5 of the Most Satisfying SUVs to Buy According to Consumer Reports

A midsize SUV might look powerful on paper, but that doesn’t always mean it’s fun to drive. It doesn’t help that there are many great options on the market, like the capable Subaru Outback and luxurious Tesla Model X. Fortunately, we can rely on websites like Consumer Reports that frequently survey owners on the best cars you can buy. Here are some of our favorites from CR’s list of most satisfying midsize SUVs.

The Subaru Outback predictably lands on this Consumer Reports list

According to owner surveys, the best thing about the Subaru Outback is its sumptuous ride. The suspension absorbs every harsh bump that comes its way, even on unpaved roads. The interior also feels very upscale for its price point, appointed with cozy and supportive seats.

Owners were also impressed with the Outback’s handling, but Consumer Reports says that the steering doesn’t provide much feedback. The Subaru Outback is powered by either a 182-hp four-cylinder engine or a 260-hp turbo-four. No matter the engine, every Outback comes with AWD and heightened ground clearance for light off-roading.

Owners think that the Subaru Outback is a great value with all its standard features. However, CR’s testers found the infotainment system to be more cumbersome than desired.

The luxurious BMW X5

The BMW X5 may be pricey, but it’s no slacker when it comes to performance, Drivers can choose between four different engines, including a hybrid powertrain and a 600-hp twin-turbo V8. Consumer Reports also notes that the X5’s base engine gets impressive gas mileage considering its speed.

Regardless of engine choice, each BMW X5 is comfortable to drive, though CR would have liked some sportier driving manners. The interior is also very luxe, with leather seats and a dashboard complemented with classy wood trim. Despite this, most owners didn’t think a new X5 was worth the price they paid for it.

Owners love the Porsche Cayenne

The Porsche Cayenne is also one of the most expensive midsize SUV options, but it delivers a more athletic drive. Consumer Reports says that it handles just like a sedan, tackling corners with grace and minimal body lean. The base turbo-V6 engine is both quick and efficient, but CR says it sometimes hesitates to accelerate after a pause.

The Porsche Cayenne’s interior is also first-rate with a quiet, well-furnished cabin and plush seats. The Cayenne’s infotainment system is nicely equipped, though it requires a steep learning curve. While they would still recommend the car, many owners didn’t think the Porsche Cayenne is a good value.

Consumer Reports loves the Kia Telluride

Just like critics, Kia Telluride owners seem to be overwhelmingly satisfied with this three-row SUV. Driving one isn’t a very exciting experience, but its 291-hp engine has no problem getting up to highway speeds. The ride is also very comfortable, with a cushy suspension and a cabin as quiet as a luxury model.

The Kia Telluride has three rows of seating, all of which can accommodate adult riders. There are plenty of useful storage nooks and cupholders, plus a total of 87 cubic feet of cargo space. Consumer Reports testers and consumers alike also appreciated all the safety features included on the base trim. 

The Lincoln Aviator makes a surprising appearance


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The Lincoln Aviator is a thrill to drive with its 400-hp base engine, quick acceleration, and precise handling. The interior is filled with premium materials and one of the most user-friendly infotainment systems on the market. It also has a lower price point compared to other luxury SUVs.

While the Lincoln Aviator made a splash with consumers, Consumer Reports testers gave it a low overall ranking. Its fuel economy isn’t terrible, but it’s below average at 28 mpg combined city/highway during CR’s testing. It also has a rock-bottom reliability score and some interior controls are confusing to operate.