2021 What Car? Reliability Survey: large SUVs

We reveal the most - and least - dependable cars up to five years old, based on the experiences of more than 16,000 owners...

2018 BMW X3 xDrive20d xLine

Most reliable large SUVs

1. BMW X3 petrol (2018-present)

Reliability rating 97.7%

What went wrong? Non-engine electrics 10%, bodywork 7%

The same percentage (17%) of petrol and diesel X3s suffered faults, but the issues with petrol models were less serious. All petrol X3s were repaired for free, compared with 92% of diesels, and 60% of petrols were back on the road within a day, against only 50% of diesels.

Owner’s view “I'm very pleased with my X3 30d. It's covered 29,000 miles since
it was new and has never let me down”


2. Mazda CX-5 petrol (2017-present)

Mazda CX-5

Reliability rating 97.5%

Petrol CX-5s were nearly half as likely to go wrong as diesels, with 12% suffering a problem compared with 21% of diesels. Bodywork and non-engine electrics were the main concerns raised by owners. All repairs were done for free and 63% of issues were put right in a day or less.


3. Honda CR-V (2012-2018)

Honda CR-V

Reliability rating 97.4%

Whether you pick a petrol or diesel CR-V, it’s highly likely to be dependable; only 13% of the cars we were told about went wrong. Engine, exhaust, gearbox / clutch and sat-nav faults were reported, but three quarters of cars could still be driven, with half repaired in a day or less and 100% of the cost covered by Honda.


Least reliable large SUVs

1. Nissan X-Trail (2014-present)

Nissan X-Trail

Reliability rating 59.7%

What went wrong? Brakes 11%, engine electrics 11%, interior trim 11%, non-engine electrics 11%, air-con 6%, battery 6%, bodywork 6%, engine 6%, fuel system 6%, gearbox/clutch 6%, steering 6%, suspension 6%

Among X-Trail owners, 39% reported at least one fault. Only 53% of repairs were free; nearly a quarter (24%) cost more than £1500. A third took less than a day to fix but 24% took more than a week.

Owner’s view “It's a lovely car when it’s all working as it should. Unfortunately, in my case, that was only the first week of ownership”


2. Audi Q5 diesel (2008-2017) 

Audi Q5 driving

Reliability rating 76.7%

Diesel Q5s lag far behind petrol models for dependability; 44% suffered a fault compared with 27% of petrol examples. Suspension accounted for nearly a third of issues, but air-con and other electrical systems were also problematic. Audi covered the cost of 75% of repairs, but some owners paid out £1000-£1500.


3. Land Rover Discovery Sport (2014-present)

Land Rover Discovery Sport (2014 on) front three quarters

Reliability rating 82.1%

Among faults reported by Discovery Sport owners, air-con, battery and engine electrical issues were the most common. While 73% were fixed for free, 5% cost at least £1000. While 40% of the repairs took a day or less, 20% of the cars were out of action for more than a week.


Reliability of large SUVs aged up to five years old

Rank Make and model Score
1.  BMW X3 petrol 2018-present 97.7%
2. Mazda CX-5 petrol 2017-present 97.5%
3. Honda CR-V 2012-2018 97.4%
4. BMW X3 diesel 2018-present 96.5%
5. Ford Kuga petrol 2013-2020 96.1%
6. Skoda Kodiaq diesel 2016-present 96.0%
7. Kia Sorento 2010-2015 95.1%
8. Mazda CX-5 diesel 2017-present 95.0%
9. Peugeot 5008 2017-present 94.6%
10. Jaguar F-Pace 2016-present  93.4%
11. Audi Q5 2018-present 93.3%
12. Skoda Kodiaq petrol 2016-present 93.1%
13. Volvo XC60 petrol 2017-present 92.7%
14. Mercedes GLC 2015-present 92.6%
15. Ford Kuga diesel 2013-2020 92.5%
16. Audi Q5 petrol 2008-2017 87.8%
17. Seat Tarraco 2018-present 87.5%
18. Volvo XC60 diesel 2017-present 87.4%
19. Land Rover Discovery Sport 2014-present 82.1%
20. Audi Q5 diesel 2008-2017 76.7%
21. Nissan X-Trail 2014-present 59.7%