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Popular Midsized SUVs to Avoid and What to Buy Instead Recommendations from Consumer Reports

Here’s an update on the latest midsized SUV’s that despite their perceived popularity, should be avoided according to Consumer Reports’ car experts who recommend these recently updated better choices for shoppers.


What is Popular is Not Always Good

Last July, Consumer Reports analysts made a good point that using casual anecdotal observations in your city of what must be a popular choice in midsized SUVs can be deceiving. Deceiving because, often local vehicle discounts and advertising lead to increased car sales of certain models that while saving money, just might not be the smartest model to choose regarding performance and quality of build.

In other words, what your neighbors are buying in a SUV cannot replace research if you want to make a smart and informed car buying decision.

“…popularity is often the result of factors—such as advertising, financing incentives, or even social media—that have little to do with quality, usability, fuel-efficiency, or family-friendliness,” states CR analysts.

That said, here is a summary of two midsized SUVs (a 2-Row and a 3-Row model) they believe that you should definitely avoid; and, four smarter alternative choices in a midsized SUV that include some under-the-radar gems that will make your neighbors take notice.

Related article: Popular Small SUVs to Avoid and What to Buy Instead Advises Consumer Reports

Please note the following safety feature abbreviations used:

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

POPULAR 2-ROW SUV TO AVOID: Jeep Grand Cherokee 2023

Price Range:  $39,535 - $73,345

CR MPG:  Overall 20 / City 14 / Hwy 28 mpg

#12 of 15 Midsized SUVs

The Problems with this model:

  • 20 mpg overall.
  • Mediocre braking performance.
  • Long stopping distances on both dry and wet surfaces.
  • Well-below-average predicted reliability.



Price Range:  $37,945 - $46,485

CR MPG:  Overall 22 / City 15 / Hwy 31 mpg

#5 of 15 Midsized SUVs

Good points of this model:

  • Standard 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder and eight-speed automatic provides smooth, quiet acceleration.
  • A sportier ST trim option provides a turbocharged V6 and all-wheel drive. 
  • Spacious passenger quarters and cargo space.
  • Sync 4 infotainment system with a large 12-inch touchscreen comes standard.
  • AEB with pedestrian detection, AEB highway, BSW, and RCTW are standard.



Price Range:  $35,100 - $45,700

CR MPG:  Overall 19 / City 13 / Hwy 27 mpg

#7 of 15 Midsized SUVs

Good points of this model (aside from only 19 mpg overall):

  • V6 powertrain provides strong acceleration and quick transmission shifts.
  • Rock solid suspension and sure handling.
  • Absorbs bumps well and body motions are limited helping the Blazer feel steady and planted.
  • The interior is modern, functional, and comfortable, with straightforward controls and an easy-to-operate infotainment system.
  • AEB with pedestrian detection is standard. BSW and RCTW are available on all but the base trim.


POPULAR 3-ROW SUV TO AVOID: Ford Explorer 2023

Price Range:  $36,760 - $56,525

CR MPG:  Overall 21 / City 14 / Hwy 29 mpg

#13 of 18 Midsized SUVs 3-row

The Problems with this model:

  • Here’s a good example of a model that relies on popularity over performance. Although it outsells the Kia Telluride by more than 2 to 1, CR analysts rank it as a mediocre SUV that ranks near the bottom in the three-row category.
  • Possesses an overly firm ride with rough shifts.
  • Its noisy engine lowers the Explorer’s road-test results


THE BETTER CHOICE: Kia Telluride 2023

Price Range:  $35,890 - $52,985

CR MPG:  Overall 21 / City 14 / Hwy 30 mpg

#1 of 18 Midsized SUVs 3-row

Good points of this model:

  • As CR’s top-rated three-row midsized SUV, it is one of the best they’ve tested, and has outstanding reliability.
  • Possesses a 291-hp V6 paired with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.
  • A comfortable, quiet, and roomy interior with one-touch fold/slide second-row seats.
  • Standard advanced safety systems include AEB with pedestrian detection, AEB highway, BSW, and RCTW.



Price Range:  $33,895 - $48,195

CR MPG:  Overall 22 / City 14 / Hwy 32 mpg

#7 of 18 Midsized SUVs 3-row

Good points of this model:

  • Possesses a four-cylinder turbo engine that delivers ample power and gets 22 mpg overall.
  • Plush, steady, and controlled ride, with a suspension that does an excellent job on bumps.
  • Quiet cabin with second-row captain’s chairs that are roomy and comfortable---even the third row is usable for shorter trips.
  • Controls are very straightforward.
  • AEB with pedestrian detection and AEB highway are standard, but BSW and RCTW are optional.

For more details and specs of the vehicles, readers are encouraged to visit for unparalleled reviews of cars and how they compare in model-by-model comparison studies.

For articles about car maintenance and repair, here are a few that will keep you new SUV running like it should:

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 new and used vehicle news.

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