Popular Midsized SUVs to Avoid and What to Buy Instead

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

2020 Kia Telluride third-row seat.
2020 Kia Telluride third-row seat.

When you see a popular midsized SUV driving around your town, you may wonder why so many people choose that model. Maybe it's because all the driver's friends have one, so it must be good. Or perhaps it's because the model is safe and reliable.

It could also just be a matter of pricing, but often, those attractive two- or three-row SUVs aren't great vehicles, so the automaker has to use rebates, low-interest financing, and compelling discounts just to sell them. 

To help you make a wise shopping choice instead of settling on a mediocre vehicle that's likely to disappoint you, we've compiled a list of winning SUVs and ones to stay away from. All the vehicles we highlight below sell well, so there’s a variety of models on dealer lots to choose from. Some of them are even discounted. 

Best & Worst SUVs and Cars

We focus on models that are popular in their category, although they may not be the top sellers. Then we present two alternatives:

  • A better choice: Another vehicle that 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’ve 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 this 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.

Sign up for CR’s Cars email newsletter to be notified when we post our latest road tests. If you’re a used-car shopper, you can click through to the model pages for information on these vehicles from older model years.

Popular Midsized Two-Row SUV to Avoid