Most and least reliable older SUVs

There are plenty of temptingly-priced used SUVs on sale, but which will give you years of trouble-free motoring, and which are prone to problems?...

Most and least reliable older SUVs

SUVs are hugely popular and that means there are plenty to choose from on the secondhand market. However, buying used can mean you're taking on someone else's problem child, so you need to pick carefully.

That's where the What Car? Reliability Survey comes in. With data from nearly 13,000 car owners, we've rated 175 models from 31 brands. For each car, we asked if it had suffered any faults in the previous 12 months, and if so, in which of 14 different areas: air-con, battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, fuel system, exhaust system, gearbox/clutch, infotainment/dashboard, interior trim, non-engine electrics, steering and suspension. 

Each model has been given a unique reliability rating based on how costly its faults were to repair and how long it spent out of action. Those that landed their owners with the biggest bills and lingered in the garage for the longest get the lowest ratings, while those that hardly put a foot wrong gain the highest scores. 

Here we use that data to name the most and least dependable SUVs, aged between five and 20 years old.

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The 10 most reliable older SUVs

10. Range Rover Sport (2013-present)

Range Rover Sport '15 plate front corner

What Car? Reliability Rating 76.5%

Only 13% of Range Rover Sport owners reported a fault with their car, with the bodywork, gearbox/ clutch and engine electrics being the most common gripes.

A quarter of those cars were undriveable and two-thirds spent more than a week off the road. Almost half of the work was done for free, but 9% of bills totalled £1000 to £1500. 

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9. Ford Kuga (2008-2013)

Ford Kuga

What Car? Reliability Rating 81.9%

Although the Kuga is one of the lowest-rated large SUVs, it's not terribly unreliable, it's just up against a lot of very dependable rivals.  21% of Kugas surveyed went wrong, with the exhaust, gearbox/clutch and suspension being the biggest causes for concern.

Four out of five cars could still be driven, but 20% spent more than a week in the garage. A third of owners paid out less than £200; the rest spent between £301 and £1500. 

BMW X5 2015 front

What Car? Reliability Rating 86.1%

The previous-generation X5 is pretty dependable. Although 29% of the cars surveyed went wrong, four out of five could still be driven and nearly two-thirds were put right within a day. The only areas of concern were the exhaust system, air-con and engine electrics. 

While 20% of work was done under warranty, the rest had to pay between £50 and more than £1500.

Read our full used BMW X5 review >>

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7. Mini Countryman (2010-2017)

Mini Countryman

What Car? Reliability Rating 87.1%

Only 17% of Countryman owners told us their cars had gone wrong, with the issues split evenly between the bodywork, infotainment and the engine.

Repair work wasn’t carried out swiftly; two-thirds of cars were in the workshop for more than a week, and while a third of cars cost less than £200 to fix, two-thirds cost more than £1500.

Volvo XC60

What Car? Reliability Rating 87.5%

Like the used Ford Kuga, the XC60 is in the bottom three large SUVs for durability, but it's really not a very unreliable car. Although owners told us 27% of their XC60s had suffered a fault, most of the problems were minor, affecting the bodywork or electrical components.

Four out of five cars could still be driven and 75% were back on the road in a day or less, with 58% of the work being done under warranty. Owners who had to pay faced bills of between £50 and £1000. 

Read our full used Volvo XC60 review >>

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5. Vauxhall Mokka petrol (2012-2019)

Vauxhall Mokka X 1.4T Ecotec Elite

What Car? Reliability Rating 95.2%

If you’re considering buying a Mokka, go for a petrol model, because it’s almost half as likely to suffer a fault as a diesel (15% versus 29%). The brakes and engine cooling system were the only areas to give problems.

All cars remained driveable and were fixed in less than a week, with half of the work done for free and half costing between £201 and £300.

Read our full used Vauxhall Mokka review >>

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4. Toyota RAV4 (2006-2012)

Toyota RAV4

What Car? Reliability Rating 95.7%

Although the earliest examples of this RAV4 are getting on for 15 years old, only 10% of cars went wrong, and faults were in the areas of the battery and suspension.

Half could still be driven, issues were remedied in a day or less, 19% of work was done for free and those who had to pay shelled out between £101 and £1500.

Read our full used Toyota RAV4 review >>

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3. Audi Q3 (2011-2018)

Audi Q3

What Car? Reliability Rating 96.5%

The Q3 is the most dependable car in the small and family SUV category. Only 12% of Q3 owners reported having had any problems with their car in the previous 12 months.

The cars that did go wrong could still be driven and were rectified in a day or less. A third of the repair bills were less than £50 and no owners had to pay out more than £300.

Honda CR-V

What Car? 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. 

Read our full used Honda CR-V review >>

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=1. Toyota RAV4 (2013-2019)

Toyota RAV4 2.5

What Car? 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 as the most dependable older SUV, with not a single owner reporting a fault in the previous 12 months.