Best and worst older cars for reliability: small and family SUVs

How dependable are cars as they get older? Here’s what the owners of small and family SUVs between six and 15 years of age have told us...

Skoda Yeti

Most reliable Skoda Yeti diesel (2009-2017)

Reliability rating 96.0%

What went wrong? Air-con 3% Bodywork 3% Exhaust system 3% 

The diesel Skoda Yeti suffered nearly three times fewer faults than its petrol counterpart: 8% versus 29%. Diesel afflictions were less serious, too, encompassing air-con, bodywork and exhaust issues, rather than the engine and gearbox woes of petrol Yetis. Most cars could still be driven and repair bills ranged from £50 to £750. 

Owner comment: “It’s well built; it’s passed three MOT tests without needing any remedial work” 

BMW X1 (2009-2015)

Reliability rating 95.6%

Only 8% of BMW X1s had a problem that related to either the brakes or gearbox. While all cars remained driveable, some took more than a week to put right, and repair bills ranged from £201 to £750.

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Nissan Juke (2010-2019)

Reliability rating 93.9%

The little Nissan Juke is a far more dependable choice than the larger Qashqai. Owners said 18% of cars had a problem affecting air-con, battery and brakes in equal measure. All of the cars could still be driven and most were repaired the same day, with costs ranging from £51 to £300. 

Nissan Qashqai

What went wrong? Battery 10% Brakes 8% Air-con 4% Engine electrics 4% Gearbox 4% Non-engine electrics 4% Bodywork 2% Engine 2% Fuel system 2% Sat-nav 2% Steering 2% Suspension 2% 

Nearly a third (32%) of Nissan Qashqais suffered a fault across a wide range of areas, with the battery and brakes the most frequently cited. Some cars were put right the same day, but others spent more than a week in the garage. While a small number were fixed for free, most cost a few hundred pounds and some more than £1500. 

Owner comment: “It’s a roomy family car, but far too much has gone wrong in the year since we bought it”

Nissan Qashqai diesel (2014-on)

Reliability rating 78.8%

The latest Qashqai isn’t proving much better than the older version for reliability; we have data for diesel models only, and owners told us 44% of them went wrong. Air-con was the biggest bugbear, followed by battery issues. Although all of the faulty cars could still be driven and some were fixed under warranty, more than half cost between £300 and £750.

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Volkswagen Tiguan (2007-2016)

Reliability rating 78.8%

The previous-generation Volkswagen Tiguan definitely has its issues; owners reported faults on 36% of cars. The exhaust was the most commonly cited area, followed by suspension, the fuel system and non-engine electrics. A third of cars couldn’t be driven, and although some repairs were done for free, some owners paid out £500-£1500.