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Top-Rated 2013 SUVs: Initial Quality

Top-Rated 2013 SUVs: Initial Quality

By Jeff Youngs, June 22, 2013
edit Every year for more than 25 years, J.D. Power has conducted an industry-standard study of vehicle buyers who have owned their new vehicle for at least 90 days. Called the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS),SM this study measures what has gone right and what has gone wrong with new vehicles during the first 3 months of ownership, establishing a long-standing benchmark for vehicle quality in terms of vehicle system breakdowns and malfunctions, as well as identifying vehicle systems that are difficult to understand and to use. Based on the results of the 2013 IQS, the five SUVs, listed in alphabetical order below, receive the top ratings. (See our separate guide highlighting the top-rated 2013 crossover SUVs.)

2013 Cadillac Escalade

Aside from adding five new colors to the paint chart, the 2013 Escalade is unchanged from the 2012 model. This full-size SUV offers 3 rows of seating for up to 8 passengers, and is powered by a choice between a 403-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine and a gas-electric hybrid powertrain that averages an EPA-rated 21 mpg in combined driving. An extended-length model with more interior space is called the Escalade ESV.

2013 Chevrolet Tahoe

A full-size traditional SUV with 8-passenger seating in 3 rows of seats, the 2013 Tahoe is equipped with standard powertrain grade braking this year. Tahoes come in LS, LT, LTZ, and Hybrid trim levels, with 2-wheel or 4-wheel drive. A 320-horsepower, 5.3-liter V-8 engine with gas-saving Active Fuel Management technology is standard, with a gas-electric hybrid powertrain optional. A Tahoe Hybrid averages 21 mpg in combined driving, according to the EPA.

2013 Lexus GX

A luxurious 7-passenger SUV, the Lexus GX 460 is designed for serious off-road travel, should the urge strike its driver. In addition to a 301-horsepower, 4.6-liter V-8 engine, the GX 460 is equipped with a full-time 4-wheel-drive system and a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that provides greater wheel articulation for rough terrain. Nicely equipped in standard specification, Lexus offers numerous upgrades for this luxury SUV. No changes are made to this model for the 2013 model year.

2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK

A compact SUV equipped with rear-wheel or 4-wheel drive, the 2013 GLK-Class receives several updates this year. In addition to revised exterior styling and an updated interior, new Mbrace2 telematics technology is standard. The GLK350 model is equipped with a new 302-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine with automatic start/stop technology, and a clean-diesel GLK250 model arrives with an EPA-rated 28 mpg in combined driving.

2013 Porsche Cayenne

Porsche expands the 2013 Cayenne lineup, adding new Diesel, GTS, and Turbo S variants, bringing the model count to seven. Designed to excel both on pavement and in the dirt, the Cayenne is a 5-seat SUV with standard all-wheel drive, and can be equipped with a choice between five different engines providing varying amounts of horsepower and torque. Porsche provides myriad ways to custom-tailor a Cayenne's appearance, and offers an extensive list of optional upgrades.

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