Compact SUV ratings are based on a number of factors. Reliability plays extremely importantly here. As does ride quality, fuel economy and hauling/towing capability. Passenger safety is another area that the reviewers tend to pay particular attention to when rating vehicles of all types. Reliability ratings are usually based upon consumer reports of problems experienced. Safety ratings will take testing from organizations, such as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Since information obtained from the manufacturers is usually skewed in order to drive sales, this information is disregarded in favor of real world testing and experience.
For more info, see The Best SUV to Buy Based on Safety Ratings and Consumer Satisfaction