These 2021 Luxury Compact SUVs Are Middle of the Pack Says Consumer Reports

The compact luxury SUV class has grown tremendously over the last few years. For 2021, Lexus earns praise for having the most reliable small luxury SUV, and Audi has made some impressive updates to its product lineup. Then there a few models that are mid-ranking. 

We’ve made a list of the small luxury SUVs that fall toward the middle of the pack by Consumer Reports standards. CR doesn’t officially recommend any of the models on this list. However, these SUVs still have a few things going for them. 

The 2021 BMW X3 excelled in CR’s road test score 

A blue 2021 BMW X3 at sunset.
2021 BMW X3 | BMW

As you shop around, you’ll see that the BMW X3 is at the top of many respected critics’ lists. It’s one of BMW’s best-selling models too. The X3 shines for being one of the most affordable BMW SUVs you can buy new, and it doesn’t comprise the German carmaker’s signature performance experience. But like the rest of the models listed, the X3 received a two out of five for predicted reliability. 

The X3’s below-average reliability score brought down its overall ranking. Nevertheless, the X3 dazzled CR during its road test; it got a 92 out of 100. The org commended the X3 for its agile handling, smooth powertrain, and posh interior. Furthermore, these qualities are what 2020 X3 owners are happiest about too. Some owners did share that the SUV’s in-car electronics could be problematic. It’s also worth mentioning that there are 10 NHTSA safety recalls on the 2020 model. 

The 2021 Acura RDX impresses and disappoints in a few areas

A red Acura RDX parked curbside.
2021 Acura RDX| Acura

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Last year, U.S. News rated the 2020 RDX as the best luxury compact SUV. Reviewers at U.S. News raved about the RDX’s responsive driving dynamics, refined cabin, and standard active safety features. These are the same reasons why CR celebrates the new 2021 model also. The 2021 RDX has a road test score of 82. 

At the same time, CR didn’t mince words about where the RDX disappoints. The team wasn’t thrilled with the SUV’s real-world fuel economy rating of 22 overall, and it’s tricky controls. And unfortunately, the RDX falls short of the above-average reliability ratings that its mainstream cousin, the CR-V, gets. CR’s recent owner subscriber survey shows that owners have had the most issues with the RDX’s brakes and in-car electronics. 

The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLB is a ‘rare find’

a red merceds-benz gab 250 is a good SUV if you want fuel economy
2020 Mercedes-Benz GLB 250 SUV | Merceds-Benz

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CR recognizes the GLB as Mercedes’ most functional compact luxury SUV, which is rare. The GLB was all-new for 2020 and impressed with its family-friendliness. Additionally, the GLB is a worthy choice for city-dwellers because of its versatile cabin and good fuel economy ratings.

Since the GLB is a newer model, CR could not get detailed data from owners about their experiences with the SUV. That said, CR gave this SUV a low score based on Mercedes’ recent track record. Mercedes was toward the bottom of CR’s most reliable 2020 car brands with a 40 overall for predicted reliability.