Popular Midsized SUVs to Avoid and What to Buy Instead

Don't get stuck with a two- or three-row model you'll regret buying when there are better, more reliable ones

Family loading back of SUV Photo: Getty Images

When you see a popular midsized SUV around town, you might wonder why so many people chose that model and whether it’s really the best in that category to buy right now. But the popularity could be the result of factors that have little to do with quality, such as competitive discounts and advertising.

So what are the best midsized SUVs to buy? And what qualities do they have? We’ve compiled a list of popular models to avoid and two alternatives to each that our testing shows are among the best midsized SUVs.

Best & Worst SUVs and Cars

For this article we focus on models that are popular in their category, although they might not be the top sellers. Then we present two alternatives we think are among the best. We offer:

  • A better choice: A vehicle that also sells well but has a higher Overall Score.
  • An under-the-radar alternative: A better-scoring model that doesn’t sell as well, in case you don’t want to follow the crowd.

The better choices and under-the-radar alternatives are models recommended by Consumer Reports, meaning they scored well in our road tests, have good reliability, have key advanced safety equipment, and performed well in crash tests.

If you’re a CR member, this article and the list below are already available to you. But if you haven’t signed up, click below and become a member to access the list and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and appliances. Used-car shoppers can click through to the model pages for information on these vehicles from older model years.

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We investigate, research, and test so you can choose with confidence.