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Most Reliable Subcompact SUVs [Ranked for 2021]

Most Reliable Subcompact SUV

Most Reliable Subcompact SUV

Subcompact SUVs are often a recent college grad’s commuter vehicle. When your paid vacation is five or ten days per year, you certainly don’t want to spend any of them taking your car in for repairs.

Reliability plays a big role in determining our list of the best SUVs.

Small SUVs are also great family vehicles. No parent wants to be phoning roadside assistance with two kids in the back of the vehicle. Let’s face it; Reliability is a top concern for small SUV owners.

Here are the best five small SUVs for reliability.

Check out our overall picks for the most reliable SUVs here >>

Read about how we rank our vehicles >>

Who Provided the Data for This List?

Where Data Comes From

Our list of the most reliable small SUVs leans on data from owners collected and tabulated by three trustworthy sources.

First, Consumer Reports. We average a few years of Consumer Reports scores for each individual model.

Next, the J.D. Power & Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). This study looks at the number of problems a brand’s three-year-old models have.

Finally, the CarComplaints tabulation of scary, high-likelihood problems that owners report on a given model.

Most Reliable Subcompact SUV Comparison

Model Consumer Reports Score
(Higher Is Better)
J.D. Power VDS Score
(Lower Is Better)
Lexus UX
5
81
Buick Encore
5
100
Hyundai Kona
5
101
Mazda CX-30
5
121
Honda HR-V
5
145

1. Lexus UX

Lexus UX Most Reliable Subcompact SUVThe Lexus UX may not win any enthusiast vehicle specification sheet comparisons, but we tested it and found it a joy to drive.

The UX has a mellow vibe and just relaxes its driver on the highway or in traffic. On a twisty mountain road, we found the UX comes alive nicely and can be tossed around corners.

The UX earns the top spot on the strength of its J.D. power VDS ranking of number one. Like every vehicle in our top five, it has earned perfect Consumer Reports Scores.

Current Lexus UX Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021LexusUX 2001.90%$389/month for 36 months, $2,999 due at signing11/1/2021
2022LexusUX 2002.49%11/1/2021

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Lexus deals here.

2. Buick Encore

Buick Encore Most Reliable Subcompact SUVWe have referred to Buick as GM’s import brand, and indeed, the Encore is imported.

However, maybe we should call Buick GM’s quality brand?

The Encore came in second because its J.D. Power VDS brand ranking is a solid fifth overall in the industry.

Current Buick Encore Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021BuickEncore$1,750 0.00%$129/month for 24 months, $3,579 due at signing11/1/2021

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Buick deals here.

3. Hyundai Kona

Hyundai Kona Most Reliable Subcompact SUVThe Hyundai Kona is a strong model in the small SUV segment. It’s available in many affordable trims, sporty trims, and very well-equipped trims for under $30K.

There is also a Kona battery-electric vehicle.

Hyundai has been rising in the reliability charts for years and earns a solid third place on our list.

Current Hyundai Kona Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021HyundaiKona$2,000 0.00%$179/month for 36 months, $2,299 due at signing11/1/2021

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Hyundai deals here.

4. Mazda CX-30

Mazda CX-30 Most Reliable Subcompact SUVWe’ve created many “Best of” lists, and when Mazda has a model that qualifies, our only question is, “Did the Mazda win?”.

It didn’t in this case, but fourth place on a list of the world’s most reliable small SUVs is still solid.

The Mazda CX-30 has a decent amount of interior space for its passengers, in the front and rear, considering its size as a subcompact SUV.

Current Mazda CX-30 Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021MazdaCX-300.90%$209/month for 36 months, $2,999 due at signing10/31/2021

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Mazda deals here.

5. Honda HR-V

Honda HR-V Most Reliable Subcompact SUVThere was a time when Honda and Toyota owned the reliability game. That may no longer be the case, but Honda’s fifth-place showing on our top five list reflects that heritage.

The HR-V is a remarkably roomy small SUV and it’s clear Honda worked its magic inside.

We look forward to more Honda cars, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks on our lists to follow.

Current Honda HR-V Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021HondaHR-V$1,000 0.00%11/1/2021
2022HondaHR-V0.00%$199/month for 36 months, $2,899 due at signing11/1/2021

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Honda deals here.

What Is the Most Reliable Subcompact SUV?

No vehicle segment has a tighter grouping of reliable vehicles than the subcompact SUV class. There are five that earn perfect Consumer Reports scores. However, the Lexus UX tops our list based on its brand reliability data. We’ve tested the UX, and we’d swear you can feel the quality when you drive it.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most reliable small crossover?

The Lexus UX scores earn a perfect 5/5 on Consumer Reports’ reliability scale, and Lexus is the top brand for reliability on J.D. Powers’ VDS listing. Other solid choices are the Buick Encore and the Hyundai Kona.

Which is more reliable, the Toyota C-HR or Lexus UX?

The Lexus UX and Toyota C-HR are similar in many ways. However, the UX is offered in an AWD trim and has higher reliability scores from both Consumer Reports and J.D. Power & Associates.

Are the BMW X1 and X2 reliable small SUVs?

The BMW X1 and X2 are very similar, and they both earn a solid ⅘ rating from Consumer Reports. BMW also has a higher than average J.D. Power VDS brand reliability score.

What brand is the most reliable for small SUVs?

There was a time when Honda and Toyota owned the reliability game. However, that is no longer the case. Popular brands like Lexus, Buick, and Hyundai make very reliable subcompact SUVs.