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There’s a wide range of compact SUVs on the market, and some of those vehicles are pleasing owners. J.D. Power surveyed consumers to find out which SUVs are well-liked by drivers, and it appears that the top three in this category are all alike. The Kia EV6 is the Most Satisfying Compact SUV on the market. Which ones are the second and third models in the segment and what do they all have in common?

What does the APEAL study tell us?

J.D. Power’s APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout) study is something the site does every year to see how satisfied owners are with their purchases. Drivers share their experiences and report what they liked and didn’t like about the vehicle they bought. The site has them rank their purchase by several different areas, such as the vehicle’s interior, how well you can get in and out of it, and how well it drives to name a few. 

The study will reveal the most satisfying brands from consumers as well as which vehicles were the most satisfying to own in each segment. Looking at the Compact SUV category, three models ranked in the top three. What’s interesting about that is that each one of those three models is an electric vehicle, according to J.D. Power

Which ones did owners like the most? Let’s take a look.

1. The Kia EV6 is the most satisfying compact SUV

Tied for first place in the Compact SUV category is the EV6. Owners of this Kia model ranked the top three features of the vehicle that they liked and the three things that they didn’t like. When it comes to what they were impressed by, the EV6 offers a powerful engine, quiet cabin, and good fuel economy ratings. 

Powering up the 2023 Kia EV6 is an electric powertrain combined with a 58 kWh battery producing 167 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. This setup offers 232 miles of driving range and can get an equivalent of 136 MPGe in the city and 100 MPGe on the highway. The EV6 is also well insulated from any outside noises you might hear on other models, like road or engine noise. That’s pretty good for a model that starts at $42,600.

As for dislikes, owners of the model reported they weren’t impressed by the audio system, headlight efficiency, and storage space. The Kia Light RWD version (base) offers a six-speaker audio system with two dash-mounted tweeters. But, drivers of the model complained the sound was too weak for their taste. The EV6 also had little storage space for owners. 

Kia has built-in 24.4 cubic feet of cargo behind the rear seats and 50.2 cubic feet with those seats folded down. The third dislike was the headlight’s effectiveness, which means the range of light from them wasn’t efficient enough for the drivers to see what was around them. 

2. The Nissan Ariya isn’t too far behind

The 2023 Nissan Ariya tied with the EV6 for first place in the Compact SUV segment. While J.D. Power has no information on what owners liked or disliked about the vehicle, we do know that the model comes with a 160 kW electric motor paired with a 63 kWh battery. With this combination, you can expect to get about 216 miles of driving range with the base, and a max total of 304 miles with the Venture version, according to Nissan

When it comes to fuel economy, with this electric vehicle, you get 109 MPGe in the city and 94 MPGe on the highway. With the AWD model of the base, you will get 97 MPGe on city roads and 86 MPGe when traveling on the highway. This electric SUV can be had for a starting price of $43,190.

3. The Ford Mustang Mach-E also makes the list

The 2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E came in third for Compact SUVs. Like the Nissan Ariya, it isn’t rated by J.D. Power, so it doesn’t show what owners liked and disliked about it. However, we do know that the vehicle runs off a single electric motor paired with a 72 kWh battery for the standard rear-wheel drive model. This combination produces 266 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque. 

For $42,995 (base), you get 250 miles of driving range (312 for higher trims) and approximately 90 MPGe in the city and 77 MPGe on the highway. As for cargo storage, you get 29.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 59.7 cubic feet if you fold those seats down. You also get 4.7 cubic feet of space in the front trunk area, according to Ford

The Kia EV6, Nissan Ariya, and the Ford Mustang Mach-E models are the most satisfying Compact SUVs in the market, according to respondents of J.D. Power’s annual APEAL study. It’s not all that surprising since each vehicle offers decent performance and driving range. 


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