Reliability plays a significant role when buying a new or used vehicle. You never want to run into the nightmare of purchasing a vehicle only to have it live at the shop and burn a hole in your wallet. This is why various organizations offer studies that look into vehicle reliability so you can make an educated buying decision.

One of the more recognizable organizations in automotive reliability is J.D. Power. Below, we evaluate J.D. Power’s findings on three-year-old SUVs to help you find the most reliable SUVs in Canada.

How the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study Works

J.D. Power releases its Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), a survey that helps determine the most reliable vehicles in the industry, every year. The VDS surveys owners of three-year-old vehicles to uncover all the issues they've experienced during the past year. J.D. Power then uses this data to assemble a list of the most reliable vehicles from that model year — in this case, it would be all vehicles from the 2021 model year.

The study looks at 184 problem areas spanning nine categories, including:

  • Exterior
  • Driving Experience
  • Features/Controls/Displays (FCD)
  • Driving Assistance
  • Infotainment
  • Seats
  • Climate
  • Interior
  • Powertrain

J.D. Power surveyed thousands of vehicle owners, seeking reports of any problems they experienced with their vehicles throughout the past calendar year. The organization then categorizes and ranks the vehicles based on the problems per 100 (PP100) vehicles.

In the 2024 VDS of 2021 model year vehicles, the average reliability score was 190 PP100, up from 186 in 2023.

Based on the study results, we've created a list of the most reliable SUVs in Canada for 2024.

Most Reliable SUVs in Canada for 2024

Ready to find the most reliable SUVs in Canada for 2024? We've got everything you need to make an educated decision. We've compiled all the data needed to provide you with the top vehicles to consider.

We chose these SUVs based on the J.D. Power Dependability Study, which objectively considers all the issues a three-year-old SUV has had in the past year.

Let's dive right in.

2021 Chevrolet Equinox | Crossover SUV Price, Interior, Colors & More
Source: 1 Cochran Cars

Most Reliable Compact SUV: 2021 Chevrolet Equinox

Chevrolet may not be the first automaker that comes to mind when you think of reliable crossover SUVs, but it's come a long way throughout the year. Now, the 2021 Equinox leads our list as the most reliable vehicle in the compact SUV segment.

The 2021 Equinox is more than just reliable. It also has a compact footprint, spacious cabin, supportive seats, plenty of seating and cargo flexibility, and respectable fuel economy. The Equinox also features a 7-inch touchscreen display that provides quick access to all the key features, such as navigation, audio, climate control, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The 2021 Equinox is also quite safe, earning the IIHS Top Safety Pick designation. It comes standard with various advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam headlights, and active lane control. If you want even more security, you can get rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, and a surround-view camera on higher-trim models.

Other Compact SUV Models to Consider

The Equinox isn’t the only reliable compact SUV from the 2021 model year. Two other models ranked at or above the segment average in dependability are the 2021 Buick Envision and the 2021 Toyota RAV4.

Source: Guide Auto

Compact Premium SUV: 2021 Lexus NX

Do you want a small footprint but also crave top-notch luxury SUV features, this is where a compact premium SUV can fit the bill. In the 2024 J.D. Power VDS, the Lexus NX repeats as the top dog in dependability for the 2021 model year.

The 2021 Lexus NX is a sharp-looking luxury compact SUV with a seamless blend of performance, comfort, and a sharp exterior design. The NX is a great option for drivers who want an SUV that stands out and delivers an exciting driving experience.

A lot stands out about the 2021 Lexus NX, but its best feature is its refined interior, which features plenty of room, high-quality materials, and a sleek and modern design. The seats are comfortable and supportive, and passengers have plenty of legroom and headroom in the front and rear. It also has many high-end features, including an 8-inch infotainment display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, synthetic leather upholstery, power front seats, and more.

If you're craving even more luxury, opt for one with the Luxury Package, and you'll get leather upholstery, a power tailgate, a 10.3-inch display, and heated and ventilated front seats.

The 2021 Lexus NX also includes solid safety technology for its year, including standard automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. This and rock-solid crash-test scores earned it the IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation.

Other Compact Premium SUV Models to Consider

The Lexus NX is a great option for folks seeking a reliable and upscale compact SUV, but other models also landed above the segment average in J.D. Power’s study. These include the 2021 Cadillac XT4 and 2020 Porsche Macan.

Source: J.D. Powe

Small SUV: 2021 Buick Encore

For 2021, the Buick Encore unseated the Toyota C-HR as the most reliable subcompact SUV. This sub-luxury SUV caters to urban drivers’ needs with a small footprint that makes it a breeze to maneuver in tight spaces. On top of this, it delivers good fuel economy, consuming as little as 8 L/100km combined. On top of this, the Encore features some upscale amenities and a smooth ride without going into a full-out luxury model.

The Encore boasts a comfortable cabin with plenty of features, including a standard 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, and a six-speaker audio system. You get even more premium goodies in higher trims, such as a Bose audio system, a power tailgate, wireless device charging, and more.

Another standout quality of the 2021 Encore is its safety technology, including standard automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and LED headlights with automatic high beams. You can enhance your safety with the available surround-view camera system, rear camera mirror, adaptive cruise control, automatic park assist, and front and rear parking sensors.

Other Small SUV Models to Consider

Like other categories, the Encore wasn’t the only small SUV with above-average dependability. J.D. Power also lists the 2021 Toyota C-HR and the Encore's cousin, the 2021 Chevrolet Trax, as models to consider as some of the best cars in this segment for reliability.

