2020 What Car? Reliability Survey: small SUVs

In our exhaustive annual survey, we reveal how dependable cars up to five years old are, based on the experiences of 13,000 owners...

Mini Countryman

Most reliable small SUVs

1. Mini Countryman (2017-present)

Reliability rating 98.3%

What went wrong? Engine electrics 7%, non-engine electrics 3%

The latest Countryman is proving dependable; only 10% of cars went wrong and electrical issues were the only bugbears. All of the stricken cars could still be driven and two-thirds were put right in less than a week. All work was carried out under warranty.

Owner’s view “This is my fourth Mini. I have never had any problems with any of them and the dealer support is excellent”

2. Mazda CX-3 (2016-present)

Mazda CX-3 front driving

Reliability rating 98.0%

Only 12% of CX-3s had a fault, and electrical gremlins were the only issue, with problems split evenly between non-engine electrics in general and the infotainment system. All of the affected cars remained driveable, while 75% were put right in a day or less and all work was done for free.

3. Volkswagen T-Roc (2017-present)

Volkswagen T-Roc front

Reliability rating 96.0%

Owners told us that 19% of T-Rocs went wrong, with the biggest areas of concern being the engine and non-engine electrics. There were also some issues with engine electrics, brakes and air-con. However, four out of five cars could still be driven and a third were repaired the same day; 90% of work was done under warranty and no bills exceeded £50.

Least reliable small SUVs

1. Honda HR-V (2015-present)

Honda HR-V front three quarters

Reliability rating 90.2%

What went wrong? Battery 10%, bodywork 7%, engine 7%, non-engine electrics 7%, air-con 3%, engine electrics 3%, gearbox/clutch 3%, infotainment/sat-nav 3%, interior trim 3%, steering 3%

Honda’s smallest SUV has suffered more than its fair share of faults, with 23% of cars going wrong and problems occurring in 10 different areas. More than half of the afflicted cars could still be driven, but one in five languished in a garage for more than a week. Although 95% were put right for free, some owners faced bills of up to £200.

Owner’s view “The car is driveable, but it’s been into the garage three times for an engine problem that hasn’t been resolved”

2. Suzuki Vitara (2015-present)

Suzuki Vitara

Reliability rating 92.8%

Almost 20% of Vitaras had a problem, with non-engine electrical systems the most common culprit. Other areas of concern included the brakes, bodywork and gearbox/clutch. Four out of five afflicted cars could still be driven and two-thirds were repaired in less than a week. Three-quarters of work was done under warranty, but a small percentage of owners shelled out more than £1500.

Nissan Juke

Reliability rating 94.2%

The fact that a car as dependable as the Juke is in the bottom three is a reflection of the strong reliability record of the small SUV class as a whole. Only 15% of Jukes went wrong, with issues split evenly between the battery, exhaust, gearbox/clutch, interior trim and non-engine electrics. More than three-quarters of the cars remained driveable and two-thirds were put right in less than a week. Around 20% of work was done for free, while bills for non-warranty work ranged from less than £50 to £1000.

The 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey is open; tell us about your car

Results for small SUVs aged up to five years old

Rank Make and model Score
1. Mini Countryman 2017-on 98.3%%
2. Mazda CX-3 2016-on 98.0%
3. Volkswagen T-Roc 2017-on 96.0%
4. Seat Arona 2018-on 95.1%
5. Renault Captur 2013-2019 95.0%
6.  Peugeot 2008 2013-2019 94.7%
7.  Audi Q2 2016-on 94.6%
8.  Nissan Juke 2010-2019 94.2%
9.  Suzuki Vitara 2015-on 92.8%
10. Honda HR-V 2015-on 90.2%