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In association with MotorEasy

2023 What Car? Reliability Survey: Most and least reliable 7-seaters

In our annual Reliability Survey, we ask readers to rate the dependability of cars aged up to five years old. Here we list the most and least reliable 7-seaters in the UK...

Reliability seven-seaters header

Anyone with a larger family or the need to transport up to six people occasionally will appreciate the added versatility of a seven-seat car.

Buyers can choose between large SUVs and MPVs, but when it comes to reliability survey results, they need to be rather selective because MPVs are one of the lowest-scoring car classes. 

In contrast, large SUVs are mostly pretty robust, scoring 92.6% in last year's survey and 92.9 this time round.

How we compiled the survey

To create the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, conducted in association with MotorEasy, we gathered ownership information from 21,732 motorists, by asking them to tell us about any faults their cars had suffered in the previous 24 months. 

For every car that went wrong, we asked how much it cost to repair and how long it was off the road – using these two pieces of information we created reliability ratings for 178 models from 32 brands. 

To add more detail for each model and warn potential buyers about common faults, we also noted where the faults occurred, asking owners to choose from one of 14 different component areas. 

For this story, we've pulled out all the data for seven-seater cars aged up to five years old. 

The 2024 What Car? Reliability Survey is live, tell us about your car now

Most reliable 7-seaters

1. Volvo XC90 (2015-present)

Volvo XC90 used hybrid large SUV front cornering

Reliability rating 94.8%

What went wrong? Non-engine electrics 7%, battery 4%, exhaust 4%, fuel system 4%, sat-nav/infotainment 4%, suspension 4%

Although 25% of the Volvo XC90 we were told about had suffered a fault, none was costly or time-consuming to put right. Very few of the afflicted cars were undriveable, and 50% of the issues were sorted within a day. Volvo and its dealers covered the cost of all remedial work.

Owner’s view: “My car is a hybrid, and I’m impressed with its reliability.”

2. Audi Q7 (2015-present)

Audi Q7 2021 front cornering shot

Reliability rating 92.8%

The Audi Q7 is one of our favourite seven-seaters, and also among the most dependable. Although 21% of the cars we were told about went wrong, 43% were repaired in a day or less, and 86% of work was done for free. However, 14% of cars cost £501 to £750 to fix. Fault areas included the engine, electrics, infotainment and steering.

3. Skoda Kodiaq petrol (2016-present)

Skoda Kodiaq front right driving

Reliability rating 92.2%

Electrical issues were the main bugbear with both petrol and diesel versions of the Skoda Kodiaq but the former had fewer engine faults. Half of the petrol models were fixed within a day and most were sorted in less than a week (whereas 21% of diesels were laid up for more than seven days), while the work was free for 60% of their owners.

4. Skoda Kodiaq diesel (2016-present)

Skoda Kodiaq front cornering

Reliability rating 91.3%

Diesel Skoda Kodiaqs had slightly more issues than their petrol counterparts: 25% of diesels went wrong compared with 24% of petrols. As well as electrical issues that affected the engine and other areas of the car, diesel owners complained about problems with their cars' brake systems, engines and exhaust systems. Although 47% of issues were resolved in a day or less, 20% of cars were in the workshop for more than a week and the same percentage were rendered undriveable by faults. While Skoda covered the cost of 68% of repairs, some owners were left with bills of up to £500 per fault. 

5. Mercedes GLB (2019-present)

Grey Mercedes GLB front right driving

Reliability rating 90.9%

Slow repairs were the biggest headache of the 31% of Mercedes GLB owners who told us their cars had gone wrong in the previous 24 months. Although most cars could still be driven, 46% were in the garage for more than a week. Non-engine electrical system and air-con faults were the most common gripes, followed by issues with the bodywork, brakes, fuel system and interior trim. The good news is that Mercedes and its dealers covered the cost of all repair work. 

6. Land Rover Discovery (2017-present)

Land Rover Discovery front cornering

Reliability rating 90.7%

The Land Rover Discovery doesn't have the highest fault rate at 24%, but when things do go wrong, they can take some time to put right. According to owners, 40% of cars were rendered undriveable by faults and 90% of those that went wrong took more than a week to fix. However, Land Rover paid for all repairs, so no owners were left out of pocket. The 12-volt battery and engine were the most common causes for concern. 

Least reliable 7-seaters

1. Seat Tarraco (2018-present)

Used Seat Tarraco front cornering

Reliability rating 85.3%

What went wrong? Engine 19%, non-engine electrics 19%, sat-nav/ infotainment 19%, air-con 13%, bodywork 6%, interior trim 6%

The Seat Tarraco is closely related to the Skoda Kodiaq, but it doesn’t share that model’s dependability. Owners told us a hefty 44% of their Tarracos went wrong, with faults in a broad spectrum of areas. Still, 76% of those issues were resolved in a day or less, and 69% of the remedial work was done for free. Of the owners who had to pay for the repairs, none had to find more than £200.

Owner’s view “My car’s windscreen wipers seem to have a mind of their own and the engine stop- start system works only intermittently.”

2. Land Rover Discovery Sport (2014-present)

Land Rover Discovery Sport 2021 front left cornering

Reliability rating 88.0%

The proportion of Land Rover Discovery Sport cars that went wrong wasn’t excessively high (22%), but 25% of the faulty ones were undriveable and half were out of action for more than a week. Still, 92% of repairs were done for free. The air-con, electrics and infotainment gave the most grief.

3. Peugeot 5008 (2017-present)

Used Peugeot 5008 front

Reliability rating 90.5%

Although at 17%, the fault rate of the Peugeot 5008 isn’t too bad, only 38% of glitches were sorted for free. That left 12% of owners with bills of up to £50 and half having to pay £101 to £500. All cars could still be driven and three-quarters were put right within a day. Problem areas included the bodywork, electrics and gearbox/clutch.

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

All cars and SUVs here
Most reliable small cars
Most reliable family cars
Most reliable executive cars
Most reliable luxury cars
Most reliable small SUVs
Most reliable family SUVs
Most reliable large SUVs
Most reliable electric cars
Most reliable electric SUVs
Most reliable sports cars
Most reliable car brands
Most reliable diesel cars

Reliability of seven-seaters aged up to five years old

Rank Make and model   Score
1 Volvo XC90 (2015-present)   94.8%
2 Audi Q7 (2015-present)   92.8%
3 Skoda Kodiaq petrol (2016-present)   92.2%
4 Skoda Kodiaq diesel (2016-present)   91.3%
5 Mercedes GLB (2019-present)   90.9%
6 Land Rover Discovery (2017-present)   90.7%
7 Peugeot 5008 (2017-present)   90.5%
8 Land Rover Discovery Sport (2014-present)   88.0%
9 Seat Tarraco (2018-present)   85.3%

About the report author

Claire Evans has been a motoring journalist for more than 30 years, and has focussed on consumer issues for much of that time. She was the advice columnist for Carweek magazine in the 1990s, helping car owners with faulty cars get the right level of reparation from car makers.

She also spent six years working on motoring content for Which?, and it is here she oversaw the running of the charity's annual used car reliability survey.

Claire launched the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2017, and since then has helped thousands of buyers choose the most reliable new cars and SUVs, as well as the most dependable used cars.

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