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Many factors go into buying a used car or midsize SUV. Some buyers look for capability. Others look for power. In the modern era, available technology and interior quality are also desirable attributes when purchasing a used car. Unfortunately, dependability over time is often forgotten.

The good news is J.D. Power recently unveiled its 2021 Dependability Award for midsize SUVs. This award analyzes customer satisfaction over the first three years of ownership. It is based on quality and reliability, driving experience, resale value, and an overall ranking. The overall ranking includes all attributes of the car, including dealership experience. The top two contenders for this award may surprise you.

The 2018 Kia Sorento is a used midsize SUV worth hunting for

A 2018 Kia Sorento midsize SUV in white, driving on an empty road
2018 Kia Sorento | Kia

The 2018 Kia Sorento won the 2021 J.D. Power Dependability Award for midsize SUVs. The 2018 Sorento was released to wide acclaim due to its full-size capability and ability to seat seven passengers while retaining its midsize footprint. 

Technology and drivability were also strengths of this Kia SUV. It’s available with Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto, both of which are paired to a responsive touchscreen with Bluetooth integration. Under the hood, the Sorento offers up a 3.3-liter V6. The Sorento is also capable of towing up to 5,000 lbs with optional four-wheel drive.

After three years on the market, the Sorento has been very dependable. It also has great ratings in driving experience and dealership experience. It also took the top spot for quality and reliability over all 2018 midsize SUVs. 

The lowest score given to the Kia Sorento was in the resale value department. Its depreciation over the past three years has been about average. Still, if you are looking at a used SUV, this may mean you can snag up one of these quality machines at a great price.

You can’t go wrong with a used 2018 Toyota Highlander SUV 

A silver 2018 Toyota Highlander parked at dusk
2018 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

The days of Toyota taking the top prize in every category for dependability may be over with a surprise upset by the Kia Sorento, relegating the legendary Toyota Highlander to second place in dependability across midsize SUVs. However, this is not to say the Toyota Highlander is an SUV to be ignored. It scored higher than any other midsize SUV across almost every category.

The 2018 Toyota Highlander was impressive from the start with its vast array of technology upon release. With five USB ports and an available rear entertainment system with a Blu-ray Disc player, the Highlander SUV’s technology is impressive even by today’s standards. 

As for what’s under the hood? This Toyota SUV is powered by an available 3.5-liter V6 with auto stop and start technology for increased fuel economy. What sets the Highlander apart from the competition is the safety features, which include Toyota Safety Sense.  

For the 2021 J.D. Power Dependability Award, the Toyota Highlander tied the Kia Sorento in the top position for quality and reliability. It also surpassed all other midsize SUVs in resale value as the SUV least likely to depreciate. Unfortunately, with just an average driving experience and dealer experience, the Highlander fell just short of the Kia Sorento as the top midsize SUV in dependability.


The 7 Best Used SUVs and What They Cost

Which used midsize SUV model is the best choice for you?

If you’re in the market for a midsize SUV, you can’t go wrong with the Toyota Highlander or Kia Sorento. Both of these used midsize SUV models are neck in neck at the top of the list for reliability and dependability. The Sorento may be what you want if you want an impressive and inexpensive SUV. If you are willing to invest a little more in your SUV for slightly better quality, the Toyota Highlander might appeal to you. Regardless, these used SUVs are fantastic choices for anyone looking for a dependable used SUV that will last a lifetime.