Source: US Car News

Small Premium SUV: 2021 BMW X1

Are you looking for a small SUV that’s big on luxury and dependability? Look no further than the 2021 BMW X1. This luxury subcompact SUV offers a potent turbocharged engine, superior handling, and a loaded interior.

The 2021 BMW X1 includes a long list of standard features, such as an 8.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, power front seats, Apple CarPlay (no Android Auto), synthetic leather upholstery, and more.

The X1 also has standard automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, and automatic high beams, but other safety tech is buried in a dizzying collection of optional packages.

Other Small Premium SUV Models to Consider

The BMW X1 performed admirably in J.D. Power's survey, but the rest of the small premium SUV class failed to meet the average rating. The only other small premium SUV J.D. Power listed as a reliable option was the 2021 Volvo XC40.

Source: J.D. Power

Midsize SUV: 2021 Toyota 4Runner

The Toyota 4Runner has long been a rugged, off-road SUV but has recently become slightly more family-friendly without abandoning its roots. However, that doesn’t take away from its dependability, as J.D. Power’s research shows the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is the most dependable midsize SUV from its model year.

Beyond being dependable, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner offers ample cargo space, a rugged suspension, a surprisingly comfortable ride, and plenty of standard comfort features. The latter includes an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and more. For those looking to really tackle off-road driving, you can pick up the TRD Pro or TRD Off-Road models.

The 4Runner did struggle in crash tests, but it has most of the modern active safety features you expect from a new car. The latter includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors.

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Other Midsize SUV Models to Consider

If the 2021 Toyota 4Runner isn’t your style, J.D. Power lists two options that scored above average in dependability. These are the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the 2021 Toyota Venza.

Source: CNET

Midsize Premium SUV: 2021 Lexus RX

Want a more premium midsize SUV that’s also highly reliable? Look no further than the 2021 Lexus RX. This luxury midsize SUV offers a refined ride, a comfortable interior, and a long list of standard features. These upscale features include a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, acoustic glass, heated and ventilated front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats, a nine-speaker audio system, tri-zone automatic climate control, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and much more.

The 2021 Lexus RX also has advanced safety features such as lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, oncoming traffic detection, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian, bicyclist, and motorcycle detection.

Other Midsize Premium SUV Models to Consider

Do you want other options for a reliable midsize premium SUV? One other model scored above average in dependability in 2021, and that’s the Lexus RX’s larger, body-on-frame sibling, the 2021 Lexus GX.

Source: Guide Auto

Upper Midsize SUV: 2021 Chevrolet Traverse

Upper midsize SUVs are slightly larger than midsize SUVs but aren’t large enough to fall into the full-size category. In 2021, the Chevrolet Traverse reins supreme in upper midsize SUV reliability. But it’s more than just reliable. It also offers a comfortable ride, a spacious three-row interior, and a long list of standard features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, a 7-inch infotainment touchscreen, six USB charging ports, 18-inch wheels, and more.

The Traverse falters in safety tech in its base model, making automatic emergency braking an option on LT and lower trims. Also limited to higher trims are active lane control and adaptive cruise control.

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Other Upper Midsize SUV Models to Consider

Do you want some options in a reliable upper midsize SUV? J.D. Power lists two other models in this class with above-average reliability ratings: the 2021 Buick Enclave and the 2021 Toyota Highlander, last year's most reliable model in this segment.

Source: Car and Driver

Upper Midsize Premium SUV: 2021 BMW X6

In 2023, the 2020 BMW X5 won this class. In 2024, the X5's sportier sibling, the 2021 BMW X6, takes home the big prize.

This luxury midsize SUV has a great list of powerful engine options to suit all buyers, a comfortable ride with sharp handling, an upscale and nicely laid-out interior, and a stylish design. It also has a wide range of high-end standard features, including a 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, synthetic leather upholstery, and much more.

Safety is also key in this segment, and the 2021 BMW X6 has some standard advanced safety tech on its base model, including emergency braking, parking sensors, blind-spot monitors, automatic high beams, and adaptive LED headlights. Buyers can get more safety gear, but they are all included in various at-cost packages.

Other Upper Midize Premium SUV Models to Consider

Is the BMW X6 not your cup of tea due to its design, price, limited standard safety gear, or another reason? J.D. Power also lists the 2021 Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5 as alternatives that received above-average dependability ratings.

Source: CarBuzz

Large SUV: 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe

Large SUVs are a fading species, as fuel economy has become critical in this segment. However, a handful still exist, and the most dependable model from 2021 is the fully redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe.

This full-size SUV boasts a spacious interior, three seating rows, tons of cargo space, a comfortable ride, and a long list of standard features. The latter includes a 10.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, six USB ports, a power driver’s seat, and more. Moving into higher trims adds tons of premium goodies to this large SUV.

As for driver-assistance features and safety gear, the 2021 Tahoe comes standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, automatic headlights, rear-seat reminder, parking alert, and more on all trim levels.

Other Large SUV Models to Consider

No other large SUVs had above-average dependability scores, so J.D. Power offered no alternatives in this segment.

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Save Big on the Most Reliable SUVs in Canada at Clutch

Ready for a new SUV that’s safe and reliable but has a tight budget? Stretch your dollar by opting for one of the most reliable SUVs in Canada, according to J.D. Power. These used SUVs have proven durability and offer many of the same features as a new car for thousands of dollars less.

Plus, every used SUV Clutch sells endures a 210-point inspection and reconditioning process to ensure it’s in top-notch condition.

Do you have an old vehicle you need to offload in the process? Clutch accepts trade-in vehicles, and you can get a fast, no-obligation offer on your trade-in vehicle online. You can also secure financing and complete your purchase 100% online — no need to set foot in a dealership.