Philly Murtha | Aug 01, 2019


Small SUVs that sit higher on the road and offer more interior and cargo space than sedans, are among the most popular vehicles in the U.S. market, including for female drivers and younger families. New-vehicle quality is an important consideration when shopping for a new Compact or Small SUV.

Relying on findings in the J.D. Power Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), an automotive industry benchmark for measuring new-vehicle quality during the first 90 days of ownership can be useful. Each year, J.D. Power surveys tens of thousands of original buyers and lessees of new cars, trucks, SUVs and vans to identify problems with new-vehicle design and defects or malfunctions.

These IQS study results are translated into Initial Quality Power Circle ratings expressed in a 1-5-point scale, with 5 being the highest. This buyer’s guide features the highest ranking 2019 model-year Compact and Small SUVs from major brands that receive an overall rating of 5 or 4 out of 5 for initial quality during the first 90 days of ownership in alphabetical order.

2019 Buick Envision

Buick’s claim to quiet comfort is exemplified in the 2019 Buick Envision Small SUV, last redone in 2016. For 2019, the 5-seat crossover features a Buick themed wing embellished grille and also offers a new turbo engine option in the Premium Trim levels that produce 252 horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. New features in the Premium II trim include adaptive cruise, an upscale audio system, navigation, wireless charging and a head-up display.

The 2019 Buick Envision Compact SUV receives an Initial Quality score of 4 out of 5. 

2019 Chevrolet Equinox

This best-selling compact crossover was redesigned a year ago. The 2019 Chevrolet Equinox Compact SUV offers more driver-assistance systems and new infotainment features this year. Two turbo-charged engines provide extra spunk and a turbo-diesel is optional. Several new appearance and options packages and advanced pedestrian detection are available for most of four trims. 

The 2019 Chevrolet Equinox receives an Initial Quality score of 5 out of 5 and earns an Initial Quality award in the Compact SUV category.

2019 Ford Escape

Ford keeps the 2019 Escape Compact SUV agile and athletic with a choice of three engines—two are turbocharged. Ford’s latest Sync 3 infotainment system with an 8.0-in. touchscreen is standard in most of four trims and more advanced driver assistance systems including blind-spot monitor, are optional for SE, SEL and Titanium trims. An all-black sport package is a new option for the current crossover that was last redone for 2013. A third-generation 2020 Ford Escape debuts this year.

The 2019 Ford Escape Compact SUV receives an Initial Quality score of 5 out of 5. 

2019 Honda CR-V

The 2019 Honda CR-V is nearly the same as in 2018, following a fifth-generation redesign for the 2017 model year. A Compact SUV sales leader, CR-V is available in four trims with a choice of 10 colors, including new White Platinum Pearl. Interior rear seating and cargo space are generous with an optional 3-row configuration for seven. Best power is provided by a 190-horsepower, turbo 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine matched with a CVT for fuel efficiency.

The 2019 Honda CR-V Compact SUV receives an Initial Quality score of 4 out of 5.

2019 Hyundai Kona

Introduced as a 2018 model, the 2019 Hyundai Kona Small SUV, with an exterior design that resembles a hatchback with sliver thin headlamps, features more standard advanced safety systems on most trims. An optional turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine in the Kona Limited with leather upholstery is a better choice for this Small SUV that can seat five. New orange paint color and the Iron Man limited edition are available.

The 2019 Hyundai Kona Small SUV receives an Initial Quality score of 4 out of a possible 5.

2019 Hyundai Tucson

Sharper lines with modified grille and headlamps and more standard features are changes in the 2019 Hyundai Tucson Small SUV that was last redone for 2016. This third-generation crossover features a new 181-horsepower, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that powers four of six trims. Also new inside are a revamped dashboard, optional leather seating plus extra advanced driver-assistance systems. All-wheel Drive (AWD) is available.

The 2019 Hyundai Tucson receives an Initial Quality score of 5 out of 5 Power Circles.

2019 Kia Sportage

The 2019 Kia Sportage, last revamped for 2017, is now configured as a two-row crossover that seats five. Although the Small SUV is equipped with a 181-horsepower 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine, an optional 2.4-liter turbo that makes 240 horsepower in the SX Turbo trim may be a better choice. A good performer in federal crash tests, the 2019 Sportage comes with most advanced safety systems. It gets a refresh for 2020.

The 2019 Kia Sportage receives an Initial Quality score of 5 out of 5 and also merits an Initial Quality award in the Small SUV category.

2019 Nissan Rogue

Upscale on the inside with an impressive array of standard advanced safety systems, the 2019 Nissan Rogue crossover is a 5-person Compact SUV that was last redone for 2014. Passenger and cargo space in this volume seller is generous. Power is adequate with a 170-horsepower, 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine mated with a CVT and a hybrid powertrain optional. Top SL trim comes with standard Pro-Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving technology.

The 2019 Nissan Rogue receives an Initial Quality score of 4 out of a possible 5.

2019 Nissan Rogue Sport

Slightly smaller than its sibling, Rogue, the 2019 Nissan Rogue Sport comes with a standard 7.0-in.touchscreen infotainment system, smartphone connectivity and an optional higher-end Bose sound system. The Safety Shield 360 Advanced driver assistance suite is standard on many trims, while Pro-Pilot Assist, is optional for SV and standard on SL trim. This Small SUV that seats five, was introduced for 2017, and is powered by a 141-horsepower, 2.0-liter 4 cylinder engine.

The 2019 Nissan Rogue Sport receives an Initial Quality score of 4 out of a possible 5.

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