It takes quite a bit for a new vehicle to land a Consumer Reports recommendation. For starters, a model has to perform well in the road test and deliver the economy, speed, or utility buyers expect (depending on the segment).
Meanwhile, a car will also have to perform well in owner satisfaction and reliability surveys from previous buyers. If the vehicle can deliver on all of the above, Consumer Reports will recommend it. (Whenever possible, automakers will then boast about it.)
In the 2019 ratings, improved reliability scores for several utility models led to new recommendations from the testing agency. Here are the five SUVs that showed enough improvement to land that coveted hat-tip from the testing agency.
1. Volkswagen Tiguan
While the Volkswagen Atlas landed among the least reliable SUVs for 2019, the redesigned Tiguan landed an average rating for the coming year. Combined with a high road-test score and a prediction for high owner satisfaction, it got its recommendation from Consumer Reports.
Tiguan’s quiet cabin, responsive ride, standard safety features, and considerable space (for a compact SUV) did the heavy lifting. However, without the average reliability rating, it wouldn’t have been enough. Only some minor trouble with power equipment was reported by owners in this model’s debut year.
2. Nissan Armada
While there is not a great deal of data on the Nissan Armada since its 2004 debut, it launched in its redesign year (2017) with an average reliability rating. In 2019, this large SUV got standard forward-collision warning and emergency braking.
With Consumer Reports’ focus on safety, this update no doubt pushed Armada over the top and into the recommended category. It was the first such recognition for this model in its 16 years on the market.
3. Mazda CX-9
Sometimes, you’ll find Consumer Reports reverse a rating from one year to the next. That’s what happened in the case of the Mazda CX-9, which spent several years rated poorly for reliability. Owner surveys didn’t exactly bash this model, but it got the lowest score of any midsize SUV as recently as 2018.
For 2019, the consistently positive feedback for the CX-9 pushed its reliability score to above average. (Consumer Reports revised its 2018 rating as well.) With that improvement, CX-9’s solid road test and high owner satisfaction marks earned it the recommendation.
Overall, you might not find a better three-row SUV on the market in this price range.
4. Infiniti GX60
After three straight years of poor reliability (2014-16), the Infiniti QX60 made a comeback for 2017. Owners reported few problems in this model, which is based on the Pathfinder. As a result, it landed the top score that year and had above-average reliability predicted for 2019.
With this improvement, the QX60 notched its first Consumer Reports recommendation since debuting in 2014. Other strong points of this model include: advanced safety features, decent towing capacity, and flexible seating configurations for kids.
5. Chevrolet Suburban
Like the Mazda CX-9, the Chevrolet Suburban spent years rated poorly for reliability. Then a strong performance in 2018 led to a reconsideration for the upcoming year. This time around, Consumer Reports predicted average reliability.
Meanwhile, Suburban’s high owner satisfaction rating and strong road test made it a contender for 2019. Overall, Consumer Reports named it the top large SUV on the market. Looking back, you won’t find another time this model landed a recommendation.