1: Lexus RX
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 86.7%
This is the second year in a row that the Lexus RX has come out on top, not just in its SUV class, but top of the overall rankings as well.
The impressive performance earns the Lexus the full five stars across every area of the survey, with excellent marks for vehicle quality and reliability, and stellar service from dealers.
Owners were smug when it came to running costs and vehicle appeal, too, so was there anything that was less than perfect when living with the Lexus?
Well it seems owners had a few more problems understanding the audio and entertainment controls than other SUV drivers. A few issues were also reported getting the hands-free system to work, while the cupholders weren't considered the best in the business.
Still, the RX performed far better than the vast majority of cars in these areas.
2: Honda CR-V
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 82.7%
You've got to feel a little bit sorry for Honda, having to live up to the standard of the Lexus RX. Nonetheless, owners have continued to lavish praise on the CR-V, which has an enviable history in the JD Power survey. Over the past eight years it has never failed to find a place in the top three SUVs, and since 2007 it has remained in the number-one or number-two spot.
CR-V owners loved the interior — including the space, seats, storage and controls – and were delighted with dealers.A few grumbled over the sat-nav system and fuel consumption, but battery failures were the most common bugbear.
3: Toyota Rav-4
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 82.3%
After a dip to seventh in class last year, the RAV4 is back in more familiar territory, rounding off the top three in this category. RAV4 drivers said they were very pleased with the dependability of their cars as well as the service from dealers and the reasonable running costs. The side-opening tailgate was considered below average, while owners said the materials used in the cabin, and the comfort of the second row of seats, could be better. Owners also scored the audio and navigation systems poorly.
4: Nissan Qashqai
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 80.7%
The Qashqai received its most positive remarks from owners for its running costs. They said they were particularly pleased with very affordable fuel and insurance bills, while low repair costs also helped to lift the Nissan up to its four-star overall rating. The service given by dealers also netted consistently good marks, as did the stereo.
The Qashqai was let down by squeaks and rattles from the seats, and a heating and ventilation system that didn't work as efficiently as it should.
5=: BMW X5
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 79.0%
This is the X5's first time in the JD Power survey, and it's the lowest-ranked BMW, finishing more than halfway down the overall league table. However, owners marked the car well across most of the vehicle-appeal questions. Drivers were very positive about the X5's dynamics, although it was considered too noisy over bumps.
It was dragged down by reliability issues, with complaints about the tyre pressure-monitoring system, wipers, mirrors and door locks. Complaints about squeaky seats were also higher than for any other SUV.
5=: Nissan X-Trail
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 79.0%
The X-Trail has an identical score and overall position to the BMW X5, but it achieves it in an entirely different way. Instead of finding the car appealing but unreliable, X-Trail owners said the car was rather unappealing but very dependable.
Although they liked the storage and safety features, the rest of the X-Trail left them a little cold. They didn't like the look of the car, didn't like the interior design and didn't rate the way it drove.
They hardly a bad word to say about reliability, however.
5=: Land Rover Freelander
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 77.9%
The Freelander ends up second from bottom in this class due to the number of complaints owners had over running costs. It was the fuel consumption more than anything else that dragged the car down the rankings, but grumbles over high bills for repairs and insurance also did their bit.
Freelander drivers were otherwise a pretty happy bunch. The driving experience delighted, as did the service from dealerships and styling, while owners also praised the car's mechanical reliability.
5=: Land Rover Discovery
Vehicle owner satisfaction score 77.7%
Fuel costs, service and repair bills, and insurance premiums annoyed Discovery drivers just as much as Freelander owners, but the Disco suffered from more faults. Not everything went wrong — the seats didn't squeak and the ventilation system behaved — but there were too many issues with the tailgate, handbrake and engine warning light. Pity, because when the car was working owners rated the seat comfort and driving dynamics very highly.
SUV league table
Click the image for a larger view.
Name Babs Golar Age 30 Lives Hounslow Job HR Model RX400h Mileage 5000
‘The hybrid system is great. I normally get around 30mpg, while the dealer in Twickenham has been top class. I looked at the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5, but after seeing them add loads of money for extras I went for the Lexus with its standard rear DVD, power boot lid and sat-nav.’