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Consumer Reports Car Experts Recently Rated the Best New SUVs to Buy Today

Deciding on which SUV is the right choice for you and your family while staying within your budget can be a daunting task. Here’s the latest Consumer Reports Best SUV rating that showcases not just those SUVs that cost up to $40,000, but models that make good alternative choices below $30,000 as well.
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The $10,000 Question

There’s no denying that for years now, SUV’s have been the backbone of the American family car. Primarily because they are roomy and reliable. And even when you become an empty nester, there’s still a need for a full-sized and reliable car that can haul enough luggage to last a month and the family dog or two while on those well-deserved road trip vacations around the U.S.

Being past SUV owners with kids, many of us have a preference for a favorite make and model that has served us well; and thereby, will be the one that we want to stick to when it comes time to buy a new SUV. However, one of the more difficult decisions is what I like to call the “$10,000 Question”---do we go with exactly the same model we bought last time, or is it time to downsize our car budget and choose a different model that is less expensive?

The good news is that $10,000 question was recently made a little easier for us as Consumer Reports car experts recently released their ratings of the best SUVs under the $40K and $30K categories separately that all share the reliability and comfort we look for in a SUV.

Summarized below is a listing of their rated SUVs that matches the recommended $40K models with the $30K models to help you decide upon and answer your own $10,000 question. And because safety features help drivers stay aware during those long road trips, included with the pricing are the safety features found with each model.

Please note the following safety feature abbreviations used:

• FCW---forward collision warning
• BSW---blind spot warning
• AEB---automatic emergency braking

The BEST NEW $30K and $40K SUV'S TODAY

KIA’s $40K and $30K MODELS

2021 Kia Telluride
Price Range: $32,190 - $44,390
CR MPG: Overall 21 mpg / City 14 / Hwy 30 mpg
Rated #1 of 13: Midsized sport-utility with 291-hp V6 and smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.
Standard safety features include FCW, AEB with pedestrian detection, and BSW.

2021 Kia Sportage
Price Range: $24,090 - $35,250
CR MPG: Overall 23 mpg / City 16 / Hwy 32 mpg
Rated #5 of 19: Compact sport-utility vehicle with 2.4-liter four-cylinder and smooth-shifting six-speed automatic transmission.
Standard safety features include: FCW and city-speed AEB with pedestrian detection, BSW is standard on all except the base trim.

SUBURU’S 40K and $30K MODELS

2021 Subaru Outback
Price Range: $26,795 - $39,945
CR MPG: Overall 24 mpg / City 16 / Hwy 32 mpg
Rated #1 of 12: Midsized sport-utility vehicles with the base model possessing a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that does the job (but can feel strained under stress). The turbocharged 260-hp, 2.4-liter engine transforms the Outback, giving it effortless acceleration.
All versions include the EyeSight suite of advanced safety and driver assistance systems, including FCW and AEB, but BSW is optional.

2021 Subaru Forester
Price Range: $24,795 - $34,895
CR MPG: Overall 28 mpg / City 20 / Hwy 38 mpg
Rated #1 of 19: Compact sport-utility vehicles with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder combined with a continuously variable automatic transmission.
Standard active safety features include FCW and AEB with pedestrian detection, but BSW is optional.

HYUNDAI’S 40K and $30K MODELS

2021 Hyundai Palisade
Price Range: $32,675 - $47,900
CR MPG: Overall 21 mpg / City 15 / Hwy 29 mpg
Rated #3 of 13: Midsized sport-utility vehicle with a 291-hp, 3.8-liter V6 paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Several advanced safety systems come standard, including FCW and AEB with pedestrian detection, however, BSW is optional.

2022 Hyundai Tucson
Price Range: $24,950 - $37,350
CR MPG: Overall 26 mpg / City 18 / Hwy 35 mpg
Rated #6 of 19: Compact sport-utility vehicles with a standard 187-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission
Standard active safety and driver assistance features include FCW, AEB with pedestrian detection, and BSW.

TOYOTA’S 40K and $30K MODELS

2021 Toyota Highlander
Price Range: $35,085 - $50,640
CR MPG: Overall 22 mpg / City 14 / Hwy 32 mpg
Rated #2 of 13: Midsized sport-utility vehicle with either a 295-hp V6 that packs a lot of reserve power and gets a competitive 22 mpg overall; or, a 243-hp hybrid four-cylinder with an excellent 35 mpg overall.
Safety features include the Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 suite includes standard FCW and AEB with pedestrian detection, but BSW is optional.

2021 Toyota RAV4
Price Range: $26,250 - $37,330
CR MPG: Overall 27 mpg / City 19 / Hwy 38 mpg
Rated #12 of 19: Compact sport-utility vehicle with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder paired with an eight-speed automatic.
Safety features include FCW and AEB with pedestrian detection are standard, and BSW is standard on all except the base trim.

MAZDA’S 40K and $30K MODELS

2021 Mazda CX-9
Price Range: $34,160 - $46,805
CR MPG: Overall 22 mpg / City 15 / Hwy 32 mpg
Rated #4 of 13: Midsized sport-utility vehicle with a 227-hp, 2.5-liter turbo four-cylinder mated to a smooth six-speed automatic.
All active key safety features come standard, including FCW, AEB with pedestrian detection, and BSW.

2021 Mazda CX-5
Price Range: $25,370 - $37,505
CR MPG: Overall 24 mpg / City 17 / Hwy 33 mpg
Rated #2 of 19: Compact sport-utility vehicles with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission.
Safety features include FCW, AEB with pedestrian detection, and BSW standard equipment.

NISSAN’S 40K and $30K MODELS

2021 Nissan Murano
Price Range: $32,810 - $45,910
CR MPG: Overall 21 mpg / City 15 / Hwy 29 mpg
Rated #5 of 12: Midsized sport-utility vehicle with a 3.5-liter V6 paired with a continuously variable transmission.
Safety features include Nissan's Safety Shield 360 with FCW, AEB with pedestrian detection, BSW, rear cross traffic warning, and rear automatic braking.

2021 Nissan Rogue
Price Range: $25,850 - $37,030
CR MPG: Overall 25 mpg / City 17 / Hwy 34 mpg
Rated #9 of 19: Compact sport-utility vehicle with a 181-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine teamed with a continuously variable transmission.
Safety features include standard advanced safety and driver assistance systems with FCW, AEB with pedestrian detection, and BSW.

For more about great car deals that save money, be sure to check out Consumer Reports Most Discounted New Cars to Buy Right Now.

COMING UP NEXT: Consumer Reports Reveals How to Find Hidden Problems in a Used Car Before Buying It

Timothy Boyer is Torque News Tesla and EV reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily Tesla and electric vehicle news.

Photo by Tabea Damm on Unsplash


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