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Reliability is at the forefront of most drivers’ minds these days, especially since the cost of new and used SUVs remains high. Some reliable and popular small SUVs from Honda and Mazda have captured shoppers’ attention for good reason. There is one sport utility vehicle that did not impress, and you might want to skip that one.

When it comes to the best small SUVs, Edmunds put the 2023 Honda CR-V at the top. It offers a smooth, comfortable ride with plenty of space for five passengers. Honda redesigned this year’s CR-V and only improved upon an already reliable and popular SUV. Drivers note that it is easy to drive, and at around $150 a month in fuel cost, it is pretty affordable to gas up.

All trim levels get forward collision warning with automatic braking, lane-keeping assistance, and adaptive cruise control. The 2023 CR-V offers good value for those who want a brand-new SUV that will last for years. Additionally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made the 2023 Honda CR-V a Top Safety Pick Plus award winner.

MSRP Range: $28,410 – $39,100

Reliable and popular small SUVs include the new Mazda CX-50
A 2023 Mazda CX-50 | Mazda

At the top of the list but brand new for this year, the 2023 Mazda CX-50 has a lot to offer. Drivers report that it is fun to drive and pretty quick, along with good handling. A turbo engine is optional for those who want more power. While most people might use it for daily driving, this Honda SUV is capable enough off-road. Even though it hasn’t been on the road very long, it earned a spot on the list of reliable and popular small SUVs for 2023.

Edmunds put the monthly fuel costs at around $158, which is below the average SUV. The base engine gets 27 mpg combined, or the upgraded turbo gets 25 mpg combined. All-wheel drive comes standard, too. While the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn’t thoroughly tested the CX-50, it did give it some scores. Mazda’s Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and Crash Imminent Braking systems all met performance criteria. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety made it a Top Safety Pick, too.

MSRP Range: $27,550 – $42,300

You might want to ditch the GMC Terrain

Unfortunately, the 2023 GMC Terrain was below average for the small SUV segment. It has an easy-to-use interface and comfortable seats, but those are the highlights. GMC’s base engine in the Terrain doesn’t seem to have enough power, and the transmission is sluggish. During testing, the Terrain reached 60 mph in 9.3 seconds. Drivers report a bumpy ride, too.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2023 Terrain some high scores but didn’t win any awards. It did earn a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Overall, better and safer options in the segment are worth considering.

MSRP Range: $28,400 – $37,100

The good news is that there are more reliable and popular small SUVs than ones to avoid. Some other options include the 2023 Mazda CX-5, the Subaru Forester, and the Kia Sportage. While these didn’t score quite as high, more options are always better.


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