JD Power survey 2012 - Compact SUVs
1 Kia Sportage
Overall ranking 1st
The Kia Sportage has made JD Power history in its first year in the survey. In fact, it’s a double record breaker, because it’s the first compact SUV ever to take the overall title, knocking Lexus off its well-worn seat at the summit.
Sportage owners gave the car a clean sweep of five-star ratings. A closer look at the feedback shows what sort of buyer the big Kia is attracting. Storage space and practicality delighted most, with owners particularly taken by the plethora of cubbyholes around the front seats. The flat boot lip earned plenty of praise, too, allowing luggage to be slid rather than lifted. Owners were also pleased with the ease of getting kids and car seats into and out of the Sportage.
Once inside, they were impressed by the colour co-ordinated interior and the useful courtesy lights. Practicality continued behind the wheel, with owners liking the visibility from the driver’s seat. The wipers were also praised for their efficiency.
Standard-fit high-level equipment, such as a stereo that allows music to be played easily in any format, was a big plus point in the eyes of owners.
If there is any area that the Sportage could improve on, it’s running costs. While owners rated the cost of living with the small SUV as above average, their enthusiasm in this category was notably lower. Cost is clearly what motivates many Kia owners, but could it also be that they’ve become so accustomed to its reliability that they begrudge shelling out for repairs?
Overall it recorded less than half the average amount of mechanical complaints, with minor quibbles restricted to exterior lights and the remote central locking fob.
All in all, it’s an incredibly positive showing from this appealing little SUV, and a well-deserved top spot overall.
2 Nissan Qashqai
Qashqai owners lavished praise on the visibility their cars provided, loving the view from the driver’s seat. Most common gripes were with the heating system, which was criticised for taking too long to heat up and clear misty windows.
3 Volkswagen Tiguan
Tiguan owners were the second-happiest of all compact SUV owners when it came to running costs. Occasional problems were noted with starting the engine, and the dashboard and the cupholders.
4 Volvo XC60
A strong first JD Power outing for the XC60. It earned praise for its comfortable seats. Owners weren’t so keen on the fiddly Bluetooth mobile phone system, though, and complained about the odd engine noise.
5 Ford Kuga
The Kuga was the top Ford for the second year in a row. Owners liked the way it drove, and its audio system. There were a few problems with the interior and dashboard. The engine light made an appearance for a few drivers, too.
6 Toyota RAV4
The driving experience was rated as the long-serving RAV4’s best attribute, particularly in the steering and the responsiveness of the brakes. Owners did report the occasional problem with the parcel shelf and the front door.
7 Audi Q5
Only Kuga and Sportage drivers were more taken with their small SUV’s looks. Owners loved the quality sound made by the closing doors. Some mentions were made of problems with tyre pressure monitors and the side windows.
8 Honda CR-V
Insurance costs didn’t make CR-V owners as happy as in previous years, and a couple of interior light problems cropped up. However, owners were still smiling about the standard of service they receive from Honda dealers.
9 Land Rover Freelander
A mixed bag for the Freelander. It was relatively problem free, with just some battery and water leaking issues highlighted. Owners liked the interior visibility, but weren’t so keen on running and servicing costs.
10 Hyundai Santa Fe
A set of two- and three-star ratings accounted for the Santa Fe’s performance this year. Low scores were given for all-round appeal and heating, while comfy seats and good running costs saved the Hyundai from finishing lower.
11 Nissan Juke
Owners of the Juke waxed lyrical about their car’s styling. However, it got the lowest score in the category for fuel economy, and problems with the parcel shelf, mats and glovebox soured the ownership experience further.
12 BMW X1
BMW X1 owners gave the car a big thumbs down after complaining bitterly of it being beset by problems. Glitches were reported in almost all areas: the fuel gauge, CD player, seats, indicators, body mouldings and heating system were just a few examples quoted. The most commonly reported problem area was the door panels.
Click on table for larger view
Featured in this story