Most Unreliable 2021 Compact SUVs According to Consumer Reports

Shopping for a new compact SUV for the 2021 model year is especially exciting because so many models have stellar reviews. The best small SUVs of the year have a few things in common such as modern tech and dependability. Of course, there are some you should probably avoid. We’ve gathered a list of the most unreliable 2021 compact SUVs.

The small crossovers on this list received low ratings from Consumer Reports. CR bases these scores on member responses in its annual Auto Surveys. Furthermore, CR has a Reliability History chart that covers 17 potential trouble spots, including a car’s engine, transmission, and brakes. 

2021 Ford Escape 

2021 Ford Escape in the mountains
2021 Ford Escape | Ford

Ford SUVs were astoundingly problematic in 2020. The Ford Escape, in particular, has had a spotty history regarding dependability. The Escape earns the unfortunate spot at the top of the most unreliable 2021 compact SUVs list. CR gave this Ford a 10 out of 100 for predicted reliability. 

Ford completely redesigned the Escape for 2020, so it’s essentially a new car. And as CR’s research shows, vehicle redesigns can really drag down a car’s reliability. The more extensive the changes, the more unreliable the vehicle can be. The 2021 Escape’s reliability scores reflect reported issues with the SUV’s in-car electronics, power equipment, body integrity, and transmission minor. 

2021 Jeep Compass

2021 Jeep Compass driving in a city area
2021 Jeep® Compass Limited | Jeep

The Compass is far from critics’ favorite Jeep. Like its siblings, the Compass is a capable off-roader but its flaws overshadow that. CR took points away from the 2021 Compass’ overall performance ranking for its rough ride quality, noisy engine, and slow acceleration.

What makes the Compass even less appealing is its predicted reliability. CR gave it a 21 out of 100 in this area. The Compass also has a terrible owner’s satisfaction rating. According to CR’s data, only 21 percent of owners would repurchase the SUV. Competitors like the Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Forester have scored much higher. 

2021 Jeep Cherokee 

A grey 2021 Jeep Cherokee parked on display
The 2021 Jeep Cherokee on display | Photo via Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

The Cherokee is another Jeep that makes it on the list of the most unreliable 2021 compact SUVs. While it scored a little higher than the Compass, the Cherokee still has a below-average dependability ranking. Common trouble spots for the Cherokee include its transmission minor, power equipment, and drive system. 

There are few other downsides to the Cherokee. CR says its sluggish engine options make it sound like a “farm equipment piece” and that its transmission is uncooperative. On a brighter note, CR noted that the Cherokee now comes with more standard safety features, and its braking system works well. 

2021 Volkswagen Tiguan 

A photo of the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan outdoors.
Volkswagen Tiguan | Volkswagen

Consumer Reports Worst Rated Vehicles of 2019

Volkswagen’s Tiguan SUV is one of the more fun options in the class, mostly because of its contemporary style. Plus, it’s one of the few small SUVs that offer a third-row seat. But unfortunately, this VW has a problematic history too. The 2020 Tiguan’s most common trouble spots concerned its paint/trim and body hardware. Other model years like the 2018 version had more significant issues regarding its suspension and brakes.