WhatCarAwards banner - desktop

In association with MotorEasy

Most and least reliable used cars: small SUVs

We name the most dependable – and most troublesome – used cars aged from six to 20 years old, based on owners’ experiences...

Kia Soul front three quarters

The most reliable small SUVs

1. Kia Soul diesel (2014-2019)

Reliability rating 100%

What went wrong? Nothing

There are plenty of reasons to buy a Soul. It has chunky, fashionable exterior styling that doesn't resort to retro cues, yet still manages to stand out from the crowd, and has a classy and spacious interior. However, the most compelling reason to buy one over other small SUVs is its utter dependency. Not a single diesel Soul owner in our survey reported any faults with their cars, making it the best little SUV you can buy if reliability is a priority. 

Used Kia cars for sale >>

2. Suzuki Vitara (2015-present)

Reliability rating 99.3%

Suzuki Vitara

Suzuki is known for its rugged SUVs and, although the latest Vitara is more of a city runabout than an off-road tool, it's still extremely durable. A mere 6% of people completing our survey told us their cars had gone wrong, and the only areas to give any grief were the electrics and the sat-nav/infotainment system. Proof that all issues were minor comes from the fact that all cars could still be driven and all were fixed in a day or less. Even better, all work was carried out for free.  

Used Suzuki cars for sale >>

3. Ssangyong Tivoli (2015-present)

Reliability rating 91.6%

Used Ssangyong Tivoli 2015-present

The Tivoli is a rare sight on our roads, but it's worth tracking down if you want a reliable small SUV. Only 6% of the cars we were told about suffered a glitch, and the fuel system was to blame for them all. All cars remained driveable and all remedial work was completed within a day. The only downside is that repair bills cost between £310 and £500. 

Used Ssangyong cars for sale >>

The least reliable small SUVs

3. Nissan Juke (2010-2019)

Reliability rating 84.9%

Nissan Juke petrol 2010-2019

It's costly repairs that bring the score of the Juke down. Owners told us that 13% of those with faulty cars had to pay more than £1500 to get things put right. While Nissan covered the cost of 27% of repairs, around half of owners paid out up to £750. Overall, 23% of the cars reported on went wrong, with the air-con, electrics, engine, exhaust and steering the most common areas of complaint. Most cars could still be driven, but a third were in the garage for more than a week.

2. Land Rover Freelander (2006-2014)

Reliability rating 79.4%

Used car of the week: Land Rover Freelander

The Freelander looks rugged, but it's not the most robust SUV. According to owners, 26% of Freelanders suffered at least one fault, with gearbox woes the most frequently cited complaint, affecting 10% of faulty cars. There were reports of issues with the battery, bodywork, electrics, engine and exhaust. However, 39% of cars were fixed in a day or less and most were back on the road in less than a week. Only 10% were out of action for more than a week. No work was done for free, though, and most owners paid out between £101 and £500, and an unlucky 15% were hit with bills in excess of £1500. 

1. Peugeot 2008 (2013-2019)

Reliability rating 50.6%

Peugeot 2008 1.6 BlueHDi 120 review

Issues with the exhaust system were rife on the previous-generation 2008, affecting 29% of faulty cars. Overall, 44% of the cars reported on went wrong, and the other areas cited by owners included the battery, electrics, engine and suspension. Around a quarter of faulty cars couldn't be driven and a third were out of action for more than a week. Although Peugeot covered the cost of 22% of repairs, most bills ranged from £101 to £750, and some owners paid out more than £1500. 

To read the data for other car classes follow these links:

Small cars here
Family cars here
Executive cars here
Luxury cars here
Family SUVs here
Large SUVs here
Luxury SUVs here
Electric and hybrid cars here
Sports cars here
MPVs here
Car brands here

Reliability of small SUVs aged six to 20 years old

Rank Make and model Score
1. Kia Soul diesel (2014-2019) 100%
2. Suzuki Vitara (2015-present) 9.3%
3. Ssangyong Tivoli (2015-present) 97.2%
4. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross (2013-2022) 90.1%
5. Renault Captur diesel (2013-2019) 88.3%
6. Mini Countryman (2010-2017) 87.3%
7. Vauxhall Mokka X (2012-2016) 86.5%
8. Nissan Juke (2010-2019) 84.9%
9. Land Rover Freelander (2006-2014) 79.4%
10. Peugeot 2008 (2013-2019) 50.6%

Also consider