In association with MotorEasy
Most and least reliable family SUVs
Family SUVs might be bought for their style and practicality, but they also need to be dependable. So, which suffer the least faults and which spend half their time in the garage?...
Family SUVs need many talents. Not only do they have to be comfortable and refined, with a roomy and well-kitted out interior, but they also need to be dependable. After all, no one wants to be left stranded at the roadside with child passengers on board.
That's where the What Car? Reliability Survey can help. Using feedback from more than 13,000 car owners, we've rated 178 different car models spanning 30 car brands.
We've given each model a unique reliability rating based on how many faults it suffered in the previous year, how long each problem kept the car off the road for and, crucially, how much the owner had to pay to get the fault rectified.
Here, we reveal the best and worst family SUVs aged up to five years old. We're running our reliability survey again at the moment, so once you’ve read the story, please let us know how dependable your car has been.
The 10 most reliable family SUVs
10. Mazda CX-30 (2020-present)
Reliability rating 96.3%
Although 25% of the CX-30s we were told about had gone wrong over the previous 12 months, the majority of issues were minor. All cars remained driveable and nearly three-quarters were repaired within a day. Even better, Mazda footed the bill for all the work, leaving no owners with anything to pay. The main problem area was the battery, followed by the sat-nav and bodywork.
9. Skoda Karoq petrol (2017-present)
Reliability rating 96.5%
Petrol-powered Karoqs had marginally more faults than diesels: their fault rate was 18%, compared with 17% for diesels. Some issues were common to cars with both fuel types, including problems with the bodywork, brakes and interior trim, but petrols had fewer electrical glitches. Petrol model problems were less severe, too, with most cars driveable and fixed in less than a week. In contrast, nearly 30% of diesels couldn't be driven and spent a week or more in the garage. All repair work was done for free, though.
8. Volvo XC40 diesel (2017-present)
Reliability rating 96.6%
Unusually, diesel XC40s have a better reputation for dependability than their petrol counterparts. Both fuel types suffered a similar percentage of faults – 22% for diesels, 19% for petrols – the former were far quicker and easier to fix. All diesels could still be driven, 43% were put right in less than a week, and a further 43% were fixed in a day or less. In contrast, 35% of petrols were undriveable and out of action for more than a week. Diesel owners had no repair bills while 7% of those with petrol cars paid over £1500.
Reliability rating 96.9%
The Kadjar is based on the same platform as the Nissan Qashqai, but is proving a more robust proposition. Only 17% of the cars reported on went wrong, with problems relating to the air-con, engine electrics, interior trim and sat-nav. All cars could still be driven and 80% were out of the garage within a day. Some cars would be outside of the Renault warranty period, but 80% of work was done for free and no repair bills topped £200.
6. Kia Sportage petrol (2016-2021)
Reliability rating 97.0%
With less than half the problems of the diesel Sportage (11% compared with 24%), the petrol model is the one to go for if reliability is your priority. Owners told us there were a small percentage of issues with the air-con, brakes, engine, gearbox and non-engine electrics. Half of the reported faults were rectified in a day or less and only 11% of cars spent more than a week in the garage. The only limiting factor is that while 87% of work was done for free, some owners faced bills ranging from £51 to £1500.
=4. BMW X2 (2018-present)
Reliability rating 97.7%
The X2 has an almost blemish-free reliability record, with just 7% of cars going wrong. The only areas affected were the exhaust and non-engine electrics. All cars remained driveable and spent less than a week being fixed. Even better, all work was carried out at no cost to the owner.
Reliability rating 97.7%
Although 12% of Dusters suffered a glitch, all issues were resolved swiftly and efficiently according to owners. All cars could still be driven, 43% were fixed in a day or less and no owners were presented with repair bills. Problem areas included the battery, exhaust, non-engine electrics, sat-nav and steering.
3. Hyundai Tucson (2015-2020)
Reliability rating 97.8%
The Tucson is proving a rugged family SUV, with only 7% of owners reporting a problem with their cars. Although all repairs were carried out for free, it took dealers more than a week to remedy the issues on 80% of the faulty cars. Glitches with engine electrics were the most frequent issue, followed by faults with the battery and fuel system.
2. BMW X1 petrol (2015-present)
Reliability rating 98.4%
If you're after a dependable BMW X1, pick a petrol model because they were afflicted by nearly a third fewer problems than diesel ones, with a fault rate of 11% compared with 15% for diesels. The cost of all repairs to petrol examples was covered by BMW and two-thirds of the issues were rectified in a day or less. The only problematic areas were the bodywork, interior trim and sat-nav.
1. Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (2017-2021)
Reliability rating 100%
What went wrong? Nothing
Mitsubishi announced that it was pulling out of the UK market in 2020 and you're unlikely to be able to buy a new model any more. However, the Eclipse Cross is well worth a look nearly-new if you're after a roomy and rugged family SUV. Those who already own one told us that their cars hadn’t put a foot wrong in the past year.
Owner’s view “The fact that my car came with a five-year warranty as standard says a lot about its excellent build quality”
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