Most (and least) reliable SUVs
There are plenty of SUVs to choose from, but they're not all as dependable as their rugged looks would imply. Here, we reveal the 10 most reliable, and the ones to avoid...
SUVs are popular with families, and that means reliability is important. After all, who wants their car to get stuck at the roadside with small children onboard?
That's where the results of the annual What Car Reliability Survey can be useful. We asked nearly 13,000 car owners to tell us what if their vehicles had suffered any faults in the previous 12 months.
To quantify the responses, we categorised the faults into 15 different areas: air-con, battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, fuel system, gearbox, interior trim, non-engine electrics, sat-nav, steering, suspension and other. And for each fault, we asked owners to tell us how long the car took to be fixed and how much it cost.
This information was used to create a unique reliability rating for each model – 175 in total across 31 brands. Here, we've used our data to compile a countdown of the most – and least – reliable SUVs aged up to five years old.
If you'd like to tell us about your own car, complete our 2021 Reliability Survey.
The most reliable SUVs
10. Volkswagen T-Roc (2017-present)
Reliability rating: 96.0%
Owners told us that 19% of T-Rocs went wrong, with the biggest areas of concern being the engine and non-engine electrics. There were also some issues with engine electrics, brakes and air-con. However, four out of five cars could still be driven and a third were repaired the same day; 90% of work was done under warranty and no bills exceeded £50.
9. Skoda Kodiaq petrol (2016-present)
Reliability rating: 96.5%
Only 17% of petrol-engined Kodiaqs suffered a fault, compared with 30% of diesels. Non-engine electrics were the biggest bugbear, followed by bodywork, engine electrics, the exhaust and interior trim. All of the faulty cars could still be driven and more than half were sorted out in less than a week. Even better, all work was done under warranty.
=8. Mazda CX-5 petrol (2017-present)
Reliability rating: 96.9%
Petrol CX-5s had virtually half as many problems as their diesel counterparts, with 17% going wrong, compared with 30% of diesels. Non-engine electrics were the main issue, followed by bodywork and the gearbox/clutch. Half of the affected cars remained driveable and were repaired in a day or less, and less than one in five took more than a week to put right. All work was done for free.
=8. Porsche Macan (2014-present)
Reliability rating: 96.9%
The Macan is the most dependable luxury SUV. Owners told us that 13% of their cars had gone wrong; just 9% of diesels had a problem and 15% of petrols. The most common problems related to the gearbox/clutch, engine, fuel system and non-engine electrics. All cars could still be driven, though, and two-thirds were rectified in a day or less. Four out of five were fixed under warranty, leaving a small percentage of owners with bills of £750 to £1000.
6. Vauxhall Mokka petrol (2012-2019)
Reliability rating: 97.7%
Owners told us that 19% of Mokkas went wrong, with engine electrics and the exhaust the main areas of concern. All of the troublesome cars remained driveable and two-thirds were rectified in a day or less. Even better, all work was done for free.
5. Ford Kuga (2013-2020)
Reliability rating: 97.8%
Pick a petrol model if you want a dependable large SUV. The best of the bunch is the petrol Kuga, which had a fault rate of only 5% – in contrast to the 16% of diesel Kugas that went wrong. The only problem areas on petrols were the bodywork and gearbox/clutch. Half of faulty cars could still be driven and were put right in a day or less. The others took more than a week to fix, but all work was done for free under warranty.
4. Skoda Karoq petrol (2017-present)
Reliability rating: 97.9%
Although petrol Karoqs suffered more faults than diesels (14% versus 7%), the petrol versions could all still be driven, unlike two-thirds of diesels. The petrols took less time to repair, too. Engine and non-engine electrics were the main trouble spots, followed by a small percentage of issues with interior trim. Four out of five cars were repaired in less than a week, and all work was done under warranty.
Reliability rating: 98.0%
Only 12% of CX-3s had a fault, and electrical gremlins were the only issue, with problems split evenly between non-engine electrics in general and the infotainment system. All of the affected cars remained driveable, while 75% were put right in a day or less and all work was done for free.
2. BMW X1 petrol (2015-present)
Reliability rating: 98.1%
The X1 may be BMW's smallest SUV, but it is the most reliable. And petrol models are best of all, with just 8% of them suffering a fault, compared with 25% of diesels. Problem areas on petrols included the air-con, exhaust, interior trim and non-engine electrics. All of the cars we were told about remained driveable and were fixed in less than a week, and all work was done for free.
1. Mini Countryman (2017-present)
Reliability rating: 98.3%
The Mini Countryman is not only the most dependable small SUV but also our top scorer overall. Only 10% of cars went wrong and electrical issues were the only bugbears. All of the stricken cars could still be driven and two-thirds were put right in less than a week. All work was carried out under warranty.
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