The 10 most reliable SUVs you can buy in Britain in 2020 (2024)

Sports Utility Vehicles - better known as SUVs - continue to be in high demand.

Sales are still increasing at a faster pace than any other car type, as more drivers choose jacked-up bulky models over more traditional family hatchbacks, estates and MPVs.

But while SUVs might give motorists a raised driving position and an improved feeling of safety, they've also been found to be the most expensive vehicle class to run, the least reliable and the priciest to repair.

Reliable SUVs: If you're looking for a dependable SUV, old or new, these are the recent models you should be considering, based on the reports from owners

That means finding an example that's dependable is paramount, and these are the top 10 new - and nearly new - models, according to those who already own them.


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The countdown of almost bulletproof SUVs has been created by WhatCar? using its latest Reliability Survey data collated from the feedback of18,119 drivers last year.

A percentage score has been given to each model, based on the volume of issues owners reported, the cost of repairing these problems and the time their cars were off the road being fixed at garages.

The Volvo XC60 is the mid-size SUV in the Swedish brand's range, though is pricier than some rivals

10.Volvo XC60 (2017-)

Price: from £37,785 new

What Car? Reliability Rating:97.7%

The XC60 is Volvo's mid-size SUV choice, with the XC40 more compact and the XC90 the big daddy of the range.

It's not cheap; the entry model is almost £38,000, which is far pricier than some rivals, including the Skoda Kodiaq.

That said, a 97.7 per cent reliability rating suggests owners have few complaints about their's breaking down on having faults.

The Mazda CX-5 with petrol engines has proved slightly more dependable than diesel variants

=9. Mazda CX-5 petrol (2017-)

Price: from £26,400 new

What Car? Reliability Rating:97.8%

What Car? received enough feedback on the mid-size CX-5 SUV to report on petrol and diesel variants independently, with unleaded-fuelled examples found to be more dependable.

That's not to say diesel examples haven't been durable - owners of oil burning CX-5s gave the car an overall reliability score of 96.5 per cent.

Owner reports show this list is a matter of margins, with only a handful of petrol CX-5 owners having to take their cars for repairs.

The single diesel-only model in this list is the Peugeot 3008 SUV, which was named European Car of the Year in 2017

=9. Peugeot 3008 diesel (2017-)

Price: from £27,485 new

What Car? Reliability Rating:97.8%

The Peugeot 3008 is the only diesel-specific model to make it into this list of top 10 reliable cars, which is a concern given that the vast majority of SUVs are oil burners.

And it isn't like the unleaded version is far less dependable, also receiving a score of 97 per cent but fractionally missing out on this overall list.

The 3008 is an accomplished model in the French brand's line up, collecting a number of awards including the 2017 European Car of the Year.

Audi Q3 models are slightly more durable than diesels and makes it into What Car?'s top 10 list

7. Audi Q3 petrol (2011-2018)

Price: from £11,000 used

What Car? Reliability Rating: 98%

If you're in the market for a dependable second-hand compact SUV, a petrol Audi Q3 should be on your list.

The Q3 was launched for the first time in 2011 and was replaced with the second-generation model last year.

The original is proving to be very dependable, as well as feeling like an upmarket, quality product. Good examples can be found used for around the £11,000 mark.

The Volvo XC40 is arguably the best compact SUV on the market today and has collected a raft of awards since it arrived on the market two years ago

6. Volvo XC40 (2018-)

Price: from£28,965

What Car? Reliability Rating: 98.4%

Another model that's racked up awards in its time in the Volvo XC40, which is widely regarded as the best all-round compact SUV on the market today.

What Car? named it its Car of the Year in 2018 and has found that owners are raving about its reliability.

Of those who drive an XC40, just one in 10 said their car had a fault in the last year - and most of these issues are minor, such as bodywork and sat-nav problems that could be rectified within a day and were exempt from repair bills.

Only a handful of Kia Sportage owners reported issues with the vehicles in the previous 12 months

5. Kia Sportage (2016-)

Price: from£20,670

What Car? Reliability Rating:98.6%

The Sportage has been a real success story for Kia, with the medium-size SUV in high demand since it arrived on the market.

Affordable, packed with equipment and - according to owners - relatively reliable, certainly by SUV standards.

Only a handful of owners said they had problems with their cars, with just a few being major issues. Most were driven for a week while having a fault and all were fixed free of charge under warranty.

The Honda CR-V is now in its fifth generation. The fourth-gen car (pictured here) is proving extremely reliable and is a top second-hand buy

4. Honda CR-V petrol (2012-2018)

Price: from £9,000 used

What Car? Reliability Rating: 98.7%

While the reliability of petrol and diesel versions of the same model have been similar in previous instances in this list, the recently-replaced Honda CR-V is a very different story.

Examples that run on unleaded were found to perform far better than their diesel-engined equivalents, with just 11 per cent of petrol owners experiencing a fault.

None of these issues concerned the engine, either, and were instead split between the braking systems and the gearbox and clutch. These issues weren't major, with dealers repairing them at no cost to keepers.

The Mini Countryman might not have the offroad rugged appeal of some rivals, but it is pretty durable, according to drivers

3. Mini Countryman (2017-)

Price: from£23,350 new

What Car? Reliability Rating:99.1%

This one might spark some debate, as the Countryman's credentials as an SUV are fairly limited, given its size.

That said, the current model is proving very reliable, according to feedback from owners.

Just five per cent of keepers experienced issues over a 12-month period, most of these being interior trim and non-engine electrics. All examples remained driveable and all were fixed in less than a week without costing their owners a penny.

Toyota us synonymous with reliability, and the just-discontinued RAV4 SUV is a prime example of this trait continuing

2.Toyota RAV4 (2013-2019)

Price: from £9,000 used

What Car? Reliability Rating: 99.5%

Toyota has for years been synonymous with reliability, and the RAV4 SUV is a prime example of this.

A mere three per cent of all previous-generation Toyota RAV4s (which went out of production just last year) had a reported problem, and even then the only area affected was non-engine electrics.

As you would expect - given most of these vehicles would have still been under warranty - all were repaired in less than a week and at not charge.

Kia's second-generation Soul went out of production last year. Get your hands on one on the used market and it should be a dependable family motor

1. Kia Soul (2014-2019)

Price: from £6,500 used

What Car? Reliability Rating: 100%

Like the Mini Countryman. the Soul's inclusion as an SUV is somewhat questionable - especially given it hasn't got much ground clearance and there have only been front-wheel-drive versions since the model was launched. That said, Kia lists it as an SUV.

What isn't up for debate is the reliability credentials of the recently discontinued car, with owners reporting not a single issue in a year of driving.

If you want an SUV that really won't let you down, the Kia Soul is the one to get. And there could be four-wheel-drive variants available when the all-new model arrives soon.


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