Trucks & SUVs

J.D. Power’s List of Best Small 2020 Suvs Is Missing a Couple Heavy Hitters

10 compact crossover SUVs have made J.D. Power’s list of Top-Rated 2020 Small SUVs. Nevertheless, a couple of compact crossovers were left off of that list: the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Why in the world would these highly popular SUVs be left off J.D. Power’s list? Let’s have a quick look.

The top three on J.D. Power’s list

As we’ve pointed out several times in the past, Kia and Hyundai’s compact SUVs are at the top of the list when it comes to quality. Apparently, according to J.D. Power, a majority of consumers who are within this purchasing segment feel the same way.

At the top of that list is the 2020 Kia Soul, listed as the “highest small SUV in quality according to consumers.” In second place we have the 2020 Hyundai Tucson, J.D. Power’s “Award Winner in Initial Quality.” The 2020 Kia Sportage came in third place.

Why the 2020 Honda CR-V didn’t make the list

Cracks have been showing up in Honda’s legendary quality and reliability for some time now. And while some consumers seem to be looking past those cracks, others aren’t. This can be seen in some of Honda’s core passenger vehicles getting lower scores on crucial industry report cards, such as J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study and Consumer Reports’ reliability scores. 

The Honda CR-V fought to stay on top, so to speak, in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. This is because of the reliability issues arising from a phantom check engine light that appears on the cluster display. Being that the check engine light does this randomly, Honda’s mechanics have had a hard time trying to figure out what causes it. Even if they do discover the cause, owners have complained that the problem mysteriously returns.

Another phantom light that has been causing drivers issues is the emission standards light. Again, mechanics have been known to spend hours searching for the root cause of this problem. Like the check engine light, it’s been known to return only after a day or two. Some owners have found that their oil levels are higher than before and notice the smell of fuel. This is a sign that fuel is somehow mixing in with the oil. Such an issue can lead to severe engine problems if not taken care of in a timely manner.

Why the 2020 Toyota RAV4 didn’t make the list

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Despite being one of the top-selling small SUVs on the market for quite some time, owners have had their fair share of complaints. One of the issues on the list is its poor fuel economy.

While other small SUVs such as the Nissan Kicks get 31 miles (49.89 km) per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway, the RAV4 only gets 26 and 33 respectively. When it comes to the Hybrid, one can only expect 41 miles (65.98 km) per gallon in the city and 38 on the highway.

The 2019 Toyota RAV4 suffered various transmission problems — and only a year after purchasing it. The transmission reportedly lurches forward at lower speeds. If drivers attempt to force the RAV4 into gear the transmission allegedly makes loud banging and clunking sounds. Other drivers reported that the transmission lags or fails to shift while others complained about a delay when pressing the gas.

Other Toyota RAV4 problems

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In February 2020, Toyota issued a recall for 2019-2020 RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid models equipped with the 2.5-liter engines because they were leaking coolant. Toyota concluded that the engine casting was susceptible to cracking. This led to coolant leaking in both the interior and exterior. Air bubbles possibly developed in the metal during the engine manufacturing process, eventually causing the cracks when the engines heated up.

As of now, it’s unclear if the 2021 models will lack these problems. Whatever the case, it’s obvious that these issues cost both the CR-V and RAV4 a place on J.D. Power’s list of Best Small SUVs.

It’s worth mentioning that both the RAV4 and CR-V have made it to the top of countless other ‘best of’ lists. The absence of these vehicles on one list shouldn’t dissuade you from checking them out.