Only 2 SUVs Made It to Consumer Reports’ Top Auto Picks Under $35K List

Consumer Reports recommendations can convince consumers to get or avoid a vehicle. The nonprofit organization makes its recommendations based on rigorous testing and research. So, its findings are often impactful. Consumer Reports only picked two SUV models for its top auto picks under $35,000 list.

The Toyota Corolla Cross provides great value for the money

The Corolla Cross is a crossover version of the popular Toyota Corolla. The Corolla nameplate has been in production since 1966. The small car is known for being safe and affordable.

Today, SUVs have become the most popular vehicles in America. Models like the Toyota RAV4 have led the charge for the popularization of the modern small SUV. The Corolla Cross exists between Toyota’s sedan and small SUV as a subcompact SUV. Subcompact SUVs make great sedan alternatives for drivers that desire a more spacious cabin and more cargo space.

The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross starts at $23,060. It uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine to make 169 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque. The Corolla Cross gets 31 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway.

The Corolla Cross is available in three different configurations: the L, LE, and XLE. Kelley Blue Book praises its available all-wheel drive and gas mileage. There’s even a hybrid version of the Corolla Cross on its way to America. Consumer Reports only chose two vehicles for its top auto picks for 2023 under $25K list: the Toyota Corolla Hybrid and the Toyota Corolla Cross.

The Subaru Forester is a great small SUV for long-term use

A blue 2023 Subaru Forester small SUV is driving off-road.
The 2023 Subaru Forester | Subaru

A study by concluded that the average new vehicle ownership period is just 8.4 years. So, many new vehicles outlast the average new vehicle ownership period. A well-maintained Subaru Forester small SUV can easily last for over 200,000 miles or 14 years of ownership.

If you’re looking for a small SUV that can stand the test of time, the Forester is one of the most dependable models on the market. Its reliability is one of its key characteristics.

The 2023 Subaru Forester starts at $26,395. It uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine to make 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. The Forester achieves 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 miles per gallon on the highway. According to CNBC, Consumer Reports included four vehicles on its list of top auto picks for 2023 between $25,000 and $35,000: the Toyota Camry Hybrid, Ford Maverick Hybrid, Nissan Leaf, and Subaru Forester.

Why does Consumer Reports recommend some vehicles over others?

A blue 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross is driving on the road.
The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross | Toyota

Consumer Reports Loves the Subaru Forester

Consumer Reports ranking lists and recommendations are based on the organization’s experiences with a vehicle through testing, research and news, and other important details that give it a bigger picture of a nameplate. Reliability is a huge factor in Consumer Reports’ decision making, so reliability issues can cause it to exclude certain models.

Recalls and other issues can cause a vehicle to lose its Consumer Reports recommendation. So, the models featured on Consumer Reports’ list of best auto picks for 2023 are worth looking into, but they aren’t definitively the best models in their respective segments. That being said, the Corolla Cross and Subaru Forester still deserve props.