Most (and least) reliable older large SUVs
A used large SUV may look like a tempting buy, but it'll be costly if it's prone to faults. So, here we reveal the most dependable models – and the ones to avoid...
Large SUVs are pricey when new, making them popular secondhand buys. They're often loaded with equipment that can go wrong, though, so to help you avoid an expensive nightmare, we've compiled a list of the most and lease reliable large SUVs first registered between 2000 and 2015.
To do that, we've used information on older cars from our latest What Car? Reliability Survey. As part of the survey, owners were asked to tell us if their vehicle had suffered a fault in the previous 12 months. If it had, we asked them to say which of 14 categories the problem fitted into. The categories are: air conditioning, battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, fuel system, gearbox, interior trim, non-engine electrics, sat-nav, steering and suspension.
We also asked owners how much their repairs had cost (from 'fixed for free' to 'costing more than £1500 to put right') and how long the car took to be fixed (from 'completed the same day' to 'more than a week'). Using all that information, we've given each car a unique reliability rating.
We’re running the What Car? Reliability Survey again for 2021, so once you’ve read this story, please consider taking part in this year’s survey.
8. Volvo XC60 (2008-2017)
Reliability rating 87.5%
Although owners told us 27% of their XC60s had suffered a fault in the past year, the most common problem areas were minor: non-engine electrics and the bodywork. There were also some reports of problems across a wide range of systems, including the air-con, battery, engine and its electrical systems, exhaust, gearbox/clutch and suspension.
Volvo dealers fixed 58% of faults for free, and owners who had to pay were faced with bills ranging from less than £50 to £1000, although only 8% of repairs cost between £750 and £1000. More than 90% of cars could still be driven, and 75% were put right in a day or less.
7. Honda CR-V diesel (2012-2018)
Reliability rating 88.9%
Diesel-engined CR-Vs haven't proved as dependable as the petrols – see further down our list. The main cause for concern was the battery, followed by a small percentage of issues with the bodywork, brakes, engine and non-engine electrics, exhaust and gearbox/clutch.
Although 22% of repairs were done for free, most owners paid out between £100 and £500, and one in five had to pay more than £1500. Most cars could still be driven, half were fixed in a day or less and all were back on the road in less than a week.
6. BMW X3 (2010-2018)
Reliability rating 89.7%
Just over one in five (22%) X3s went wrong according to owners, with suspension and engine faults the most common problems. There were also some issues with the brakes and engine and non-engine electrics. A quarter of cars were fixed for free, and most owners who had to pay shelled out between £51 and £500. An unlucky 6% were landed with bills of £1000 to £1500. Two thirds of repairs were completed the same day, but 18% of cars took more than a week to fix.
Reliability rating 89.8%
Only 11% of Q5s went wrong, with the brakes the biggest gripe, followed by the fuel system and non-engine electrics. Half of repairs were done for free, but those that weren't covered by Audi or its dealers cost between £501 and £1000. Only 50% of cars could still be driven, but 75% were put right in less than a week.
4. Mazda CX-5 (2012-2017)
Reliability rating 91.5%
Only 12% of CX-5s suffered a fault, with issues split evenly between the battery, brakes, engine, non-engine electrics and suspension. One in five cars was put right for free, but 40% of owners paid £201-£300 and the other 40% paid £1000 or more. The good news is that all cars remained driveable and two thirds were back on the road in less than a week.
3. Toyota RAV4 (2006-2012)
Reliability rating 95.7%
Although the earliest examples of this RAV4 are getting on for 15 years old, only 10% of cars went wrong, with the battery and suspension the only troublesome areas. Half the cars we were told about could still be driven, and most issues were remedied in a day or less. One in five was fixed for free, and owners who had to pay shelled out between £101 and £1500.
=1. Honda CR-V petrol (2012-2018)
Reliability rating 100%
The previous generation of Honda’s large SUV is one of the most dependable cars on our roads, even though the earliest examples are approaching nine years old. Owners told us that none of their CR-Vs had gone wrong in the previous year, giving the model a 100% reliability rating.
Owner comment: “My wife and I both own CR-Vs and are firm fans because of its faultless reliability and great build quality.”
=1. Toyota RAV4 (2013-2019)
Reliability rating 100%
Toyota has a well-deserved reputation for reliability, and the model that rams home that point better than any other is the previous-generation RAV4. Available with the option of efficient hybrid power, it joins the Honda CR-V in earning a 100% reliability rating, with not a single owner reporting a fault in the previous 12 months.
Owner comment: “My car hasn't let me down. I usually change cars every three years, but I can't find a reason to sell this one.”