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Reliability Survey: Most and least reliable small SUVs

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 small SUVs in the UK...

Small SUV reliability header

The small SUV class is one of the fastest-growing, with new models seemingly arriving every week. Although they're not the roomiest cars on sale, they tend to have chunky styling and some have fairly high driving positions. 

The good news is that this popular car class is proving robust. In fact, it's consistently the highest scoring sector in our annual Reliability Survey, meaning most of the small SUVs you can choose from will be a sound bet as a second-hand buy.

How the survey was carried out

To compile the annual What Car? Reliability Survey, conducted in association with MotorEasy, we ask thousands of car owners to tell us how dependable their cars have been over the previous 24 months. The survey was open for six months and was sent out to whatcar.com readers and subscribers. 

To assess the seriousness of any faults that are reported on by owners, we ask them to tell us how long each one kept the car off the road and how much it cost to fix. We use a combination of these two details to create a reliability rating for each model and brand. The latest survey had 21,732 responses and that enabled us to report on 178 models (up to five years old) from 32 brands. 

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

Most reliable small SUVs

1. Suzuki Ignis (2016-present)

Suzuki Ignis 2022 front

Reliability rating 99.4%

What went wrong? Gearbox/clutch 5% 

The Suzuki Ignis is one of the smallest SUVs you can buy, so it might not suit everyone, but it is the most dependable. Just 5% of the cars we were told about had a failure. Although issues with the gearbox/ clutch could be serious, they were resolved swiftly and cheaply: all cars were back on the road in less than a day and all remedial work was done for free.

Owner’s view: “So pleased I chose this little beauty; it’s just so dependable.”

2. Mazda CX-3 (2016-2023)

Mazda CX-3 Front

Reliability rating 98.3%

The 2016-2023 Mazda CX-3 isn’t perfect (10% of the cars in our survey went wrong), but everything that went wrong was fixed for free, so no owners were landed with surprise bills. The bodywork and brakes were the only areas to cause upset, and all cars could still be driven and were put right and back on the road in less than a week.

3. Hyundai Kona (2017-2023)

Hyundai Kona 2022 front cornering

Reliability rating 98.2%

Petrol-engined versions of the Hyundai Kona suffered fewer faults than their electric cousins: 10% went wrong, versus 21% of examples of the Hyundai Kona Electric. Hyundai paid for all repairs, but two-thirds took up to seven days to fix and the rest took even longer. Problem areas included engine and non-engine electrics and the sat-nav/infotainment system.

4. Audi Q2 (2016-present)

Used Audi Q2 front

Reliability rating 98.1%

Only minor issues that were quick and affordable to fix bothered Audi Q2 owners. Overall, 11% of the cars reported on went wrong with issues spread between the air-con system, bodywork, engine, interior trim and non-engine electrics. All affected cars could still be driven and 80% of them were back on the road in less than a week. Similarly, 80% of remedial work was done for free, and owners who had to contribute to costs paid no more than £50 per fault. 

5. Toyota Yaris Cross (2021-present)

Toyota Yaris Cross front right tracking

Reliability rating 98.0%

Electrical issues were the most common complaint from Toyota Yaris Cross owners, who told us 13% of their cars suffered a glitch. There were also a small percentage of problems with the bodywork. Although 60% of faults were rectified in a day or less, the other 40% took more than a week to put right. The best news for owners is that all affected cars were fixed for free by Toyota and its dealers. 

6. Mini Countryman (2017-present)

Best used hybrid small SUV 2022 - Mini Countryman PHEV front

Reliability rating 97.7%

Only 5% of the Mini Countrymans in our survey went wrong, but 25% of those that did were out of action for more than a week. And some issues were serious enough to render 50% of cars undriveable. Problem areas included the battery, bodywork, gearbox/clutch and non-engine electrics. On a positive note, Mini covered the cost of all repairs. 

