2018 Vehicle Dependability Study:Most Dependable Small SUVs

Christian Wardlaw | Feb 14, 2018

Each year, by surveying thousands of original owners of three-year-old vehicles, J.D. Power asks what has gone right and what has gone wrong with mosts makes and models sold 36 months prior to fielding the survey. After collecting and analyzing the data, the company reports its findings in the annual Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS).

Consumers find this information useful, too, so J.D. Power summarizes the study’s findings as Power Circle Ratings. Car shoppers can use these visual representations that forecast vehicle dependability to help them make more informed decisions when selecting a used car, SUV, truck, or minivan.

2015 Hyundai Tucson photoListed below in alphabetical order are the Most Dependable Small SUVs sold during the 2015 model year. Each one receives a Power Circle Rating of 4 or 5 out of a possible 5 for vehicle dependability after three years of ownership.

2015 Chevrolet Equinox

Larger than most compact SUVs but smaller than most midsize SUVs, the Chevrolet Equinox falls somewhere between those traditional size definitions, helping to make it a popular choice. Also, according to J.D. Power data, the Equinox is quite dependable. Most versions of the SUV come with a 4-cylinder engine, but a powerful V6 engine was available as an option. For 2015, Chevrolet added a standard 4G LTE Wi-Fi connection to the Equinox.

The 2015 Chevrolet Equinox receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5, and receives an award in the Compact SUV category.

2015 Chevrolet Trax

To capitalize on consumer preferences for crossover SUVs, Chevrolet debuted the subcompact Trax for the 2015 model year. Sharing a platform and powertrain with the successful Buick Encore, the Trax was less expensive and, accordingly, came with less equipment. A turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine powered the front wheels, and all-wheel drive was an option. Folding the back seat expanded cargo capacity from 18.7 cubic feet to 48.4 cu.-ft.

The 2015 Chevrolet Trax receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 4 out of 5.

2015 Ford Escape

Ford’s compact crossover SUV, the Escape, is available in three trim levels with three different engines, including a couple of turbocharged 4-cylinder power plants. As a result, and when taking into account optional features, the Escape lineup runs the gamut from basic to almost luxurious. For 2015, Ford made few changes to the Escape, aside from making a turbocharged engine standard for the mid-grade SE trim and debuting a new chrome package.

The 2015 Ford Escape receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 4 out of 5.

2015 GMC Terrain

Mechanically, the GMC Terrain and the Chevrolet Equinox are one and the same, so it comes as no surprise to find the former on this list of the most dependable small SUVs. The difference rests with exterior styling, where GMC goes with a bolder and boxier design that appeals to a different type of buyer. As was true of the Chevy in 2015, the GMC Terrain received no changes aside from a new 4G LTE Wi-Fi connection.

The 2015 GMC Terrain receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 4 out of 5.

2015 Hyundai Tucson

A compact SUV measuring on the small side of its competitive set, the Hyundai Tucson is offered in three different trim levels with a choice between two 4-cylinder engines. All-wheel drive is an option. Hyundai also sells a fuel-cell-powered version of the Tucson, but it is available only in selected parts of California. For 2015, the Tucson’s last before a complete redesign, the base GLS trim became available with a new Popular Equipment Package.

The 2015 Hyundai Tucson receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 5 out of 5, and receives an award in the Small SUV category.

2015 Kia Sportage

Though the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson share related engineering, the Sportage is offered with more powerful engines, including a turbocharged 2.0-liter cranking out 260 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque. Sportage trim levels include LX, EX, and SX, and all-wheel drive is available. For 2015, the turbocharged Sportage SX added numerous standard features. 

The 2015 Kia Sportage receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 4 out of 5.

2015 Nissan Rogue

Two versions of the Nissan Rogue were sold in 2015. The standard Rogue was redesigned for 2014, larger than ever and available with a third-row seat, a rarity in the small SUV segment. The lower-priced Rogue Select was basically a continuation of the previous-generation Rogue, offered at a lower and more appealing price. For the 2015 model year, Nissan modified the Rogue in order to earn better federal government crash-test ratings, and added a new Eco driving mode to improve fuel economy.

The 2015 Nissan Rogue receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 4 out of 5.

2015 Volkswagen Tiguan

Equipped with lots of rear seat room but not much cargo space, the Volkswagen Tiguan is like a tall, overweight Volkswagen Golf, infused with quality materials and Germanic driving dynamics. That, however, comes at a price. So, for 2015, Volkswagen aimed to rectify the value equation by adding more standard equipment. Four trim levels were available, all powered by a terrific turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine.

The 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan receives a Vehicle Dependability Power Circle Rating of 4 out of 5.

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