The most - and least - reliable large SUVs

Large SUVs are the must-have family motors, so they need to be practical, durable and dependable. We reveal the most – and least – reliable models...

Large SUVs are relied on by parents to ferry children around in comfort and safety.

Most and least reliable large SUVs

So, as well as possessing sturdy interiors and capacious boots, they need to be dependable. That's where the What Car? Reliability Survey can help.

We asked nearly 13,000 people to tell us about any faults that their cars had suffered during the past 12 months, how long the problem kept the car off the road and how much they'd had to pay to get it fixed.

Those that had the fewest problems and were cheapest to fix gained the top ratings in the study, while those that languished in workshops for days on end and racked up expensive repair bills were given the lowest scores. Here we name the most and least dependable large SUVs aged up to five years old.

We're currently running our reliability survey again, so once you’ve read the story, please tell us about your own car. 

Top 10 most reliable large SUVs

Used Volvo XC60 long-term test review

=10. Volvo XC60 (2017-present)

The latest XC60 is proving pretty bulletproof. Although 20% of the cars we were told about suffered a fault, most problems were minor. Non-engine electrical issues were the most common, followed by the bodywork, engine electrics and fuel system faults. 

Read our full Volvo XC60 review

Volvo XC60 (cont.)

2017 Volvo XC60 D4 Momentum - interior

All cars could still be driven and two-thirds were put right in less than a week with all work done under warranty. 

Score 94.8%

=10. Volvo XC60 (2008-2017)

Used Volvo XC60 long-term test review

Impressively, the previous generation XC60 is proving just as dependable as the latest version. Owners told us 20% of their cars went wrong, with non-engine electrics the most common problem area. There were also a small percentage of reports of issues with the bodywork, the engine and its electrics and interior trim. 

Read our full used Volvo XC60 review

Volvo XC60 (cont.)

Volvo XC60 interior

Three-quarters of cars were still drivable and were put right in a day or less, and all repairs were carried out for free. 

Score 94.8%

8. Ford Kuga diesel (2013-2020)

Ford Kuga

Only 15% of diesel Kuga owners reported a fault, and the majority of issues were minor, relating to non-engine electrics. There were also some reports of problems with the battery and braking system. 

Read our full used Ford Kuga review

Ford Kuga (cont.)

New Mazda CX-5 & Ford Kuga vs Skoda Kodiaq

Virtually all cars could still be driven and most were put right in less than a week; 86% of work was carried out under warranty, and no bills exceeded £750. 

Score 95.0%

7. Kia Sorento (2015-2017)

Kia Sorento

Nearly a quarter of Sorentos suffered a fault, with the braking system accounting for 14% of issues. Other problem areas included the engine and its electrical systems, interior trim and non-engine electrics.

Read our used Kia Sorento review

Save money on a Kia Sorento >>

Kia Sorento (cont.)

Kia Sorento - interior

Although three-quarters of cars couldn't be driven and many took more than a week to fix, all repairs were done for free. 

Score 95.1%

=6. BMW X3 (2010-2018)

BMW X3

We were told that 23% of previous-generation X3s suffered a fault. Engine electrics and the suspension were the most common problem areas, followed by a small percentage of issues with the brakes, engine and non-engine electrics. 

Read our full used BMW X3 review

BMW X3 (cont.)

BMW X3 - interior

Virtually all cars could still be driven and nearly two-thirds were put right in a day or less; even better – all work was done for free. 

Score 95.6%

 

=6. Honda CR-V (2012-2018)

Honda CR-V

Owners said 19% of older CR-Vs went wrong, citing the exhaust system as the most common complaint, followed by the battery, bodywork, engine and non-engine electrics.  

Read our full review of the used Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V (cont.)

Honda CR-V - interior

The vast majority of cars remained drivable and two thirds were fixed in less than a week. More than half of repairs were done for free, most bills ranged from £101 to £500 and only a small percentage of owners paid out more than £1500. 

