Few things are worse than buying an unreliable vehicle, as they’re expensive to buy and expensive to maintain. Fortunately, some SUVs have well above average reliability. For an SUV that won’t leave you stranded or damage your bank account, check out these reliable rides.
One of the very first crossovers on the market, the Forester earned a stellar reputation for durability. That still holds true on even the newest models because Subaru sticks to the same flat-four cylinder engine and all-wheel-drive combination that works so well. While the Forester is a compact crossover, it was designed like an SUV first with real ground clearance. It’s a little taller and longer than Subaru’s similar Outback, resulting in more passenger and cargo space. Those passengers will like knowing Subaru’s Eye Sight safety suite is standard equipment, while options include everything from 4G-LTE WiFi, to a turbocharger and manual transmission. Subaru apparently has assembly options figured out, as the Forester is Consumer Reports‘ top choice for best compact SUV.
It’s always good to have a second opinion. The top small SUV, according to JD Power, is the lovely VW Tiguan. Due to the shared chassis components under the sheet metal, the Tiguan is built solid like an Audi Q3, minus the higher price tag. The first generation was sold through 2016, and offered a 2.0-liter four cylinder running power through an auto, manual, or lightning fast dual-clutch transmission. All are reliable units, and the all-wheel-drive system sees few complaints from owners. The 2017+ second generation gained size, comfort, a huge assortment of active safety features, and more luxury, but actually offered a price cut that should translate well to the used market. It’s also one of the few compacts that offer third-row seating, so if you have a large family but a small garage, the Tiguan fits both.
Surprise! The Equinox is Car and Driver‘s number one midsize choice, due to a mix of data from JD Power and Consumer Reports, as well as their own successful long-term road tests. Chevy’s mid-size crossover does look good, and the interior is attractive and logically laid out. Comfort is high on the list of reviewer’s pluses, and the seats are especially comfortable, with a great view of the road. The old first generation ‘nox drove like a school bus, but the second generation (2010 to 2017) had a standard 3.6-liter V6 that was a class leader in power and reliability, and one of WardsAuto’s 10 Best Engines. The 2018+ Equinox saw a small drop in power as it downsized to the compact class, but gained a massive jump in fuel efficiency, including a turbo diesel that’s likely to last beyond 300,000 miles without needing an overhaul. Maybe Chevy’s annoying “real people” commercials are onto something.
When you think of reliability, what number comes to mind? 100,000 miles? How about 200,000? Toyota has a sterling reputation for quality and the Sequoia SUV tops even their list, ranked as the number one vehicle of any type most likely to reach 200,000 miles, according to an extensive iSeeCars survey. While some reviewers criticize the Sequoia’s dated infotainment system, that just means the kinks are ironed out, and the current Entune system does work well, it just doesn’t look as flashy as new systems. The big 5.7-liter V8 borrowed from the Tundra is also old-school, but makes 381 horsepower and is one of the most reliable engines on the market. Also consider that the Sequoia earned Consumer Reports‘ highest reliability rating every single year since 2012. Motor Trend summed up their most recent review with, “you’ll be driving a Sequoia for a long, long time to come.”
Need some luxury with your reliability? It’s generally accepted that Lexus is at the center of a Venn diagram covering luxury and long-term reliability. However, plenty of buyer’s prefer a Bavarian design ethos, and for them, BMW has what they need. JD Power says the X3 has a vehicle dependability rating of 9 out of 10, the highest score among compact luxury SUVs. Consumer Reports places the X3 as average, but proper maintenance should be enough to kick that into well above average. The 3.0-liter inline-six cylinder is legendarily reliable, and the 2014 face-lift increased reliability in everything from the iDrive infotainment system, to replacing exterior bulbs with long-life LEDs. You’ll love the X3’s classy interior and how it drives, and think of the reliability as an added bonus feature.