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General Motors has been striving to produce more competitive vehicles beyond pickup trucks, and its efforts are paying off. J.D. Power recently released a list of the best compact SUVs of 2023, and the top three are under the GM umbrella. This roundup is based on owner surveys, meaning buyers like what GM is selling.

The 2023 Buick Envision tops J.D. Power’s list of the best compact SUVs

Best compact SUVs: 2023 Buick Envision
2023 Buick Envision | Creative Commons

The 2023 Buick Envision is the top compact SUV on the J.D. Power list. Buick is a subsidiary of GM, along with Chevrolet and GMC, making it a win for GM.

The 2023 Envision earned an overall score of 86 from owners. They were pleased with the quiet cabin, which prevents outside noises such as honking horns or the rumble of unpaved roads. 

What it doesn’t do well is muffle interior noises, according to survey respondents. Thankfully, the sound quality of the audio system drowns out some of the noise.

Something else that owners like about the 2023 Buick Envision is the engine. It received high ratings for the power of the vehicle’s 228-hp inline-four. 

However, owners weren’t thrilled about the amount of cargo space and the gas mileage of 22 to 31 mpg combined. They also gave lower ratings than some competitors for “feeling that the vehicle would protect them in an accident,” J.D. Power reports.

Regardless, respondents still gave this compact SUV scores that were high enough to beat the competition.

The 2023 Chevrolet Equinox is a close second

Owners who took the J.D. Power survey gave the 2023 Chevrolet Equinox an overall score of 85. That puts it in second place on the list and delivers another win for GM.

Drivers are pleased with the Equinox’s fuel economy of 24 to 31 mpg combined. They also enjoy this compact SUV’s voice assistance features. In addition, owners like the ability to leave their belongings in the Equinox without fear of being seen.

There were a few things owners rated lower, such as the Equinox’s handling in slippery conditions. And like the Buick Envision, the Equinox received lower ratings than other compact SUVs in the feeling of protection in an accident. Also, owners think the interior styling could be improved.

The 2023 GMC Terrain rounds out the top 3 compact SUVs

The 2023 GMC Terrain ties with its corporate cousin, the Chevrolet Equinox. Both have an overall score of 85 on the J.D. Power list.

Like the Equinox, the Terrain impresses with its voice assistance feature. But what was a bit surprising is that many owners say they enjoy the sound of the Terrain’s 1.5-liter inline-four engine. That usually applies to muscle cars, so it’s unusual for this feature to be among the favorites of a compact SUV.

Owners also appreciate the Terrain’s fuel economy. It gets 24 mpg in the city and 28 to 29 mpg on the highway.

Among the features that owners don’t like in the Terrain is its safety system. They ranked it lower than some other compact SUVs. 

Another unusual response from owners is that other vehicles make drivers “feel better when they start them.” J.D. Power doesn’t explain why Terrain owners cite that as a drawback. 

Finally, survey respondents say the 2023 Terrain’s front seats could be more comfortable. Owners don’t cite the same issue in the similar Equinox. But because GMC is a premium brand, owners arguably expect more comfort in a premium SUV.


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