7. Honda HR-V (2015-2022)

Honda HR-V 2021 front

Reliability rating 97.4%

Although 9% of the 2015-2022 Honda HR-Vs in our survey had a problem, most were resolved quickly and at little or no cost to owners. Half of faulty cars were fixed in a day or less and the rest were put right in less than a week. Honda paid for the repairs for 67% of vehicles, and only 17% of vehicles cost up to £500 to get back on the road. Problems spanned a wide range of components including the air-con, battery, engine electrics, exhaust, gearbox/clutch and sat-nav/infotainment system.  

8. Volkswagen T-Cross (2019-present)

Volkswagen T-Cross front

Reliability rating 96.9%

Owners told us that 15% of their Volkswagen T-Cross small SUVs had any bugbears, with the electrics and exhaust the main culprits. Volkswagen paid for the repairs on 83% of cars, and those who had to pay weren’t asked for more than £50. Although all cars could still be driven, two-thirds were out of action for more than a week. 

9. Suzuki Vitara (2015-present)

Suzuki Vitara 2022 front right tracking

Reliability rating 96.7%

The Suzuki Vitara only lost marks because more than 50% of the cars reported on were in the workshop for more than a week. Overall, 8% of the cars we were told about went wrong; the most commonly cited problem areas were the gearbox/clutch and suspension. While Suzuki covered the cost of 78% of repairs, none of the remaining bills topped £200.  

10. Vauxhall Mokka X (2016-2019)

Vauxhall Mokka X 1.4T Ecotec Elite

Reliability rating 96.3%

Fourteen percent of the 2016-2019 Vauxhall Mokka Xs reported on went wrong, but two thirds of issues were resolved in a day or less, and the rest were put right in less than a week. Vauxhall covered the cost of all remedial work. Problem areas included the brakes, exhaust and interior trim.  

Least reliable small SUVs

1. Citroën C3 Aircross (2017-present)

Citroën C3 Aircross front cornering

Reliability rating 84.3%

What went wrong? Air-con 6%, bodywork 6%, brakes 6%, engine 6%, engine electrics 6%, non-engine electrics 6%

The Citroën C3 Aircross isn’t ageing well. Twenty-nine percent of the cars we were told about went wrong, suffering issues in a wide range of areas. Although Citroën covered the cost of 71% of repairs, 14% of owners paid up to £500 for their cars to be fixed, and another 14% paid more than £1500. No repairs were swift: 43% spent up to a week in the workshop and the rest were there for longer than that.

Owner’s view “The electrics are very iffy and have a mind of their own.Very disappointing for a three-year-old car.”

2. MG ZS petrol (2017-present)

Best used electric small SUV 2022 - MG ZS EV front

Reliability rating 87.7%

Petrol versions of the MG ZS struck more problems than the pure electric version (the MG ZS EV), with a fault rate of 33% (versus 25%). Engine and non-engine electrical systems gave the most grief. MG paid for 93% of repairs, and no bills topped £200, but around half of the cars reported on took more than a week to fix.

3. Skoda Kamiq (2019-present)

Skoda Kamiq front cornering

Reliability rating 88.6%

A total of 43% of examples of the Skoda Kamiq went wrong, mainly with engine, exhaust or sat-nav/ infotainment glitches. Skoda paid for 93% of repairs, and those who had to pay didn’t need to find more than £50 per fault. However, only 22% of cars were put right within a day, with 35% being out of action for more than a week.

4. Kia Stonic (2017-present)

Kia Stonic front cornering

Reliability rating 88.8%

Just one in four Kia Stonic owners reported a fault with their car, but it scored only fractionally better than the Kamiq overall. Why? Well, it’s partly down to cost. Some respondents reported paying as much as £750 to fix a single fault, although a majority (71%) were still put right free of charge. Stonics also tended to spend longer getting fixed, too; 71% took more than a week to repair.

5. Renault Captur (2019-present)

Renault Captur 2021 front tracking

Reliability rating 89.8%

Problems with the Renault Captur were limited to the battery, engine electrics and gearbox/clutch, but most were pretty serious – 80% rendered cars undriveable, and three-quarters of them took more than a week to fix. To make matters worse, 20% of repairs reportedly cost owners between £751 and £1000.

