SUV Smart Buys That Don't Suffer From Deal-Breaking Flaws

The problems Consumer Reports found in other vehicles might make you regret your purchase

2020 Kia Telluride is an SUV smart buy

An SUV shopper can’t discover every flaw in a car during a brief test drive. Even if you were to take the vehicle home for a weekend, there are certain problems that become apparent only after living with it. Sometimes, the flaw isn’t noticeable until you bring along a passenger or two, run some errands, and travel on varying roads.

That’s why Consumer Reports auto experts drive each car, SUV, and truck for a lot of miles—2,000, in fact—before we even begin to test it. By doing this, we live with and use the cars in everyday situations, just like you do. Add our testers’ partners, spouses, and children into the mix, and each CR expert comes away with a unique take on what works and doesn’t work for him or her when driving and living with a vehicle.

After that, we use a jury of testers to evaluate every vehicle in more than 50 objective and subjective tests. The results are tabulated to create composite scores that are presented on the car model pages, where CR members can find our complete road tests and survey results.


Through this process we’ve identified four categories where there can be big, deal-breaking flaws that will make a buyer regret a purchase: how the controls work, visibility, rear-seat comfort, and cabin noise. These are things that can be easy to overlook on a test drive but become a true annoyance over time that could have been avoided.

To steer you in the right direction, we have identified the SUVs that perform best in each category, along with alternatives in rank order. We also note the SUVs with the worst performance in our evaluation.

The ratings for each vehicle and category can be compared on our model pages, which you can access through the links in the ratings boxes below.

Apple CarPlay
Apple CarPlay

Best Usability and Controls