Top-Rated 2021 Family SUVs in Quality According to Consumers

Christian Wardlaw | Aug 31, 2021

No vehicle can tackle family life quite like a midsize or a large SUV. With room for up to nine people (see: Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban), enclosed cargo areas that can carry as much of your stuff as a minivan (again, see Chevy Suburban), and available four-wheel-drive (4WD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) systems that help you get to where you’re going and back home again, it’s easy to see the appeal of a family-sized SUV.

And if you can find a model ranked high in quality by the people who own them, that’s all the better.

2021 Nissan Murano Teaser

J.D. Power knows which SUVs are high in quality, according to consumers. The annual J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) measures this. Based on survey responses collected from verified owners of new vehicles who’ve been driving their car, truck, or SUV for at least 90 days, J.D. Power can assign each make and model a PP100 score.

What’s that? A PP100 score represents ‘problems per 100 vehicles’ reported by the consumers who own the vehicles. So the lower the PP100 score, the higher the quality according to those verified owners.

This list of the top-rated 2021 Family SUVs in quality includes Midsize SUVs, Upper Midsize SUVs (typically 3-row models), and Large SUVs. We’ve got them listed in descending order by PP100 score, with the model highest in quality at the bottom of the list. J.D. Power bases the data on the 2021 IQS.

11. 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe - Find the best Chevrolet deals!

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Front Quarter View

Chevrolet redesigned the Tahoe for the 2021 model year. In addition to improved interior materials, the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe offers quite a bit of new technology. In a significant change resulting in more passenger and cargo volume, not to mention better ride and handling qualities, the 2021 Tahoe sits on an independent rear suspension for the first time.

The Tahoe is available with your choice between two gasoline V8 engines or an affordable and efficient turbo-diesel inline 6-cylinder power plant. It comes in LS, LT, RST, Z71, Premier, and High Country trim levels. A 4WD system is standard on the Tahoe Z71 and optional on other trims.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe is 159. This is the same as the Hyundai Santa Fe, but the two models are in different segments. The Tahoe receives a quality award from J.D. Power in the Large SUV segment.

10. 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Front Quarter View

Though it’s been just two years since its last complete redesign, the Hyundai Santa Fe receives a significant freshening for 2021. This 5-passenger midsize crossover SUV gets two new gasoline engines, a new gas-electric hybrid powertrain option, upgraded infotainment and safety systems, and a plush new Calligraphy luxury trim level.

When buying a 2021 Santa Fe, you’ll decide whether you want to upgrade to turbocharged or hybrid power and whether you want AWD. Trim levels for gas models include SE, SEL, Limited, and Calligraphy, while the Santa Fe Hybrid comes in Blue, SEL Premium, and Limited trim.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is 159. This is the same as the Chevrolet Tahoe, but the two models are in different segments, so it does not represent a tie. 

9. 2021 Chevrolet Traverse - Find the best Chevrolet deals!

2021 Chevrolet Traverse Front Quarter View

Among 3-row crossover SUVs, the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse is one of the larger models available. This means it can more comfortably hold people and more easily carry cargo than many of its competitors.

Every 2021 Traverse includes a V6 engine and front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Trim levels include L, LS, LT (with cloth or leather seats), RS, Premier, and High Country. For 2021, the new Chevy Safety Assist option package adds advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) to most versions of the SUV as either standard or optional equipment.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Chevrolet Traverse is 157 in a tie with the Hyundai Palisade. 

8. 2021 Hyundai Palisade - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2021 Hyundai Palisade Front Quarter View

Following its debut for 2020, Hyundai repackages the 2021 Palisade’s trim levels, standard features, and optional equipment. In addition, the new luxury-themed Calligraphy model also debuts, with unique design and equipment details. 

Able to seat up to eight people, the 2021 Palisade has a standard V6 engine powering the front or all four wheels. Buyers choose between SE, SEL, Limited, and Calligraphy trim, the latter featuring quilted leather, a simulated suede headliner, and more.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Hyundai Palisade is 157 in a tie with the Chevrolet Traverse. 

7. 2021 Ford Explorer - Find the best Ford deals!

2021 Ford Explorer Timberline Front Quarter View

One year after a dramatic redesign that put the Explorer on a rear-drive or AWD platform, Ford expands the lineup with several new versions of the SUV. They include a new XLT Sport Appearance option package, a more affordable Enthusiast ST model, a more rugged Timberline version, a new King Ranch trim, and a rear-drive Platinum variant. 

In addition to numerous levels of specification, the 2021 Explorer offers a choice between turbocharged 4-cylinder, twin-turbocharged V6, and gas-electric hybrid powertrains. Additionally, new paint colors and wheel designs are available for 2021, and hybrid availability expands to include Platinum trim.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Ford Explorer is 155. 

