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Compact SUVs are more popular than ever. They have an easier step-in height than their midsize or large cousins, and due to a smaller engine, they have better fuel economy. But with so many to choose from, it’s hard to know what the best compact SUVs are.
Fortunately, the researchers at Consumer Reports have put the most popular models through their paces, and have made a list of the best compact SUVs on the market.
The best compact SUV accord to Consumer Reports is the Subaru Forester
The 2021 model year was an extremely crowded field for compact SUVs, with just about every major brand releasing one. Somewhat surprisingly, Consumer Reports (CR) has named the 2021 Subaru Forester best in class.
Why does CR rate The Forester so highly? Well first of all, it nailed the road test, scoring a near perfect 90/100. CRs also praised the Forester’s spaciousness, visibility, and fuel economy (a very respectable 28 mpg).
The Forester also benefited from good predicted reliability (4 out of 5), and the best score for owner satisfaction, with 79% of current owners saying they would buy one again.
Overall, the 2021 Subaru Forester received 89/100, putting it comfortably ahead of the competition.
According to CR’s rankings, the next best compact SUV is the 2021 Mazda CX-5. This sporty model received a good road test score of 78/100, but was criticised for having less-than-stellar visibility, a complex infotainment system, and less cargo space than other, similarly-sized vehicles.
The CX-5’s fuel economy (24 mg) is a bit worse than the Forester’s, but the Mazda received a better score for predicted reliability (5 out of 5). It also scored well for customer satisfaction, with 73% of owners saying they would buy one again. All of this combined for an overall score of 83/100.
Rounding out the top three is the 2021 Honda CR-V. While it outperformed the CX-5 on its road test, scoring an excellent 82/100, and has a better fuel economy (28 mpg), the CR-V is let down by its relatively poor customer satisfaction score. Only 69% of owners said they would buy one again.
At first glance, this is surprising, as the CR-V has been a consistently popular model since it was introduced to the North American market in 1997. But in recent years, CR-V drivers have complained about complicated controls and sluggish acceleration.
Truthfully, the Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, and Honda CR-V are all excellent choices. They are durable, comfortable, and spacious, with much better fuel economy than most other compact SUVs.