Consumer Reports recently released its predictions of short-term reliability for sport-utility vehicles. The predictions are based on the infrequency of serious problems within the most-recent 3 or fewer model years, depending on the availability of data. This article lists the Top 5 and Bottom 10 by CR’s predicted reliability in each of the categories Small SUVs, Midsize SUVs, Luxury SUVs, and Large SUVs.
The Top 5 Small SUVs of 2011 by CR’s predicted short-term reliability are:
V6 Toyota RAV4
4-cylinder Toyota RAV4
Non-turbo Subaru Forester.
The Honda CR-V and the 4-cylinder RAV4 have an excellent 2010 long-term reliability history as well. The CR-V has Consumer Reports highest reliability rating (Much Better Than Average) for 8 of the 2000 to 2009 model years and its second highest rating (Better Than Average) for the remaining two model years. The 4-cylinder RAV4 has CR’s highest rating for 9 of the model years and its second highest rating for the remaining model year.
The Top 5 Midsize SUVs of 2011 are:
Toyota FJ Cruiser
4-cylinder Toyota Highlander
V6 Toyota Highlander
V6 Hyundai Santa Fe
Of these 5, the V6 Toyota Highlander has an excellent long-term reliability history. For the model years 2000 to 2009, it has CR’s highest rating for 9 of the model years and its second highest rating for the remaining model year.
The Top 5 Luxury SUVs of 2011 are:
The Lexus RX and the Lexus LX have excellent long-term reliability ratings as well. For 2010, the RX has CR’s highest reliability rating for 9 of the ten most recent model years and its second highest rating for the remaining model year. The large made-in-Japan Lexus LX has CR’s highest rating for 8 of its 9-year data history and its second highest rating for the remaining year.
The Acura MDX has a less notable history, with a Much-Better-Than-Average rating for only 3 of the model years and a Better-Than-Average rating for the remaining 6 model years.
The Top 5 Large SUVs are:
Ecoboost Ford Flex
Front-wheel-drive Chevrolet Traverse
Chevrolet Suburban 2500
Yukon XL 2500.
The Ecoboost rating is based on only one model year of data. The Toyota Sequoia has only a mediocre long-term reliability, although it has a notable 2011 reliability rating. The 2011 rating of the Traverse, Suburban, and XL are rather mediocre. It may be best to avoid this group entirely, unless the price of a luxury sport-utility vehicle is prohibitive or vehicular dimensions force a purchase.
The Bottom 10 (11 by tie) Small SUVs by 2011 predicted short-term reliability, in ascending order (worst first), are:
4-cylinder, all-wheel-drive Mazda Tribute
4-cylinder, all-wheel-drive Ford Escape
V6, all-wheel-drive Mazda Tribute
V6, all-wheel-drive Ford Escape
V6, front-wheel-drive Mazda Tribute
V6, front-wheel-drive Ford Escape
4-cylinder, front-wheel-drive Mazda Tribute
4-cylinder, front-wheel-drive Ford Escape.
The Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty have fared poorly in avoiding reported serious problems. For model years 2007 and 2008 (the only two offering reliability ratings in 2010), the Nitro had one Much-Worse-Than-Average rating and one Worse-Than-Average rating. For the Jeep Liberty’s four most-recent model years, two of the 2010 reliability ratings were Much Worse Than Average and two were Worse Than Average.
The Bottom 10 Midsize SUVs, with worst first, are:
4-door Jeep Wrangler
4-cylinder GMC Terrain
V6 GMC Terrain
Turbo Mazda CX-7
2-door Jeep Wrangler
V6 Chevrolet Equinox
V6 Kia Sorento.
Notable for poor 2010 longer-term reliability ratings are the Chevrolet Equinox and Kia Sorento. The Equinox has 3 Much-Worse-Than-Average or Worse-Than-Average ratings out of its 5-year data history and the Sorento has 4 such out of its 6-year data history.
The Bottom 10 Luxury SUVs, with worst first, are:
Turbo-diesel Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
6-cylinder BMW X5
Turbo-diesel BMW X5
V8 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
All-wheel-drive Buick Enclave
V6 Mercedes-Benz M-Class
The V8 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class has below average reliability ratings for both model years of its 2-year 2010 data history, the 6-cylinder BMW X5 has below average ratings for 7 of its 9-year reliability history, and the all-wheel-drive Buick Enclave has one below average rating in its 2-year data history. The Lexus GX has one below average rating, but the remaining 5 ratings are above average and one is Much-Better-Than-Average. Consequently, as one descends on this list, longer-term reliability seems to improve with predicted short-term reliability.
The Bottom 10 Large SUVs, with worst first, are:
GMC Yukon Hybrid
Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
Front-wheel-drive GMC Acadia
All-wheel-drive GMC Acadia
All-wheel-drive Ford Flex
GMC Yukon XL 1500
Chevrolet Suburban 1500.
Consumer Reports’ reliability ratings are widely respected and followed by North American consumers seeking high quality products. h a low probability of serious problems.