Which 2021 Compact SUVs Did Consumer Reports Recommend?

A recommendation from Consumer Reports is an important consideration when car shopping. For the 2021 model year, the CR team recommends eight models in the compact SUV segment. They are the best overall small crossovers with strong reliability, safety, and owner satisfaction ratings. Any recommended vehicle also must perform well on CR’s road tests and in owner surveys.

So, which eight compact SUVs earned the coveted CR Recommended distinction?

Why Consumer Reports recommendations are important

When Consumer Reports recommends a vehicle, manufacturers can display that designation to help consumers decide on their purchase. For 85 years, the nonprofit has used independent research and testing to provide consumers with the information they’ll find useful for choosing a vehicle.

Knowing there’s so much misleading information floating around, CR’s experts give consumers access to reliable and objective recommendations. The site provides information on performance, reliability, safety, and value, so you’ll also know which vehicles to avoid.

Consumer Reports recommends these 2021 compact SUVs

Consumer Reports recommends eight 2021 compact SUVs. All earned high overall ratings and strong scores in their road tests, predicted reliability, and predicted owner satisfaction.

Landing in the top spot is the 2021 Subaru Forester, with an impressive overall score of 89 out of 100 and strong ratings for the road tests, reliability, and owner satisfaction. CR’s automotive experts agree the updated Forester is a well-executed small SUV. They appreciate its spacious cabin, solid fuel economy, and abundant standard safety features.

In second place is the 2021 Mazda CX-5, with an overall score of 83 out of 100 and a perfect 5 out of 5 in predicted reliability. Consumer Reports’ reviewers like the second-generation CX-5 for its athletic handling and improved ride. With better interior quality and less cabin noise, the CX-5 is among the best in its class.

Rounding out the top three is the 2021 Honda CR-V, earning an overall score of 82 out of 100. The popular CR-V impresses the CR team with its fuel-efficiency, standard safety features, and roomy interior. They like that it’s small enough to park in tight spaces and navigate traffic but can also seat five adults with plenty of room to get comfortable. 

The 2021 Kia Sportage, Toyota RAV4 Prime, Hyundai Tucson, Chevrolet Equinox, and Toyota RAV4 are the remaining CR Recommended compact SUVs.

Interesting observations

The 2021 Kia Sportage ranks fourth with an overall score of 81 out of 100. But curiously, Consumer Reports gave it only a 2 out of 5 for predicted owner satisfaction. Its ratings are just above average in comfort, driving experience, styling, and value. Only 59 percent of surveyed owners said they’d repurchase one.

CR likes the Sportage for its sharp appearance and somewhat athletic handling. It also earned a perfect 5 out of 5 in predicted reliability, which is a real bonus.

The sixth-place Hyundai Tucson received an overall score of 77 out of 100. Like the Sportage, it fared well in most categories but merited only a 2 out of 5 in predicted owner satisfaction. Though its ratings were OK in styling and comfort, it didn’t do well in driving experience and value. Only 57 percent of surveyed owners said they’d buy the Tucson again. 

So, if you’re in the market for a good new compact SUV, trust Consumer Reports to guide you in the right direction.