Shoppers can reasonably test-drive so many vehicles, and the compact SUV class is flooded with options. So, how can you choose which models you’d like to take for a spin? Well, you need to cut the fat. Thankfully, industry experts like Consumer Reports help buyers do this by providing insight into every new model.
Many compact SUVs excel at city driving, but some models don’t quite live up to expectations. This class of SUV is trendy, as it includes an array of affordable and fuel-efficient vehicles. However, not every model is a smart buy.
Consumer Reports found several brand-new compact SUVs that failed to deliver in significant categories. The publication gave only three models a score of less than 60/100 in its road test.
But does that mean you should scratch all of these vehicles off your wish list? Let’s look at what Consumer Reports had to say about the worst performers in the compact SUV segment.
2021 Mitsubishi Outlander (59/100 road test score)
Mitsubishi doesn’t have a sterling reputation in North America. Instead, the Japanese automaker built its brand on affordability and long warranties. This strategy helps vehicles like the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander stand out against more capable modes.
Additionally, the Outlander earned recognition as a ‘green’ family SUV due to its third row of seating and excellent fuel economy.
However, this compact SUV will leave many buyers disappointed. While it comes with an adequate assortment of technologies and safety systems, the Outlander delivers underwhelming driving dynamics.
Consumer Reports harshly criticized the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander’s handling ability. The publication stated, “The Outlander is reluctant to corner, requiring lots of steering-wheel twirling. And with copious body lean, it’s one of the clumsiest vehicles we’ve recently tested.”
2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (57/100 road test score)
Unsurprisingly, another Mitsubishi finishes toward the bottom of the list. This pint-sized SUV inherits the dull handling of its larger sibling while introducing a myriad of other issues.
Mitsubishi refreshed the Eclipse Cross for the 2022 model year, adding much-needed design enhancements. However, Consumer Reports found that the Eclipse Cross’ unique styling hinders side and rear visibility.
Shoppers still considering the 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross may want to upgrade to the SE trim, which includes blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. However, you could get a much better compact SUV for a similar price.
Additionally, Consumer Reports despised this compact SUV’s problematic infotainment system. The publication noted that it’s one of the worst systems it ever tested. Tiny text, unnecessary extra clicks, and a difficult-to-access touchscreen display were particular aspects of frustration.
2021 Jeep Compass (56/100 road test score)
This entry may surprise some automotive enthusiasts, as Jeeps are known for off-road capability. However, this particular model comes up short in just about every category Consumer Reports tested.
The 2021 Jeep Compass’ 180-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine takes an eternity to get up to speed. Unfortunately, this compact SUV doesn’t make up for its lack of power with stellar fuel economy. It gets 25 MPG city/highway combined, which is subpar for the class.
The publication noted a noisy cabin, bumpy ride quality, and stiff handling as particular low points. These downfalls led Consumer Reports to list the 2021 Jeep Compass at the bottom of its compact SUV rankings with an overall vehicle score of 39/100.
There really isn’t much to like about this Jeep. Consumer Reports praised its rugged styling and intuitive infotainment system. However, these attributes aren’t unique to the Compass. Other Jeep models, such as the Cherokee or Renegade, are similar in appearance and technology while offering a more refined ride.
Are any of these underperforming compact SUVs worth considering?
The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander is by no means an impressive compact SUV, but it could be an intriguing option for some buyers. Its low price, standard seven-passenger seating, and excellent warranty make it a thrifty buy for budget shoppers who don’t mind driving a lackluster vehicle.
However, there are better options on the market. For instance, the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage are more well-regarded and come with similar warranties, but you’ll have to sacrifice the third row of seating.