6. 2021 Toyota Highlander - Find the best Toyota deals!

2021 Toyota Highlander Platinum Hybrid Front Quarter View

Redesigned for 2020, the Toyota Highlander gets several improvements for the 2021 model year. A sport-tuned XSE trim level debuts, available only with the Highlander’s gasoline V6 and not with the available gas-electric hybrid powertrain. Additionally, an enhanced collection of ADAS is standard with all trim levels, along with improved LED headlights.

Aside from selecting between the V6 and gas-electric drivetrains, Highlander buyers choose between L, LE, XLE, XSE, Limited, and Platinum trim levels. All Highlanders are FWD unless you spend extra to get AWD.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Toyota Highlander is 153.

5. 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee - Find the best Jeep deals!

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee Front Quarter View

The Jeep Grand Cherokee lineup is a little odd for 2021. The 5-passenger model, the Grand Cherokee, is pretty much the same as it’s been for the past decade aside from some new value-added Freedom, Laredo X, and 80th Anniversary trim levels and a Sun and Sound option package for the Limited. You choose between a V6 engine and three V8s, one of which cranks out 707 horsepower.

For one year only, this familiar version of the SUV is joined by the completely redesigned 2021 Grand Cherokee L. This model is a new 3-row version of the nameplate and forecasts what Jeep has in store for the smaller Grand Cherokee for the 2022 model year. The Grand Cherokee L boasts V6 and V8 engine choices, next-generation infotainment and safety technology, and a generous upgrade in modern sophistication.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee is 149 in a tie with the Toyota 4Runner.

4. 2021 Toyota 4Runner - Find the best Toyota deals!

2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Front Quarter View

Like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Toyota 4Runner’s design is a decade old now, and it shows – especially inside the cabin. For 2021, an affordable new Trail Special Edition version debuts, Toyota upgrades the TRD Pro with revised suspension tuning and a Lunar Rock paint color, and LED headlights are standard for all models.

Every 4Runner has a 4.0-liter V6 engine and a 5-speed automatic transmission. Most roll out of the factory with standard rear-wheel drive, meaning 4WD is optional. Toyota offers a range of off-roading technologies for the 4Runner, which comes in SR5, Trail Special Edition, TRD Off-Road, Venture Special Edition, Limited, Nightshade Special Edition, and TRD Pro trim levels. A Premium Package is available for the SR5 and TRD Off-Road models.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is 149 in a tie with the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

3. 2021 Chevrolet Blazer - Find the best Chevrolet deals!

2021 Chevrolet Blazer Front Quarter View

Blazers of yore were always truck-based. Today’s Blazer is a 5-passenger crossover SUV, with styling influenced by Chevy’s own Camaro sports coupe. It’s been on sale for a few years now, but for 2021, aside from some new paint colors, Chevrolet sticks to the script, adding a new trailering package for some versions of the Blazer while making a Chevy Safety Assist collection of ADAS standard on higher trims.

Buyers choose between L, 1LT, 2LT, 3LT, RS, and Premier trim levels. Depending on the model, the Blazer offers a 4-cylinder, a turbocharged 4-cylinder, or a V6 engine driving the front or all four wheels.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Chevrolet Blazer is 143.

2. 2021 Kia Telluride - Find the best Kia deals!

2021 Kia Telluride SX Front Quarter View

Introduced just last year, the Kia Telluride is a big hit for the automaker. It comes in LX, S, EX, and SX trim levels, each equipped with a 291-horsepower V6 engine and FWD or AWD. A Prestige Package is available for SX trim, and it makes the Telluride look and feel more like a luxury SUV. A Nightfall Edition is new for 2021, offering Telluride buyers a blacked-out appearance. Otherwise, Kia makes only minor changes to the 2021 Telluride.

The PP100 score for the 2021 Kia Telluride is 136. The Telluride receives a quality award from J.D. Power in the Upper Midsize SUV segment.

1. 2021 Nissan Murano - Find the best Nissan deals!

2021 Nissan Murano Platinum Front Quarter View

Nissan’s 5-passenger crossover SUV is the Murano, and it has remained remarkably true to form over nearly 15 years of production and two complete redesigns since the model first debuted in 2003. Today, the Murano comes in S, SV, SL, and Platinum trim levels, with FWD or AWD. As has been true from the very beginning, every Murano features a 3.5-liter V6 engine and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

For 2021, a collection of ADAS called Nissan Safety Shield 360 is standard for all trim levels, and new colors are available. In addition, a Special Edition option package is new for the Murano SV. 

The PP100 score for the 2021 Nissan Murano is 111. The Murano receives a quality award from J.D. Power in the Midsize SUV segment.

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