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Best and worst older cars for reliability: small SUVs

We name the most dependable (and most troublesome) used cars from six to 15 years old, based on owners’ experiences...

Suzuki Vitara

The most reliable small SUVs

1. Suzuki Vitara 2015-present

Reliability rating 100%

What went wrong? Nothing

There are plenty of good reasons to buy a Vitara, but the most compelling has to be its faultless reliability record. According to owners, it’s the most steadfast model in Suzuki’s line-up, as well as the best small SUV in our survey. No owners reported a single fault in the previous 12 months of motoring.

Owner comment: “Better than other models we’ve had from mainstream and prestige brands in terms of reliability.”

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2. Kia Soul (2014-2019)

Reliability rating 99.1%

Kia Soul front three quarters

We were told about petrol and diesel Soul models. The former are the best bet if you’re after a dependable small SUV because they were fault-free, while 20% of diesels suffered problems with their suspension. Owners were well looked after, though. All cars were put right at no cost and within a day.

Save money on a used Kia Soul >>

Land Rover Freelander

Only 17% of Freelander owners reported troubles with their cars, setting it apart from many newer, more tech-laden Land Rover models. The battery and non- engine electrics were the main concerns. What’s more, 75% of issues were rectified within a day and no bills exceeded £500.

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The least reliable small SUVs

1. Mini Countryman (2010-2017)

Reliability rating 83.0%

What went wrong? Engine 13%, bodywork 6%, non-engine electrics 6%, steering 6%, suspension 6%

Mini Countryman

Contenders in this hotly contested car class are among the most reliable, so none of our lowest rated small SUVs have an atrocious reliability record. Still, 25% of Countrymans went wrong, with engine, non-engine electrics, steering and suspension issues. Four out of five cars were fixed in less than a week and only one in five cost £751 to £1000.

Owner comment: I really like my car, but it has a number of annoying faults, including the engine warning light regularly lighting up on the dash for no reason.”

2. Nissan Juke (2010-2019)

Reliability rating 85.3%

Nissan Juke petrol 2010-2019

Fewer petrol Jukes suffered faults than diesels: 24% compared with 31%. Both had air-con, exhaust and non-engine electrical issues, with the diesels adding engine and exhaust maladies. Just over a third of cars lingered in garages for more than a week, and petrol owners had the highest bills: 25% were more than £501.

3. Vauxhall Mokka (2012-2016)

Reliability rating 88.4%

2014 Vauxhall Mokka 1.4T 2WD review

Exhaust and engine woes afflicted a quarter of Mokkas, but most problems were quick and easy to sort out. All cars could still be driven and 64% were fixed in a day or less, with 46% of work done for free. Bills came to no more than £200 in most other cases, but a less fortunate 9% shelled out more than £1500.

Reliability of small SUVs aged six to 15 years old

Rank Make and model Score
1. Suzuki Vitara 2015-present 100%
2. Kia Soul 2014-2019 99.1%
3. Land Rover Freelander 2006-2014 91.6%
4. Renault Captur 2013-2019 89.6%
5. Vauxhall Mokka 2012-2016 88.4%
6. Nissan Juke 2010-2019 85.3%
7. Mini Countryman 2010-2017 83.0%