MotorTrend and Consumer Reports May Agree on the Best SUV but Not Much Else

Consumer Reports and MotorTrend seem to agree that the 2022 Subaru Crosstrek is the current best subcompact SUV in the market. However, they don’t agree on much else, especially regarding the cars they rank second and third best. Below is a breakdown of why the Subaru SUV ranks so high and both reviewers’ picks for second and third-highest-rated subcompact SUVs.

A light blue Subaru Crosstrek indoors.
Subaru Crosstrek | Getty Images

The 2022 Subaru Crosstrek MotorTrend and Consumer Reports ratings

MotorTrend rates the 2022 Crosstrek at a 9.2 out of 10, the highest of any SUV they’ve tested, subcompact or otherwise. Among the positives highlighted are the off-road capabilities which it attributes to the Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system, ground clearance, and X-mode setting.

Other pros, according to MotorTrend, include the driver-assist tech, safety scores, and the fact that it’s a great everyday car due to the comfortable and fun driving experience. On the Consumer Reports rating system, the Crosstrek gets an overall 86 out of 100, with its closest competitor getting a 77 out of 100.

Just like MotorTrend, Consumer Reports lists the ride quality among the positives. However, the other pros listed are different and include the SUV’s fuel economy, braking, and easy-to-use controls.

Consumer Reports and MotorTrend’s differing picks for second and third place for best SUV

As for the second place, Consumer Reports lists the 2022 Nissan Rogue Sport with U.S. News noting the car comes with a 2.0L four-cylinder outputting 141 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque. The vehicle is a 5-seater subcompact SUV and comes in FWD and AWD options.

Nevertheless, Consumer Reports rates it 77 out of 100 overall thanks to its practicality, relatively quiet cabin, intuitive controls, and decent fuel economy. On the other hand, the negatives listed include the slow acceleration and tight rear seat, which also happens to be low on thigh support.

MotorTrend’s second-place subcompact SUV is the 2022 Kia Soul, with the reviewer listing the car’s cargo space, easy smartphone integration, and handling as positives. Apparently, the ride quality is improved from previous models, and the vehicle even handles corners and uneven surfaces quite well.

This is in addition to feeling sufficiently powered despite a 147 hp four-cylinder engine as standard. Ultimately, the reviewer gives the Kia Soul an overall 9 out of 10 score.

The third picks for both reviewers include the 2022 Kia Seltos for MotorTrend and the 2022 Chevrolet Trailblazer for Consumer Reports. Notably, the 4-door Trailblazer SUV shares two positives with the Rogue Sport: good fuel economy and straightforward controls.

This is in addition to having excellent midrange torque and interior space. Downsides listed for the subcompact include low agility, substandard front-seat comfort, and lousy rear and side visibility resulting in an overall 76 out of 100 rating.

MotorTrend gives its third option, the Seltos, an 8.9 out of 10 noting good fuel economy, generous cargo space, great value in terms of features, and affordability for an AWD as the main positives. While it performs better than the Kia Soul in several areas, including the performance, efficiency, and tech, it loses in value, ultimately resulting in an 8.9 out of 10.

How MotorTrend and Consumer Reports come up with their ratings


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Both Consumer Reports and MotorTrend test different car models and combine the results to come up with the overall ratings. For Consumer Reports, each overall rating combines four score factors, including the predicted reliability, safety ratings, predicted owner satisfaction, and road test results.

The reviewer uses survey data from owners of the car’s current and previous model years to predict the owner satisfaction and reliability ratings of newer models. As for the safety ratings, it can combine data from various road safety bodies. These include the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety after they’ve tested the vehicles.

Lastly, the road test data combines results from more than 50 tests on Consumer Reports’ 327-acre test facility. These results are then presented on a 100-point scale. Although most cars get over 50 out of 100, there are still some options with significantly below-average performance.  

MotorTrend‘s scoring involves an in-house testing team at the website’s facilities, which looks at each car’s performance in different areas. The most prominent criteria include the fuel economy and driving range, value, safety, technology, design innovation, and lastly, the performance of the intended function. Unlike Consumer Reports’ 100-point system, MotoTrend’s is a 10-point scale. That said, a 7 out of 10 is considered average, and only cars with 8’s, 9’s, or 10 out of 10 are excellent or above average.

The five criteria are then combined to give an overall score out of ten.