The compact SUV segment has grown in popularity in recent years, appealing to drivers who want a vehicle more spacious than a sedan but don’t require a large vehicle. Whether drivers are entering the SUV segment for the first time, or downsizing from a large or midsize SUV, there is a compact crossover to suit their vehicle needs.
As the segment has grown in popularity, there are now more compact SUVs to choose from.
To help buyers narrow down what seems like endless options in the SUV marketplace, iSeeCars has compiled a list of the best compact SUVs for long-term reliability. These SUVs are proven to be among the longest-lasting cars on the road, as determined by an analysis of 1.8 million vehicles to see which are most likely to exceed 200,000 miles.
1. Honda CR-ViSeeCars Reliability Score: 8.2
The small but mighty Honda CR-V earns the title as the most reliable compact SUV. It is one of the most spacious vehicles in its class, offering a cargo capacity that’s on par with larger midsize SUVs. It also provides excellent fuel economy, earning an estimated 28 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway for its front-wheel drive models. All-wheel drive fuel economy only decreases slightly at 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. It comes standard with a continuously variable automatic transmission and a 190-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. A suite of standard safety features are available, which include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keep assist.
A new Honda CR-V costs from $26,454 to $35,742 and a three-year-old used Honda CR-V costs from $19,465 to $28,237.
2. Jeep WrangleriSeeCars Reliability Score: 8.0
The Jeep Wrangler earns second place on the most reliable compact SUV list. With a standard 285-horsepower V6 base engine, the rugged Wrangler is known for its off-road capability and is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. While it lacks the comfort and cargo space of other compact SUVs, it makes up for it with its off-roading prowess and durability. Its popularity and durability help make it the top car for value retention, which further adds to its appeal. If you prioritize adventure over comfort, then the two or four-door Jeep Wrangler is the ideal compact SUV for your endeavors. A new Jeep Wrangler costs between $31,598 and $49,291, while a three-year-old used Jeep Wrangler costs between $27,081 and $40,975.
3. Subaru OutbackiSeeCars Reliability Score: 7.6
Another popular vehicle for outdoor enthusiasts is the Subaru Outback. Although the vehicle is technically classified as a wagon, the Subaru Outback comes standard with all-wheel drive and has the same cargo area and overall size of a compact SUV. The Outback’s ambiguity as a wagon-like SUV provides drivers with the best of both worlds by offering the smooth driving dynamics of a car and the utility of an SUV. It comes standard with a suite of safety features, including rear-seat reminder, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and steering-responsive automatic headlights. A new Subaru Outback costs between $28,751 and $41,872 and a three-year-old Subaru Outback for sale costs between $18,908 and $28,998.
4. Subaru ForesteriSeeCars Reliability Score: 6.3
A second Subaru, the Subaru Forester is the fourth-most reliable compact SUV. It is among the most spacious in its class, offering 31.1 cubic feet of cargo space and 76.1 cubic feet after folding down the rear seats. It also provides comfortable seating for five passengers with ample head and leg room. Like all Subarus, and unlike most SUVs, it comes standard with AWD and has above-average fuel economy for the class. The Forester also comes with the same standard safety features as the Outback, including rear-seat reminder, automatic emergency braking, and steering-responsive automatic headlights. A new Subaru Forester costs between $26,684 and $36,894 and a three-year-old Subaru Forester for sale costs between $17,947 and $27,483.
5. Ford EscapeiSeeCars Reliability Score: 5.3
The Ford Escape ranks fifth. The Escape rides comfortably and offers above-average passenger and cargo space for its class. The Escape comes with two turbo engine options: a standard 1.5-liter three-cylinder with 181 horsepower and a 2.0-liter four cylinder with 250 horsepower on higher trim levels. The base engine delivers above-average fuel economy and comes with standard safety features including blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning, automatic high-beam headlights, and automatic emergency braking. A new Ford Escape costs between $20,992 and $35,593 and a three-year-old Ford Escape for sale costs between $13,980 and $22,898
6. Toyota RAV4iSeeCars Reliability Score: 5.2
The Toyota RAV4, which is the best-selling compact SUV in the United States, ranks sixth. The RAV4 has an upscale interior that offers above-average passenger and cargo space for the compact crossover SUV segment. It was fully redesigned for the 2019 model year, with a stronger powertrain as well as updated interior and exterior styling. The RAV4 offers more standard features than its competitors, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and pedestrian detection. The RAV4 has one engine choice, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes it one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class. For drivers who want even more fuel-efficiency, a hybrid and plug-in hybrid are also available. A new Toyota RAV4 costs between $26,086 and $37,148, and a three-year-old used Toyota RAV4 costs between $17,777 and $25,999,
Bottom Line:There are many small crossovers to choose from, but these compact SUVs have proven to go the distance for their owners and are the best SUVs for reliability. It's worth noting that compact SUVs generally don’t log as many miles as their larger midsize and full-size counterparts, which is why their reliability scores are lower. Additionally, newer compact SUV models like the Nissan Rogue and the Volkswagen Tiguan haven’t been on the market for long enough to regularly amass the 200,000-mile mark. Compact SUVs provide more room than subcompact SUVs , making them practical family vehicles that have just enough space and are more affordable than larger midsize and large SUVs.
Check out our other helpful SUV buying guides:
- Best Midsize SUVs
- Best Small and Compact SUVs
- Most Reliable Luxury SUVs
- Most Reliable SUVs with a Third Row
- Best Used SUVs under $20,000
- Best Used SUVs under $15,000
- Best Used SUVs under $10,000