compass, and Volvo XC90.

The Least Reliable Car Brand

Ford’s luxury brand, Lincoln, finished as the lowest-rated brand for reliability overall. However, there were other manufacturers they didn’t have enough data to rank including Fiat, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, Mitsubishi, and Land Rover.

Lincolns were plagued with similar problems as described with the Explorer with the Aviator and Corsair having poor reliability.

Mazda Has the Most Reliable Cars

Overall, for the first time ever, Mazda ranked first as the brand with the most reliable vehicles. This is a big win for the Japanese automaker to dethrone Toyota and Lexus at the top spot of the annual vehicle reliability survey.

Mazda’s small CX-3, still subcompact CX-30, and compact CX-5 also performed well in reliability ratings, all scoring 85 or better.

These types of consistent results helped push Mazda into the most reliable car brand spot. We recently ranked the CX-30 on our best SUV list.

The Top 5 Most Reliable Car Brands

In 2020, Lexus took the top spot in the survey. The LS model didn’t fare as well this year and that contributed to dropping the luxury automaker to the third spot. Lexus’ parent company Toyota finished second in the reliability survey for 2021 models.

Buick and Honda rounded out the top five most reliable car brands. Honda’s midsize crossover, the Passport, had reported reliability problems.

What Helped Mazda Have the Most Reliable Vehicles?

Based on the survey Mazda’s success with reliable vehicles is due in part to their use of more durable, six-speed automatic transmissions in lieu of continuously variable transmissions (CVTs).

CVT use is growing in popularity among automakers but they tend to be more fragile and less reliable. That means more repairs, more expense, and a lower reliability score.

Mazda has accomplished while still maintaining above-average fuel economy in their vehicles. And with their crisp handling and quality fit and finish, their vehicles are known to be fun to drive.

CR also noted that Mazda takes an iterative approach to vehicle design. Instead of making wholesale changes on models, they take a more gradual approach to change. This has lead to less flaws with defects and other unexpected flaws due to new technology.

Despite having less emphasis on cabin tech, Mazda still garners excellent safety ratings. It’s subcompact CX-3 model earned an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick+ award for its crash test ratings.

However, if you like touch screens, large infotainment systems, or other advanced tech, Mazda may not be the brand for you.

The Most Improved 2021 SUV

Buick was the most improved brand for reliability, jumping up 14 spots to the 4th spot overall among carmakers. Its subcompact crossover, the Encore, showed significant improvements in reliability and came in as the second most reliable crossover model.

Other brands that showed improvement in reliability included BMW, with its midsize X5 model making gains, Volvo, with its XC40 performing well, and Jeep with the Wrangler doing better.

German SUV Reliability

Porsche was the highest-ranked European automaker finishing 9th overall among automotive brands in the reliability survey.

Audi was in the middle of the pack. The A5 and A4 models both rated above average. However, its reliability rating was hurt by the subcompact Q3 crossover, the new tech-heavy midsize coupe crossover Q8, and its e-tron electric SUV. These models were found to have below or well below average reliability in the study.

Mercedes may do well on the innovation, comfort, and technology side but they didn’t fare well in reliability. Mercedes finished last among German automakers in the 20th spot.

Tesla Reliability

Tesla’s new Model Y crossover, unfortunately, didn’t fare so well in the CR reliability survey. Reported issues with fit and finish including misaligned body panels and mismatched paint tanked its rating.

The Model Y’s rating was much worse than average. It dragged the electric automaker down to the penultimate spot in the reliability rankings, ahead of only Lincoln.

Keep Reliability in Mind When Buying an SUV

Vehicle reliability is important as not only is it a major headache when your SUV is in the shop, it can be downright costly. Not only can it increase your maintenance and repair costs, but it also can decrease the resale value of your vehicle.

Reliable Small Suv 2020

You can learn more about the CR reliability survey and get the overall brand ratings list here. To view how rating have changed over the past year, check out our most and least reliable 2020 SUVs article.

Had a good or bad experience with a 2021 SUV model? We want to hear from you. Please share your experience in the comments below.

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