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Each year, the S&P Global Annual Automotive Loyalty Awards recognize automakers and brands with the strongest customer loyalty in the U.S. With significant shifts in the auto industry following the pandemic and fluctuating inventory levels, tracking consumer loyalty has posed a challenge. S&P Global Mobility recently published its 27th Annual Automotive Loyalty Awards, including the most loyal SUV drivers for each segment. Which SUVs in each segment had the most loyal owners?

The 27th Annual Automotive Loyalty Awards

A close of the grille of the 2022 Chevrolet Equinox.
2022 Chevrolet Equinox | Creative Commons

The awards recognize automakers and brands with the highest percentage of buyers returning to the same brand for their next lease or purchase. They are based on data gathered from global information and analytics company IHS Markit which tracks vehicle registrations and studies customer behavior in the auto industry.

The awards were derived from a 2022 fact-based analysis of 11.7 million new vehicle registrations in the U.S.  When an owner or household that owns a new vehicle returns to buy another new vehicle of the same make, manufacturer, or model, the loyalty is noted. The recently purchased vehicle can either be an addition or a replacement, according to S&P Global Mobility.

Joe LaFeir, President of Automotive Insights for S&P Global Mobility, explained that the last three years have been challenging for the auto industry. Now that consumers are returning to the post-pandemic market and inventory levels are increasing, automakers find it more difficult to retain loyal customers than ever.

The Segment Model Loyalty Award Winner for Best Small SUV

The Chevrolet Equinox won this award with its on-road agility, an abundance of infotainment features, and generous passenger space.

According to Car and Driver, the Equinox is one of the most popular compact crossovers on the market. It may not have the interior quality or storage space of its rivals, but it can take several passengers on a spirited ride with athletic handling. All models offer a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a power output of 175 hp and 203 lb-ft of torque.  

In 2023, Equinox has three new paint colors and an electronically assisted brake system, the “E-boost,” to replace the previous conventional vacuum-boosted setup. There are also new Midnight and Sport edition models for the base LS models.

The Segment Model Loyalty Award Winner for Best Midsize SUV

The midsize winner was the Subaru Outback which appeals to families and outdoor enthusiasts alike. It has a winning combination of rough good looks, nice ground clearance, practicality, and comfort. 

Car and Driver like the Outback for its station wagon practicality. Consumers get a choice of either a regular or turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) and standard all-wheel drive, which is a real bonus.

While Outback can go off-road, that’s not where its true strength lies. It offers great value. The Subaru Outback has the same lifted wagon aesthetic as peers like the Audi A4 Allroad and the Volvo V60 Cross Country, and it costs a lot less.

The Segment Model Loyalty Award Winner for Best Full-size SUV

Last but not least is the full-size SUV loyalty winner, the Chevrolet Tahoe. This super-sized SUV has all the features and space you’d expect. It also offers a wide array of trim levels, so there’s something for most budgets.

According to Car and Driver, the Tahoe handles well on the road despite its size. There are three engine options and some towing capability with any of them. This SUV has a third-row seating standard and is loaded with driver-assist and infotainment features, even at the base trim level. 

If you plan on going off the pavement often, the Z71, with its two-speed transfer case, all-terrain tires, and adjustable air suspension, is the trim for you. If you want more of a luxury experience, the Premier and High Country trims will likely suit your needs, but are expensive. 


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