Best cars & vans

Top 10 most reliable 4x4s and SUVs

We reveal the most reliable 4x4s and SUVs you can buy according to the 2021 Driver Power survey

When it comes to cars, one of the first things on every motorist’s mind is reliability, especially when it comes to buying used cars. Top speed and bhp may grab headlines but reliability is, arguably, the most important factor to most people. The difficulty is in discovering which cars are the most reliable.

You’d be forgiven for thinking the most reliable cars you can buy are tough, rugged 4x4s and SUVs. In reality, with more tech and powertrains available then ever before, these cars are still susceptible to the kind of issues and faults that can be found on everything from humble city cars to exotic supercars.

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The rise in popularity of SUVs and crossovers in recent years has meant that both are now commonplace in the UK. The ability of these vehicles to go off-road has slipped down the priority lists of buyers and they are more regularly bought for their practicality and high driving positions but everyone who purchases an SUV will have half an eye on the question of reliability. No owner wants niggling doubts over if and when their car will develop a fault or even break down. Therefore it makes sense to find out which SUVs and 4x4s are the most reliable from the very start.

Every year the Driver Power survey picks out the most reliable cars in the UK with information from the people who know them best, their owners. Tens of thousands of UK car owners have rated their cars across a range of categories, including what most of us would consider a car’s most important attribute -  reliability.

Here are the 10 most reliable SUVs and 4x4s in reverse order…

10. Toyota RAV4 

  • Model: Mk5 (2018 - present) 

The Toyota RAV4 is a regular in the most reliable SUVs list, but it’s dropped a couple of places from eighth in 2020. Overall, Toyota’s mid-sized SUV has done one better in Driver Power this year (11th) so it’s still a strong performer and Toyota’s five-year, 100,000-mile warranty will help put to rest any doubts over the RAV4. With plenty of tech shared with the C-HR, Corolla and Prius (all of which placed higher in reliability), the RAV4 should be as dependable as ever. 

9. Toyota C-HR

  • Model: Mk1 (2016 - present) 

Last year’s fifth-placed car only managed to occupy the number nine spot this year. The C-HR may have dropped a few positions but it’s still a great small SUV that should be on your radar if you’re looking for a reliable crossover with a frugal hybrid powertrain. As with the RAV4 above, the C-HR reassuringly shares plenty of parts with other Toyotas and it took fourth overall in the 2021 Driver Power survey - suggesting reliability is just one of its many attributes. 

8. Volvo XC40

  • Model: Mk1 (2017-present)

The Volvo XC40 is an attractive, spacious SUV with real brand appeal. Reliability is also proving to be an asset as well which is especially impressive given its wide range of petrol, hybrid and fully-electric powertrains. Its scalable CMA platform is still relatively new, but it’s proving to be a good base to launch a range of cars on.

7. Peugeot 2008

  • Model: Mk2 (2019 - present) 

The 2008 was too new to gain data from owners to place in last year’s Driver Power survey, but this time Peugeot’s newest SUV sits comfortably in the top ten most reliable SUVs and 4x4s you can buy today. The Mk2 2008 looks to be a huge improvement over the first-generation version, taking an impressive 12th spot in the overall Driver Power survey. 

6.  Skoda Karoq

  • Model: Mk1 (2017 - present) 

In the overall Driver Power survey, the Skoda Karoq was not only the highest-placed car from the VW Group, but the highest European car. Much of this is down to its reliability - owners say build quality is especially impressive for a budget SUV. To back this performance up, one owner told us he had owned his Karoq for three years, doing over 30,000 miles - only needing a front set of tyres in that time. 

5. Volkswagen T-Roc

  • Model: Mk1 (2017 - present) 

The sporty looking Volkswagen T-Roc didn’t place in the top 20 most reliable SUVs last year so fifth is a big result for the Golf-based SUV. Interior quality could be better with scratchy plastics in places, but the T-Roc is exceptional when it comes to reliability. Plenty of tried and tested powertrains also make the T-Roc an easy car to recommend. 

4. Lexus NX

  • Model: Mk1 (2015-present)

The Lexus NX is no stranger to placing high in reliability surveys and despite its age (this generation has been on sale since 2014), owners are still finding it to be a dependable SUV - it’s even gained three spots from last year. What will be worrying for Lexus is the absence of the RX and UX - two SUVs that placed in the top 20 last time but are nowhere to be found this time. 

3. Mazda CX-5 

  • Model: Mk2 (2017-present)

The Mazda CX-5 is one of the best cars you can buy according to owners, let alone SUVs. The mid-sized family SUV came third overall in the 2021 Driver Power survey, helped by the excellent drive, practicality, styling and of course, reliability. One owner noted the build quality as an impressive part of CX-5, the cabin standing up well to daily use while feeling upmarket and expensive. 

2. Hyundai Kona 

  • Model: Mk1 (2017 - present) 

Just pipping the Mazda CX-5 into second spot is the 2021 Driver Power best car to own winner - the Hyundai Kona. The Korean crossover is a brilliant car and reliability is understandably key to its success here. Available as a conventional petrol, mild-hybrid, plug-in hybrid or full EV, whatever Kona model you choose you’re not likely to encounter problems. The facelifted model has just come out in 2021 so Hyundai will be hoping for more of the same in 2022.

1. Skoda Kodiaq

  • Model: Mk1 (2017 - present) 

The most reliable SUV according to the 2021 Driver Power survey is the Skoda Kodiaq. It’s made-up a whopping 18 places from the last survey and owners are praising the high-quality finish of the interior and exterior. There’s a selection of petrol, diesel and hybrid models available but these are reassuringly made up of widely-used VW Group powertrains. Skoda recently unveiled its facelifted Kodiaq so we’ll be waiting to see how the Czech brand improves its largest SUV.

Most reliable 4x4s and SUVs top 20 Below you’ll find the full list of Driver Power’s 20 most reliable 4x4s and SUVs for 2021

Ranking

Model

Reliability score

1

Skoda Kodiaq

97.19%

2

Hyundai Kona

95.75%

3

Mazda CX-5

95.64%

4

Lexus NX

95.04%

5

Volkswagen T-Roc

95.02%

6

Skoda Karoq

94.97%

7

Peugeot 2008

94.53%

8

Volvo XC40

94.20%

9

Toyota C-HR

94.16%

10

Toyota RAV4

93.86%

11

Renault Captur

93.60%

12

Audi Q3

93.46%

13

Vauxhall Grandland X

92.93%

14

Kia Sportage

92.93%

15

SEAT Ateca

92.70%

16

Kia Niro

92.56%

17

Ford Puma

92.53%

18

Mercedes GLA

91.40%

19

Dacia Duster

91.20%

20

Ford Kuga

90.99%

Click below to find out the most reliable cars by sector... 

Click here to take our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey right now...

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