Score 95.6%

4. Audi Q5 (2017-present)

Audi Q5 long-term test review

Just under one in five (19%) of Q5s went wrong, with non-engine electrical issues the most common concern. Other problem areas included the bodywork, brakes, engine and exhaust. 

Read our full review of the Audi Q5

Audi Q5 (cont.)

New Audi Q5 diesel vs Volvo XC60 hybrid

All cars could still be driven, but a third took more than a week to repair. However, all work was done under warranty. 

Score 96.3%

3. Skoda Kodiaq petrol (2016-present)

Skoda Kodiaq long-term test review

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, exhaust and interior trim.

Read our full review of the Skoda Kodiaq

 

Skoda Kodiaq (cont.)

2017 Skoda Kodiaq Scout review – price, specs and release date

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.

Score 96.5%

2. Mazda CX-5 petrol (2017-present)

Mazda CX-5 driving

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.

Read our full review of the Mazda CX-5

Mazda CX-5 (cont.)

Mazda CX-5 interior

Half of the affected cars remained drivable 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.

Score 96.9%

1. Ford Kuga petrol (2013-2020)

New Mazda CX-5 & Ford Kuga vs Skoda Kodiaq

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.

What went wrong? Bodywork 5%, gearbox/clutch 5%

Read our full review of the used Ford Kuga

Ford Kuga (cont.)

New Seat Ateca vs Audi Q2 vs Ford Kuga

Half of those 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.

Owner’s view “This is my third Kuga and the second with an automatic gearbox. I’ve found all three dependable and well built”

Score 97.8%

Next: what about the least reliable large SUVs >> 

The least reliable large SUVs

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

3. BMW X6 (2014-2019)

Just over 31% of X6s went wrong, with gearbox issues being the most common complaint, accounting for 19% of faults. Other problematic areas included the exhaust, infotainment, interior trim and non-engine electrics.

Read our full used BMW X6 review

BMW X6 (cont.)

New Range Rover Velar & Audi SQ7 vs BMW X6

All of the troubled cars could still be driven, but one in five took more than a week to repair. Three-quarters of work was done for free, but owners who had to pay were faced with bills ranging from £50 to £750.

Score 88.2%

2. Nissan X-Trail (2014-present)

New Nissan X-Trail & Peugeot 5008 vs Skoda Kodiaq

Owners told us that 34% of their X-Trails had suffered a fault, with the main areas of concern being engine and non-engine electrics. Other troublesome components included the brakes, engine and fuel system.

Read our full Nissan X-trail review

Nissan X-Trail (cont.)

New Nissan X-Trail & Peugeot 5008 vs Skoda Kodiaq

Two-thirds of those cars were drivable and the problem was rectified in a day or less, the others took more than a week to put right. While three-quarters of work was done under warranty, some owners were faced with bills that ranged from less than £50 to £1500.

Score 87.6%

1. Land Rover Discovery Sport (2014-present)

New Skoda Kodiaq vs used Land Rover Discovery Sport: which is best?

What went wrong? Exhaust 23%, non-engine electrics 12%, engine 11%, battery 9%, bodywork 9%, interior trim 9%, brakes 7%, engine electrics 7%, gearbox/clutch 7%, infotainment/sat-nav 7%, air-con 5%, fuel system 2%, suspension 2% steering 1%

A whopping 49% of Discovery Sports went wrong, with the model chalking up problems in every one of our fault categories, as listed above. Half of cars could still be driven, but a third took more than a week to put right.

Read our full Land Rover Discovery Sport review

Land Rover Discovery Sport (cont.)

Land Rover Discovery Sport - interior

While 88% of cars were fixed for free, non-warranty repair bills ranged from less than £50 to £1000.

Owner’s view “My car has had a new engine and suffered exhaust fumes inside; fixed under warranty, but disappointing for the cost of the car”

Score 73.1%

The 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey is now open - tell us about your car here

Related cars

Ford Kuga

2019 - present

A fine SUV, particularly in plug-in hybrid (PHEV) form

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