These 4 Midsize SUVs Aced Consumer Reports’ Road Test

You can research the features and specifications of every model on the market, but it’s tough to examine the quality of a car until you’re behind the wheel. For instance, there are plenty of reliable midsize SUVs, but which one is right for you? Thankfully, industry experts like Consumer Reports assist car buyers by providing detailed evaluations of what it’s like to drive the newest vehicles on the market.

Those in the market for a midsize SUV are faced with seemingly endless options – all of which are appealing. Consumer Reports’ road test sheds some light on which models excel over the rest of this crowded segment.

Only four midsize SUVs scored over a 90/100 in the publication’s testing for the 2021 model year. However, Consumer Reports was hesitant to recommend all of these models.

So, which vehicles fared well, and which ones are worth test-driving? Let’s look at the data to see which midsize SUVs perform best in daily driving situations.

2021 Kia Telluride (97/100 Road Test Score)

A black 2021 Kia Telluride midsize SUV parked next to a canyon
The 2021 Kia Telluride on display | Photo via Kia

It shouldn’t be any surprise that this heralded three-row SUV delivered a nearly flawless performance in the road test. After all, Consumer Reports gave the Telluride the best overall score among all 2021 vehicles.

The 2021 Kia Telluride isn’t necessarily a flashy vehicle that’ll blow your socks off. Instead, the publication stated that the midsize SUV does just about everything well. The Telluride delivers a smooth ride and provides ample space for your entire family. Plus, its 291-hp 3.8-liter V6 engine accomplishes the perfect balance of power and fuel-efficiency.

Meanwhile, its starting MSRP of $31,990 and its impressive predicted reliability score make it an attractive option for many shoppers.

2021 Chevy Traverse (95/100 Road Test Score)

A red 2021 Chevy Traverse midsize SUV driving down a city street
The 2021 Chevy Traverse in action | Photo via Chevrolet

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American manufacturers know how to make big, powerful SUVs, and the Chevy Traverse is no exception. 

Even with a potent 310-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine, the 2021 Chevy Traverse delivered a graceful performance in Consumer Reports’ testing. The publication stated that Chevrolet’s three-row SUV benefitted from a long wheelbase, providing a comfortable ride.

Consumer Reports also found the Traverse’s intuitive infotainment system and excellent visibility to be high points. However, a subpar predicted reliability score and a lackluster assortment of driver-assistance technologies tanked the Traverses overall vehicle score. Consumer Reports gave it a rating of just 69/100, and this midsize SUV wasn’t one of the publication’s recommended buys.

2021 Subaru Ascent (93/100 Road Test Score)

A white 2021 Subaru Ascent midsize SUV parked in a driveway next to a house
The 2021 Subaru Ascent on display | Photo via Subaru

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Once again, we’re met with an SUV that impresses on the road but isn’t recommended by Consumer Reports. Subaru’s largest vehicle offers the benefit of a standard all-wheel-drive system. This feature helps the 2021 Subaru Ascent deliver smooth, capable performance, despite its lack of a V6 engine.

Unlike the first two entries on this list, a 2.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine powers the Ascent. This midsize SUV isn’t necessarily underpowered, as it kicks out 260 hp. Plus, Subaru equipped it with an impressive suite of smart safety systems.

This seemingly fantastic SUV is awfully appealing, but you may want to consider other options. Consumer Reports gave the 2021 Subaru Ascent a low predicted reliability rating. This alarming attribute, leading to an overall vehicle score of 60/100.

2021 Subaru Outback (91/100 Road Test Score)

A bronze 2021 Subaru Outback midsize SUV driving down a country road
The 2021 Subaru Outback in action | Photo via Subaru

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Unlike the previous Subaru on this list, Consumer Reports gave the Outback its stamp of approval as a recommended buy. The 2021 Subaru Outback might be the most significant vehicle to achieve a top road test score, considering it is the only two-row SUV to pass the 90-point threshold. It’s also the most affordable model mentioned in this article, as it has a starting MSRP of $26,795.

The 2021 Subaru Outback also comes standard with an all-wheel-drive system. Buyers can also equip this midsize SUV with the same 260-hp turbocharged engine found in the Ascent. However, you must upgrade to the pricier Onyx XT or Limited XT trims to do so. The other models come standard with a fuel-efficient 182-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine.

Consumer Reports commended the Outback’s ruggedness and smooth ride. The publication pointed out its helpful integrated crossbars and stated that “The Outback has a solid feel, with a very comfortable ride that outshines some luxury SUVs.”

Additionally, the 2021 Subaru Outback earned a decent predicted reliability rating of 3/5. Thus, Consumer Reports felt comfortable giving it the second-highest overall vehicle score (86/100) in the class, behind the 2021 Kia Telluride (97/100.)