In many ways buying a used SUV has more guideposts, strictly because there is a history. The history of the specific SUV is important, but we’re talking about the myriad of owner surveys and recalls and technical bulletins for a particular model. Those can help guide you to finding the SUV of your dreams with the least amount of problems. Hopefully.
We say hopefully because not every vehicle is created equal. They’re mass-produced, which helps. But sometimes there’s a rotten egg in the carton, and that is something no one has control over.
But for the most part, consumer groups like JD Power can offer a pretty good determination for which SUVs are reliable, and which ones are not. So we’ll lean on them, and also work in some of our own thoughts for those we have driven.
JD Power tracks over 80,000 specific vehicles over three years. It analyzes it and gives each model a quality and reliability rating. We’ll start at the bottom of the top list.
2016 Ford Expedition
The Expedition is Ford’s big SUV with an F-150 frame supporting it. The Expedition scored a 75 out of 100. The fuel economy may not be great, but you can’t knock its size. Expeditions are known for many years of use which usually means a lot of miles. In most cases, the fewer miles the better.
2016 Audi Q3
Audi’s small luxury crossover scored an 80. While Audi has a reliability problem at times, not so the Q3. It has an enviable track record of dependability. Some attribute this to it sharing many components with Volkswagen. Whether that’s the reason or not, you can depend on it handling and just feeling tight and right.
2016 VW Tiguan
This makes sense in some respects since both the Tiguan and Q3 share platforms including inner body structure. The Tiguan should be on your list for no other reason than VW has been able to squeeze a third seat row into it. It may not be as lively as the Q3, but it can handle more passengers. It scored an 83.
2016 Hyundai Santa Fe
If you’re starting to see a pattern it is that the midsize and smaller crossovers show fewer problems. Hyundai has been able to combine quality, comfortable interior, with satisfying dependability numbers. The price of used 2016 Santa Fe SUVs tends to be higher than contemporaries, confirming its overall good numbers. It scored an 85.
2016 BMW X3
You say you want to try a diesel? In 2016, the X3 offered both diesel and gas. These featured the stylish BMWs we long for, without the beaver fang grilles of today. They are brisk, with plenty of power and handling. While it’s no X3 M, it is one of the more sporting in this bunch. It scored an 87.
2016 Kia Soul
On the smaller side is the Kia Soul. Accused of looking like a toaster, it is simple and cheap. In other words, it is what it is. But along with the kooky looks comes a reliable, economic small SUV. Try it, you might be surprised. It scored an 88, tying the…
2016 Lexus GX460
Yes, the largest and smallest of our reliable SUVs are tied. With Lexus cred and decent size, the GX460 slots under the large LX600 in the Lexus lineup. Not cheap when new, prices have continued to remain high, especially in this seller’s atmosphere. Still, a low mileage example might be worth the few extra bucks.
2016 Chevy Equinox
Is this a surprise? It depends. The Equinox has been a solid seller for GM, so it has its fans. Could you be one as well? Scoring an impressive 93 out of 100, that number is nothing to dismiss. If you’re in the market for one of these used SUVs, keep the 2016 Equinox in mind. It may not be the sportiest, but that will or won’t matter depending on what you’re looking for.