2019 Vehicle Dependability:Most Dependable Small SUVs

Christian Wardlaw | Feb 25, 2019

On an annual basis, thousands of original owners of small SUVs tell J.D. Power what’s gone right and what’s gone wrong with their vehicles during the prior 12 months of ownership. The vehicles are three model years old, and the company collects and analyzes the data, publishing the findings in the annual J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS).SM

To help consumers make smarter decisions about which small SUV to buy, and based on the data it has gathered in the VDS, J.D. Power creates an overall dependability rating based on a 10-point scale. This allows people who are shopping for a vehicle to easily understand how it performed in terms of dependability, and to compare vehicles to one another.

2016 Chevrolet Equinox photo
2016 Chevrolet Equinox

This guide contains the most dependable small SUVs originally sold for the 2016 model year. Each one receives an overall score of 9 or 10 out of 10, making them among the most dependable models in their segment. Each one is listed in alphabetical order, and those models receiving an award in the VDS are clearly identified.

2016 Buick Encore

A small crossover SUV with big aspirations, the Buick Encore is an upscale yet affordable model offering consumers much of what they seek in a vehicle like this, but in a bite-sized package.

Every Encore is equipped with a turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, and for 2016 a new Sport Touring trim came along that increased output from 138 horsepower to 153 hp. Otherwise, the Encore saw no significant changes.

The 2016 Buick Encore receives a Vehicle Dependability score of 9 out of 10.

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2016 Chevrolet Equinox

Equipped with lots of room for people but not necessarily cargo, the 2016 Chevrolet Equinox received a minor update to keep the 5-passenger crossover SUV fresh until a redesign arrived for 2018. In addition to minor styling and interior updates, the 2016 Equinox offered improved infotainment and safety technologies.

Otherwise, it continued as it had since 2010. Most versions had an underwhelming 4-cylinder engine, but some came with a robust V6 producing more than 300 hp. All-wheel drive was an option on all trims, which included L, LS, LT, and LTZ.

The 2016 Chevrolet Equinox receives a Vehicle Dependability score of 10 out of 10, and receives an award in the Compact SUV category.

2016 Ford Escape

A popular compact crossover SUV, the Ford Escape blends European styling and driving dynamics with the kind of practicality Americans seek in a vehicle. Offered in S, SE, and Titanium trim, and with a choice between three different engines powering the front or all four wheels, the 2016 Escape met a variety of budgets and equipment needs.

At the time it was new, a major freshening was on the Escape’s horizon, arriving for the 2017 model year. Nevertheless, the 2016 Escape gained an important new feature: a much-improved Sync 3 infotainment system.

The 2016 Ford Escape receives a Vehicle Dependability score of 10 out of 10.

2016 GMC Terrain

One of the larger vehicles in its segment in terms of interior room, but not quite as commodious as some competitors when it comes to cargo space, the GMC Terrain shares its platform and powertrains with the Chevrolet Equinox, but has geometric styling that gives it a tough, rugged look.

Like its cousin from Chevy, the 2016 Terrain received minor styling updates, new safety systems, and other changes designed to breathe extra life into the compact crossover until a redesigned version would arrive for 2018.

The 2016 GMC Terrain receives a Vehicle Dependability score of 10 out of 10.

2016 Honda CR-V

One of the most popular compact crossover SUVs on the market, the Honda CR-V enjoys a long-standing reputation for delivering a compelling blend of size, safety, efficiency, and dependability. The 2016 CR-V is no different.

In advance of a complete redesign for 2017, the 2016 CR-V saw no changes other than the addition of an affordable Special Edition trim that installed desirable features on the LX trim, such as dark tinted rear glass and aluminum wheels.

The 2016 Honda CR-V receives a Vehicle Dependability score of 9 out of 10.

2016 Kia Sportage

Kia’s compact crossover SUV has always delivered style and, with its available turbocharged engine, performance. Based on the results of the 2019 VDS, you can add dependability to the list, too.

In 2016, the Sportage was in its final year before a complete redesign. Therefore, Kia made only minor changes to the SUV’s equipment levels. It remained available in LX, EX, and sporty SX trim, the latter supplying an impressive 260 hp and 269 lb.-ft. of torque.

The 2016 Kia Sportage receives a Vehicle Dependability score of 9 out of 10.

2016 Subaru Forester

Safe, sturdy, and substantive, the Subaru Forester boasts a loyal owner base that appreciates its practical utility, standard AWD, generous 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and record for reliability. And those loyal owners have been talking, because Subaru continues to grow Forester sales even today.

In 2016, the only changes Subaru made were upgrades to the infotainment systems. Otherwise, it continued with a 2.5-liter 4-cylinder or a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, the latter installed in the “XT” versions of the SUV. Base, Premium, Limited, and Touring trim levels were available that year.

The 2016 Subaru Forester receives a Vehicle Dependability score of 9 out of 10.

2016 Toyota RAV4

One of the original crossover SUVs to come to America, 20 years after its debut the 2016 Toyota RAV4 continues to set standards through its roomy and useful interior, big cargo area, impressive safety ratings, and legendary dependability.

Toyota made a couple of significant changes to the 2016 RAV4. First, a new suite of safety systems ensured top ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Second, a sporty SE trim level debuted. Third, a more efficient RAV4 Hybrid became available.

The 2016 Toyota RAV4 receives a Vehicle Dependability score of 9 out of 10.

2016 Volkswagen Tiguan

This one is for people who like to drive. Thanks to German engineering and a rabblerousing turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, the 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan was fun and, as it turns out, dependable. Cargo room, however, was quite cramped.

For 2016, Volkswagen added more standard equipment, lowered prices, and made the sporty R-Line trim more affordable. The trunk, however, remained significantly small.

The 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan receives a Vehicle Dependability score of 9 out of 10, and receives an award in the Small SUV category.


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