Best cars & vans

Most reliable 4x4s and SUVs 2020

We reveal the most reliable 4x4s and SUVs you can buy according to the 2020 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, 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.

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.

Most reliable cars to buy 2020

Every year the Driver Power survey helps pick out the most reliable cars 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 reliability. We have analysed the results for new cars in their first 12 months of ownership and below you will find the top 10 most reliable new SUVs and 4x4s as decided by you, the UK motoring public.

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

10. Mazda CX-5 - 95.52% 

  • Model: Mk2 (2017-present)
  • Has it ever gone wrong? 13.6%

The second-generation CX-5 is a popular choice among new car buyers and owners clearly think reliability is a strong suit. Only 13.6% of CX-5s have gone wrong with the majority of issues being electrical. Overall build quality is also impressive, the CX-5 ranked 11th in the SUVs section in that respect. With a fifth-place finish overall in the best cars to own 2020 list, reliability is just one of the many positive attributes owners see in their Mazda CX-5s.

9. Subaru XV - 95.66%

  • Model: Mk2 (2018-present)
  • Has it ever gone wrong? 12.4%

The Subaru XV might not be the obvious choice in the SUV market but it shouldn’t be overlooked, especially if reliability is important to you. Just 12.4% told of a fault and it appears issues are spread across a number of areas. Disregard its SUV status and the Subaru XV ranks as the 16th most reliable new car you can buy today. Excellent off-road ability and plenty of safety tech make the XV an even more appealing proposition. 

8. Toyota RAV4 - 95.71%

  • Model: Mk5 (2018-present)
  • Has it ever gone wrong? 11.5%

With 11.5% of new owners reporting faults, the fifth-generation RAV4 is around average on that criteria but it still gets a very good reliability score, pointing to those faults being minor ones. The original RAV4 helped popularise the SUV segment way back in the early 1990s and it’s been a staple of the class ever since thanks to mix of practicality, safety features and of course, dependability. 

7. Lexus NX Mk1 - 95.74%

  • Model: Mk1 (2015-present)
  • Has it ever gone wrong? 11.5%

The Lexus NX’ 95.74% reliability score proves it remains one of the most reliable premium SUVs you can buy. 11.5% of new owners reported faults with sat-nav issues cropping up regularly. The NX scores well in build quality too, an 18th place finish suggesting the Japanese SUV is well screwed together. 

After coming first in 2018, the NX dropped to sixth last year and 14th this year, suggesting it’s feeling its age in this regard. 

Lexus’ mid-size SUV came top of its class in 2018’s best car poll and despite good scores in safety features and comfort, a 42nd-place finish this year suggests it’s feeling its age. 

6. SEAT Arona - 95.88%

  • Model: Mk1 (2017 - present)
  • Has it ever gone wrong? 12.3%

SEAT’s Arona SUV scores well in the reliability category and 12.3% of new owners have reported faults - a seatbelt recall was highlighted among the main issues. Apart from ride quality and storage, SEAT looks to have made a decent all-rounder in the Arona. Build build quality seems to be less impressive than reliability with the Spanish SUV achieving a 42nd-place finish in that area.

The SEAT Arona came a respectable 22nd in the overall Driver Power 2020 list with owners liking the infotainment, drivetrain and exterior looks.

5. Toyota C-HR  - 95.95% 

  • Model: Mk1 (2016-present)
  • Has it ever gone wrong? 14.3%

Toyota is no stranger to placing highly in reliability tests and the C-HR continues the brand’s good form. The Toyota C-HR came 25th in the overall Driver Power 2020 list but it places much higher in terms of reliability. It’s the tenth most reliable car and fifth most reliable SUV you can buy today according to owners, while 14.3% have experienced a fault. It’s 95.95 per cent reliability score is solid and build quality is favourable too, the C-HR placed 19th in this respect. 

4. Peugeot 3008 - 96.09%

  • Model: Mk2 (2016-present)
  • Has it ever gone wrong? 11.8%

The Peugeot 3008 is the second best car two own according to the people who own one, a decent jump up the ladder from a strong seventh in 2019. Unsurprisingly, reliability helps it place high in 2020 and just 11.8% of owners have reported faults. 

Overall build quality is positive, the French SUV placed seventh overall in this respect. Powertrains, exterior looks, ride and handling are attributes also ranked highly by owners.

3. Lexus RX - 96.60% 

  • Model: Mk4 (2015-present) 
  • Has it ever gone wrong? 9%

After placing third overall in 2019’s overall most reliable cars list , the RX drops to fifth this year. The luxury SUV places third in the SUV sector and with a score of 96.60% showing it’s an extremely reliable car. In fact, only 9.0 per cent of owners reported faults of any kind. 

With third place overall in the Driver Power list for 2020, the Lexus RX shows it’s not just reliability where it performs well - owners highlight an excellent powertrain, well-designed interior and good practicality among its many attributes.

2. Subaru Outback - 97.24%

  • Model: Mk3 (2015-present)
  • Has it ever gone wrong? 13.5%

The Subaru Outbacks’ impressive 17th place in Driver Power overall is supported by the car’s excellent reliability. 13.5 per cent of owners have reported faults, many of those being electrical, but it still places 2nd in our most reliable SUVs list. While economy isn’t a strong suit of the Outback, it scores well in terms of interior and comfort, practicality, handling and safety.  

1. Volvo XC40 - 98.00%

  • Model: Mk1 (2017-present)
  • Has it ever gone wrong? 15.9%

Volvo’s XC40 not only comes top in the most reliable SUVs list, but places first in terms of build quality as well. It’s strong 98% reliability score is backed up by owners, just 15.9% of whom say their XC40 has gone wrong. The strong marks in reliability have helped the XC40 come 14th overall in the Driver Power for 2020.

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 2020

Ranking
ModelReliability score
1Volvo XC40 Mk198.00%
2Subaru Outback Mk397.24%
3Lexus RX Mk496.60%
4Peugeot 3008 Mk296.09%
5Toyota C-HR Mk195.95%
6SEAT Arona Mk195.88%
7Lexus NX Mk195.74%
8Toyota RAV4 Mk595.71%
9Subaru XV Mk295.66%
10Mazda CX-5 Mk295.52%
11Volvo XC60 Mk295.15%
12Suzuki Vitara Mk495.05%
13Hyundai Kona Mk194.75%
14Lexus UX Mk194.73%
15Kia Sportage Mk494.47%
16Kia Niro Mk194.45%
17Kia Stonic Mk194.40%
18Audi Q2 Mk194.40%
19Skoda Kodiaq Mk194.38%
20Honda CR-V Mk594.19%

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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