Most Reliable SUVs for 2021
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Most Reliable SUVs for 2021

By Autolist Editorial | March 31, 2021

If you are planning on expanding your family or simply looking for a vehicle that can handle extra luggage or cargo and reconfigure easily at a moment's notice, a reliable sport utility vehicle (SUV), should be at the top of your list. It has all the bells and whistles of a modern car and may grant you some off-roading fun. The best part is that you do not need a minivan just for the extra seats. That means you can be a soccer parent with a touch of automotive style.

An SUV is a class of automobile that entered the scene to provide more enclosed space for its passengers with the versatility of a pickup truck. Through the decades, SUVs have become increasingly popular and are now one of the most dominant automotive choices available.

With its increase in popularity and varying vehicle options and brands to choose from, you may feel a little overwhelmed in settling on which SUV is right for you. To help you narrow down your search, we have compiled a list of the most reliable SUVs for 2021.


Toyota Land Cruiser

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Engineered to have a 25-year service life, the Toyota Land Cruiser will definitely give you many miles for the dollars paid. Its legendary status made it a must-have vehicle to be used by armies and peacekeeping forces worldwide. While you may not be fighting a battle behind the wheel of one, it will definitely make life easier for you with three rows of seats that can accommodate up to eight passengers.

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The 2021 Land Cruiser is a luxury SUV with a good predicted reliability rating and great off-roading capability; however, it is still outclassed by its sibling in the brand's SUV lineup; the Toyota 4Runner. The Land Cruiser has also not seen a redesign in over a decade and struggles to compete against other large SUVs in its class like the BMW X7. But, do not let that deter you because it comes in strong with its long list of standard features and its brawny V8 engine.

This reliable SUV is equipped with a 5.7-liter V8 engine that is not shy to produce 381 horsepower. An eight-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel-drive, and all-terrain tires are included as standard features.

Browse Toyota Land Cruiser listings here.


Chevrolet Suburban

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The 2021 Chevrolet Suburban has been completely redesigned. This large SUV is big in just about every way. It offers roomy seating space for up to nine passengers and boasts larger cargo space than just about any other SUV on the market. Keeping up with all things big in the Suburban is a 10.2-inch touchscreen, which is easy to use.

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The 2021 Suburban has three engine options available, all of which are mated with a ten-speed automatic transmission. Rear-wheel drive is standard across the lineup; however, you can opt for four-wheel-drive. The standard model features a 5.3-liter V8 engine that is pretty fuel-efficient for a large SUV earning an EPA-rated 16/20 mpg city/highway.

This large SUV may not be the best off-road choice; however, it does have impressive driving dynamics, responsive steering, and a towing capacity of up to 8,300 pounds. Its sibling amongst reliable SUVs, the 2021 Chevrolet Equinox, may be rated by J.D. Power as a top choice, but it can only tow up to 3,500 pounds.

Browse Chevrolet Suburban listings here.


Ford Expedition

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The Ford Expedition is one of the most reliable SUVs for 2021, with its performance scoring higher than some of the best in its class. The 2021 Expedition has a twin-turbo V6 engine that boasts all-American muscle and holds well against rival V8 engines, and despite its large size, it has composed handling.

Available as a two- or three-row SUV, the seating and cabin area are spacious. The cargo space is equally impressive, with the extended-wheelbase (the Expedition Max) offering 121.5 cubic-feet.

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The 2021 Ford Expedition is a great buy with its competitive fuel economy for such a large SUV. The rear-wheel-drive earns an EPA-estimated 17/23 mpg city/highway. If you choose the four-wheel-drive option, then you can expect the fuel efficiency to drop slightly.

If safety features are at the top of your list when choosing your SUV, then the Expedition is a great choice with its overall safety rating of five out of five stars, given by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Browse Ford Expedition listings here.


Honda CR-V

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If a large SUV is more than you are looking for, then the Honda CR-V is an excellent compact SUV that offers the best combination of value and quality in its class. Many automotive journalists favor the 2021 model year because of its large cargo and passenger space and its high-reliability score, making it one of the most reliable SUVs in its class.

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The CR-V's performance is well-rounded and competes well against its crossover rivals, like the Toyota RAV4. While the RAV4 may have a better infotainment system, the CR-V has swifter and smoother acceleration, more cargo space, and a better-predicted reliability rating.

This SUV may be compact and available in only one powertrain setup for 2021, but overall its performance is still competitive. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine provides 190-horsepower, and there is more than enough acceleration to get you moving quickly from a complete stop. The excellent fuel economy returns 28/34 mpg city/highway for the standard front-wheel-drive SUV.

Browse Honda CR-V listings here.


Kia Sorento

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The Kia Sorento is a highly reliable midsize SUV and is worth considering because it does just about everything right. The Sorento offers a balanced and comfortable ride, loads of space for passengers to stretch out in, and it has an above-average predicted reliability rating.

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The 2021 model year is fully redesigned with new powertrain options and more standard features. Two engines are available. The base model has a front-wheel-drive, naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine with 191-horsepower output, but if you want a more energetic driving experience, then you can opt for the turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an output of 281-horsepower.

