The two-row crossover segment is now the largest in the automotive kingdom. But which model do owners say deserves to stand atop Pride Rock and which would they like to see banished? We looked at the owner satisfaction ratings for the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Ford Escape, Chevy Equinox, and VW Tiguan to see which owners say is best and which they say worst. As you will see the sales volume is not a direct correlation to owner satisfaction.
We scoured Consumer Reports' owner satisfaction ratings for the models above and looked at not just the past model year, but also prior years back to about 2013. We wanted to get a feel for how owners rate these vehicles not just new, but also after they have lived with them for a while.
CR-V, RAV4, Rogue - Tops In Sales - But What About Satisfaction?
Depending upon when you look and how you segment sales, the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, and Toyota RAV4 are the top-selling models in the largest vehicle segment. Honda lays claim to having the most private-party family sales. Toyota has more overall many months due to its commercial and fleet sales. The Rogue has snuck in some winning months here and there topping both the Honda and Toyota. One would assume all three have the top owner satisfaction ratings in this group, but one would be mistaken.
CR-V - The Biggest Surprise
We love the CR-V in our own testing. It is a hugely popular model for Honda and its top-selling crossover model by far. We expected before we did the research that the CR-V would be the most loved crossover. Yet, owners rank the CR-V just 4/5 in the past couple of years and as low as 3/5 in years 2013 - 2016. Comfort only earned a 56% score from owners in the 2016 model year and only 66% say they would buy it again. That is lower than both the RAV4 and Forester.
Nissan Rogue - Surprise Low Scores
Based on Rogue's very strong sales, we predicted it would be close to the RAV4 and CR-V, but it wasn't. It earns a very low 1/5 score from owners in years 2013-2016, a 2/5 in 2017, and a 3/5 in 2018. Only 48% of 2016 Rogue owners say they would buy another one.
Toyota RAV4 - Predictable?
RAV4 owners give it a 3/5 owner satisfaction score in every year from 2018 (most recent data available) all the way back to 2006. A relatively high 68% of 2016 Model Year RAV4s say they would buy a new RAV4, and based on its solid sales that rings true.
Most Loved - Subaru Forester
The Subaru Forester earns a 4/5 score for model years 2018 back to 2015, a 3/5 for 2014 and a 4/5 for model year 2013. For 2016, an impressive 77% of owners say they would buy another Forester, tops for the segment that year. Owners give the Forester good scores for both value and driving experience. As the owner of a 2016 Forester, your author can relate to these opinions personally. It is very fun to drive and has proven an excellent value in that single example (which is meaningless unless supported by the Consumer Reports data). What impresses us most is that the Forester has a very troubling quality record with problems resulting in class action settlements for both the engine and CVT transmission during the period we looked at. Owners appear so happy overall they would chance another Subaru despite these issues.
What About Equinox, Escape, Tiguan and CX-5?
The Mazda CX-5 also earns good scores of 4/5 and 3/5 all the way back to 2013. A respectable 62% of owners of 2016 MY CX-5s say they would buy another. Rather than offer an opinion on the Escape, Equinox, and Tiguan we suggest those interested check out Consumer Reports ratings on the vehicles. They do not qualify for discussion as the most loved. All three have scores as low as 1/5 and 2/5.
See you in my next story where I am discussing the safest used car purchase comparing Toyota Camry, honda Accord, nissan Altima and Hyundai Sonata.
Consumer Reports is a non-profit, subscriber-only, advocacy publication. You can learn how to subscribe at the group's website.
In addition to covering green vehicle topics, John Goreham covers safety, technology, and new vehicle news at Torque News. You can follow John on Twitter at @johngoreham.