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Shopping the used car market for the most reliable SUV provides a range of options from small SUVs like the Kia Sportage to large SUVs, including the Nissan Armada, and luxury models like the Lexus GX SUV. These models vary in size, seating capacity, luxury, fuel economy, and more. We’ll explore the differences and advantages of each model. 

A man and a car salesmen browse used SUVs at a dealership.
Used SUVs are more popular than ever | Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The most reliable SUVs

According to a U.S. News review of the “Most Reliable Used SUVs in 2023,” there is a three-way tie for the most reliable SUV. The three most reliable SUVs earning a J.D. Power Reliability Score of 91-out-of-100 include the 2018 Lexus GX, 2019 Kia Sportage, and 2020 Nissan Armada. 

The 2018 Lexus GX is reliable and luxurious

The 2018 Lexus GX earned high marks for reliability, offers luxury SUV status, and provides “outstanding off-road capability.” However, according to its U.S. News review, it falls short as a practical, comfortable, and capable daily driver with poor fuel economy compared to other luxury SUVs. 

The 2018 Lexus GX 460 features seating for seven, standard four-wheel drive (4WD), a 301-horsepower 4.6-liter V8 engine, and a six-speed automatic transmission. Used retail ranges for a Luxury trim model in average to clean condition are around $40,000 compared to an original starting MSRP of $52,155 for the base trim. 

While the base trim features an adequate level of comfort, including dual-zone automatic climate control, a moonroof, and synthetic leather upholstery, Premium trim models provide:

  • Tri-zone automatic climate control.
  • Heated and ventilated seats.
  • Genuine leather upholstery.
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers.

The top-trimmed Luxury model adds second-row captain’s chairs that reduce seating to six, a power-folding third row, and a host of driver assistance features. 

The 2019 Kia Sportage is affordable and reliable

The 2019 Kia Sportage offers a “spacious upscale interior,” an easy-to-use infotainment system, and a comfortable ride with predictable handling. However, fuel economy and cargo space suffer compared to other small SUVs, and the 2019 Sportage base trim has fewer features than previous years and no longer offers heated rear seats. 

The 2019 Sportage features seating for five, standard front-wheel drive (AWD optional), and two engine options, including the base 181-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder or the available 240-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

In 2019, a new Kia Sportage had an MSRP of around $23,750, while current used prices for models in good condition average about $19,000. 

Aside from being one of the most reliable used SUVs, the base model Sportage LX models feature cloth upholstery, a 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with six speakers, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera. The EX trim upgrades the seats to leather upholstery with heat for the front seats and the touchscreen to seven inches while adding dual-zone automatic climate control, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

Finally, with the SX Turbo trim, you’ll get the 240-hp engine, ventilated front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and advanced driver assist features. 

The 2020 Nissan Armada has something for everyone

As a large SUV, the 2020 Nissan Armada provides an upscale cabin, adequate horsepower, and comfortable seating. However, the Armada’s downsides include its subpar fuel efficiency, small cargo capacity, and archaic infotainment system. 

The 2020 Armada has standard rear-wheel drive, but AWD is optional. It also provides seating for eight people, and its 5.6-liter V8 produces 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque to tow up to 8,500 pounds when properly equipped. The range for a used 2020 Nissan Armada goes from $24,000 to nearly $50,000 compared to the original MSRP range of $47,500 to $63,930. 

The 2020 Armada options included four trim levels, each with the same 390 hp V8 and seven-speed automatic transmission. The base Armada SV features an 8-inch touchscreen, a 13-speaker stereo system, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and driver assistance features, including adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, and “a pre-collision warning and braking system.” 

Armada SL and Platinum trims offer upgraded features like leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, power-fold third-row seats, and additional driver assistance features. The Nissan Armada Platinum Reserve is the only model with standard second-row bucket seats and two-tone leather upholstery. 


The Most Reliable Used Kia Sportage Model Year Under $20,000 in 2023