6. Ford Puma (2019-present)

Ford Puma front cornering

Reliability rating 90.0%

The list of problems with the Ford Puma, meanwhile, was rather more diverse. For the 22% of cars that went wrong, faults with the battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, gearbox/clutch, interior trim/seats, non-engine electrics and sat-nav/infotainment were reported. In better news, 77% of cars remained driveable, and most got fixed within a week.

7. Seat Arona (2018-present)

Seat Arona front cornering

Reliability rating 91.8%

The results for the Seat Arona share a pattern with those of the Puma. Faults spanned the air-con, battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, interior trim/seats, non-engine electrics, sat-nav/infotainment, steering and suspension. Again, a majority (in this case 96%) remained driveable and, while two thirds were fixed under warranty, some owners spent up to £500 on repairs.

8. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross (2013-2021)

LT Suzuki SX4 S-Cross front cornering

Reliability rating 93.6%

The good news for any current or prospective Suzuki SX-4 S-Cross (2013-2021) owners is that every one of the reported faults was put right in less than a day, and none were serious enough to stop cars being driven. However, of the 17% of cars that went wrong, 40% cost their owners between £201 and £300 to fix; the rest were fixed under warranty.

9. Volkswagen T-Roc (2018-present)

Driving the Volkswagen T-Roc

Reliability rating 95.0%

The Volkswagen T-Roc is far from being the least reliable car around – it’s actually more reliable than the most reliable seven-seater, the Volvo XC90. However, it’s not without its problems. The most common bugbears related to the brakes, but owners also reported faults with the bodywork, engine electrics, gearbox/clutch, interior trim/seats, non-engine electrics and sat-nav/infotainment. Fifty-three percent of faulty cars were repaired in less than a day, and almost all were fixed under warranty, although the small percentage that weren’t cost their owners between £751 and £1000.

10. Dacia Duster (2018-present)

Dacia Duster 2021 front

Reliability rating 95.2%

An optimist could quite reasonably look at the current Dacia Duster not as the 10th least reliable small SUV, but as the 13th most reliable. Just 14% of cars in our survey suffered a fault, and 64% of issues took less than a day to fix. All were repaired under warranty, although some (21%) spent more than a week in the garage.

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 family SUVs
Most reliable large SUVs
Most reliable seven-seaters
Most reliable electric cars
Most reliable electric SUVs
Most reliable sports cars
Most reliable car brands
Most reliable diesel cars

Reliability of small SUVs aged up to five years old

Rank Make and model Score
1 Suzuki Ignis (2016-present) 99.4%
2 2016-2023 Mazda CX-3 98.3%
3 Hyundai Kona (2017-2023) 98.2%
4 Audi Q2 (2016-present) 98.1%
5 Toyota Yaris Cross (2021-present) 98.0%
6 Mini Countryman (2017-present) 97.7%
7 2015-2022 Honda HR-V 97.4%
8 Volkswagen T-Cross (2019-present) 96.9%
9 Suzuki Vitara (2015-present) 96.7%
10 2016-2019 Vauxhall Mokka X 96.3%
11 2013-2019 Renault Captur 95.9%
12 Nissan Juke (2020-present) 95.4%
13 Dacia Duster (2018-present) 95.2%
14 Volkswagen T-Roc (2018-present) 95.0%
15 2013-2021 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 93.6%
16 Seat Arona (2018-present) 91.8%
17 Ford Puma (2019-present) 90.0%
18 Renault Captur (2019-present) 89.8%
19 Kia Stonic (2017-present) 88.8%
20 Skoda Kamiq (2019-present) 88.6%
21 MG ZS petrol (2017-present) 87.7%
22 Citroën C3 Aircross (2017-present) 84.3%

About the report author

Claire Evans has been a motoring journalist for more than 30 years with a focus on consumer issues for much of that time. She was the advice columnist for Carweek magazine in the 1990s, and also spent six years working on motoring content for Which?.

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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