The Most Reliable Subcompact SUVs According to Consumer Reports

Subcompact SUVs are basically the new sedans. Like sedans, tiny crossovers are easy to maneuver, but they can also provide you with extra capabilities. To help you determine the best option for you, we’ve gathered a list of the most reliable 2021 subcompact SUVs.

The tiny SUVs on the list received the most favorable ratings from Consumer Reports. CR is one of the best car buying resources because of its thorough testing and robust survey data. The key factors CR uses to determine a vehicle’s overall score includes road-test performance, reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety. 

The 2021 Subaru Crosstrek is the class leader 

A chartreuse 2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport Hero travels on a wet paved road along a guardrail and trees
2021 Subaru Crosstrek Sport Hero | Subaru of America, Inc.

So, the 2021 Subaru Crosstrek has the lowest predicted reliability score on this list. CR gave it a four out of five for reliability; the rest of the models on this list got a perfect five out of five. Nonetheless, the Crosstrek has the highest overall score in the class because of its excellent road test performance. 

Overall, the subcompact SUV class isn’t the most exciting, which is probably why the Crosstrek is one that really stands out. The Crosstrek’s 8.7 inches of ground clearance and standard all-wheel-drive system contribute to its ability to hit the trails. The latest version wowed CR reviewers with its fuel-efficiency, braking performance, and ride comfort. One downside is that the Crosstrek base engine is slow, but the new Sport trim features a more powerful four-cylinder.

The 2021 Hyundai Kona is surprisingly sporty 

2021 Hyundai Kona Night Edition
2021 Hyundai Kona Night Edition | Hyundai

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Hyundai first introduced the Kona for the 2018 model year. And in a relatively short amount of time, the Kona has impressed critics. It was one of Car and Driver’s past 10Best award winners, and U.S. News currently ranks the 2021 Kona as its best subcompact SUV. 

CR recognizes the 2021 Kona for its playfulness and agility. Base models come with a 147-hp four-cylinder and six-speed automatic. For more power, there’s the 175-hp turbocharged four-cylinder linked to a seven-speed dual-clutch. We also like that the Kona is available with front- or all-wheel-drive. 

The 2021 Mazda CX-30 is reliable and satisfying 

A red 2021 Mazda CX-30 overlooks an ocean
2021 Mazda CX-30 | Mazda North American Operations

For 2021, the Mazda CX-30 continues to be one of the best small crossovers. It boasts excellent reliability ratings and owner satisfaction scores. Additionally, CR’s tests show that the CX-30 quicker than the similarly-sized Crosstrek. 

The CX-30 also offers one of the classiest cabins in the segment. There are few drawbacks, though. For instance, the CX-30’s interior is on the narrower side, and it doesn’t’ have the best outward visibility. 

The Mazda CX-3 impresses with its chic design too

The Mazda CX-3 is a safe, dependable, and modern subcompact crossover developed by Mazda to be their entry-level model.
Mazda CX-3 | Mazda USA

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Since Mazda introduced the CX-30, it seems to have hurt the success of the CX-3. The CX-3 is starting to show its age, which is why it’s not as popular anymore. Still, there are few reasons to consider this Mazda. 

The CX-3 is fun to drive and efficient. Plus, it comes with impressive active safety features. However, the CX-3 is even smaller than the CX-30. The CX-3’s extra tight cabin is partly why CR gave it a low owner satisfaction score. 

The 2021 Honda HR-V is arguably the most sensible choice 

A blue 2021 Honda HR-V driving in the city
The 2021 Honda HR-V in action | Photo via Honda

Honda’s HR-V impresses with its strong history of dependability and efficiency. It also stands out for its functional storage space. But in a few ways, the 2021 HR-V is disappointing.

Like the CX-3, the HR-V has a lower owner satisfaction rating based on CR’s data. The HR-V’s sole 141-hp four-cylinder might leave you wishing for more power. We also don’t like that you have to upgrade this ride to get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.