Against other SUVs from the Kia brand, the Sorento quickly overtakes the Kia Sportage with more seating, including a comfortable third-row and a lot more horsepower and cargo space. The Toyota Highlander is another rival that falls close behind the Sorento. Still, the Sorento is cheaper, has more upscaled interior styling, handles better, and has excellent fuel efficiency across its lineup.

Browse Kia Sorento listings here.


Hyundai Tucson

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The Hyundai Tucson is a compact SUV that can comfortably seat up to five passengers in its nicely contoured seats and has a decent amount of cargo space. It makes its way onto our list of most reliable SUVs for 2021 with its above-average predicted reliability rating and its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty that adds value to even the used SUVs of previous model years.

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This two-row SUV is offered with two engine options for 2021, namely a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with an output of 161-horsepower and a larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder that adds on 20-horsepower. Front-wheel drive is a standard feature, but there is the option of all-wheel drive.

The Tucson gets some critique for its plain interior styling, but the overall material quality is still on par with many of its rivals, such as the Acura RDX. However, the Tucson does make up for it with its easy-to-use infotainment system and its wide selection of standard safety and tech features. It also stands out as one of the most comfortable crossovers in its class.

Browse Hyundai Tucson listings here.


Lexus RX 350

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The Lexus RX 350 is a luxury midsize SUV that features a third-row of seats and a passenger capacity of up to seven occupants. Its well-rounded performance is met with a great predicted reliability rating and excellent overall quality.

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The 2021 RX 350 is powered by a robust 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 295-horsepower and no slouch off the line when it comes to acceleration. The Acura MDX shares a similar V6 engine, however, this rival falls behind the Lexus since the RX 350 has a higher reliability score and better interior styling.

If fuel economy is what you are targeting in a reliable SUV, then you will be pleased with the 2021 RX 350, which returns an above-average fuel economy for a midsize SUV. The RX 350 has an EPA-estimated 20/27 mpg city/highway, with the all-wheel-drive model getting slightly less. Despite having a closely matched engine to its competitor, the Mercedes-Benz GLE 350, it still gets better fuel efficiency for a luxury SUV.

Browse Lexus RX 350 listings here.


Subaru Crosstrek

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According to consumer reports, the 2020 Subaru Crosstrek was one of the most reliable new cars to purchase under $30,000 in 2020. While the 2021 model year is available, the reliability rating is not as impressive as the 2020 model year; we would opt for a used SUV from 2020 instead.

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If you are looking for a spacious subcompact SUV that delivers a smooth ride, a user-friendly infotainment system, and loads of cargo space, then the Subaru Crosstrek will not disappoint. The two-row SUV competes closely with the Mazda CX-3. While the Mazda offers a more athletic performance, the Subaru offers more passenger and cargo space and all-wheel drive.

Many rivals in the compact SUV class offer greater performance, but the Crosstrek has decent fuel economy ratings that keep it in line with its competitors' fuel efficiency. The 2020 Crosstrek features a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that provides 152-horsepower, but when mated with the CVT setup, it gets an EPA-estimate of 27/33 mpg city/highway.

Browse Subaru Crosstrek listings here.


Buick Envision

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The 2021 Buick Envision is a luxury compact SUV that outperforms in every measure and definitely earns its spot on our list of the most reliable SUVs. The 2021 Envision is also featured on J.D. Powers 2021 top-rated SUVs list and competes with heavy hitters from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi as it finds its place in the Luxury SUV class.

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The 2021 model year was completely redesigned and features a modern 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that provides 228-horsepower and is available with intelligent All-Wheel Drive with an active twin-clutch. The excellent performance is matched with the Buick Driver Confidence Plus, which is a standard suite of nine advanced safety and driver-assistance technologies. Some of these standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist, and side blind zone alert.

This midsize SUV can comfortably seat up to five passengers and has a maximum cargo capacity of 52.7 cubic feet. Compared to its competitors, it has low pricing and high dependability as it ranks alongside the Porsche Cayenne, Nissan Murano, and Toyota Highlander.

Browse Buick Envision listings here.


Mazda CX-5

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Impressive safety scores, good reliability ratings, sporty handling, and a refined interior come together in the compact SUV Mazda CX-5. It is probably one of the most fun crossover SUVs to drive, and even its standard engine delivers enough performance.

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The 2021 Mazda CX-5 comes standard with a four-cylinder engine that offers 187-horsepower. The six-speed automatic transmission helps you accelerate quickly from a stop and provides a smooth shifting experience. If that is not fast enough for you, then there is the option of the turbocharged four-cylinder engine that can provide up to 250-horsepower.

You may find yourself torn between choosing the Mazda CX-5 or the Mazda CX-30 since both these SUVs offer the same standard and optional engines and similar fuel economy estimates. The tie-breaker will come down to pricing, space, and features. The Mazda CX-5 is slightly more expensive; however, it has 10 extra cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, a larger infotainment system, and additional features that are exclusive to the model, such as Nappa leather upholstery.

Browse Mazda CX-5 listings here.