Most Reliable 2021 Compact SUVs According to Consumer Reports

Deciding which crossover is the best for you is challenging because they have many similarities. But when it comes to reliability, only a few compact SUVs stand out in this area. We’ve gathered a few of the most reliable 2021 compact SUVs to help you narrow down your options.

The small crossovers on this list received excellent ratings from Consumer Reports. CR determines a vehicle’s reliability through its scientific Auto Surveys. Additionally, CR has a Reliability History chart that covers 17 potential trouble spots, including a car’s engine, transmission, and brakes. 

2021 Mazda CX-5

Mazda gives the 2021 CX-5 a noticeable refresh.
2021 Mazda CX-5 | Mazda

Mazda’s CX-5 has CR’s highest predicted reliability rating in the compact SUV class. The org gave it 85 out of 100 for predicted reliability. This ranking isn’t surprising since CR considers Mazda the most reliable car brand for 2021. 

What makes the CX-5 one of the most compelling options in the class is its sportscar-inspired handling and refined car cabin. There are a few notable changes for the 2021 CX-5. All models now come with a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There’s also a new Carbon Edition, which has Polymetal Gray Metallic exterior paint and available red leather seas. 

2021 Kia Sportage 

Red 2021 Kia Sportage drives down a dirt road in a mountainous environment
2021 Kia Sportage | Kia

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The Sportage received the second highest-reliability score in the class with an 81. This Kia also gets credit for being one of the sportier small SUVs you can buy. It has two engine options, including a 181-hp four-cylinder and a turbo-four that produces 240-hp. Both options come with a six-speed automatic. 

CR appreciated the Sportage’s high-quality cabin and user-friendly controls. But despite being one of the most reliable 2021 compact SUVs, it’s not among the most satisfying based on owner feedback. According to CR’s data, only 59 percent of owners would repurchase the SUV. Many of its classmates scored higher in this department. 

2021 Subaru Forester 

2021 Subaru Forester
2021 Subaru Forester Sport | Subaru

The new Subaru Forester has really impressed CR reviewers. It got CR’s highest performance road-test score in the compact SUV class with a 90 overall rating. The Forester is an excellent choice if you value fuel efficiency and a huge plus is that it’s standard with all-wheel drive. 

On the inside, the Forester impresses with its roominess and comfortable seats. It also boasts intuitive tech. Although, you may not like that the Forester’s engine tends to get remarkably loud at higher speeds. 

2021 Honda CR-V

2021 Honda CR-V Touring
2021 Honda CR-V | Honda

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As CR notes, the CR-V is one of the better small SUVs you can buy, thanks to its well-rounded performance and strong history of dependability. It impresses with its generous passenger and cargo space, plus it’s one of the most eco-friendly models on the market today.

The CR-V has a firmer ride quality compared to the Forester, but it’s comfortable overall. CR appreciates that the CR-V has a more affordable price tag and comes with advanced safety features such as forward-collision warning. Though, one downside is that you have to upgrade to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

2021 Hyundai Tucson

2021 Hyundai Tucson driving
2021 Hyundai Tucson | Hyundai

Hyundai’s Tucson rounds out CR’s list of the most reliable 2021 compact SUVs. The Tucson shares many similarities with its corporate cousin, the Kia Sportage. CR still doesn’t consider the Tucson as one of the most competitive small crossovers because of its so-so fuel economy and underpowered base engine. But on a brighter note, the Tucson earns points for its well-balanced handling and standard tech.