If you need to buy a bigger car due to family requirements, a need for more luggage space, or simply because you want an increased feeling of safety and security, you’re likely to be in the market for an SUV.
However, with new prices for these in-demand high-riding vehicles relatively steep – and concerns of rapid new car depreciation rife – many will be turning to the second-hand market to save money.
Buyers need to tread carefully, though, as there is a big difference between the most and least reliable – and which are likely to see owners slapped with huge repair bills.
With the help of used car warranty provider, Warrantywise, This is Money has revealed the best and worst rated SUVs for second-hand buyers…
So solid SUV or a four-by-four flop? Warrantywise has named the 10 most and least reliable offroaders based on claims made by customers in the last five years
While reliability surveys tend to be based on vehicle samples of between 20,000 and 50,000 motors, Warrantywise has a database of more than 750,000 customers who have taken out cover on their older cars since 2015.
The figures provided are for vehicles aged between three years – which is when most conventional new car warranties expire – and eight years old.
The firm’s Reliability Index is calculated using a formula which takes into account the number of factors.
This includes the frequency of claims in the last five years, repair costs, time spent in the garage being fixed and the average age and mileage of models to provide an overall score out of 100.
Here’s a countdown of the 10 most reliable used SUV models, according to the data, followed by the list of the least dependable 4X4s using the Warrantywise rating system.
MOST RELIABLE USED SUVS
10. Mercedes GLE Class
Reliability score: 83.2%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 1.8%
Average claim: £892
While the number of claims made by owners was low, the cost to repair the Mercedes GLE is pretty steep
There don’t tend to be many issues with the big Mercedes, with very few warranty claims made by owners – fewer than 2 per cent, in fact.
What weighs its score down a little is longer repair times, which take an average of three days, and a high average claim amount of almost £900. Both factors suggest the small volume of issues could be serious faults.
9. Toyota Land Cruiser
Reliability score: 85.7%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 5.2%
Average claim: £1,011
Toyota’s Land Cruisers have relatively high repair costs, though this could be linked to fact the vehicle is very large
Toyota is synonymous with reliability, especially their big rugged off roaders. Which makes the Land Cruiser’s inclusion here somewhat expected.
Of all the cars listed in the top 10 most reliable, its average repair cost is the highest. However, just one in 20 owners had to make a warranty claim at all in the last half decade.
8. Suzuki Jimny
Reliability score: 86.3%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 7.3%
Average claim: £623
The Suzuki Jimny scored well in Warrantywise’s reliability report, though gearbox issues are common
A new Suzuki Jimny was launched just a couple of years ago, though it has been removed from UK showrooms having failed to meet emissions standards.
The previous-generation car makes for a robust second-hand buy. It’s compact and durable, though Warrantywise said there has been a high volume of claims for gearbox repairs.
7. Dacia Duster
Reliability score: 87.6%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 5.5%
Average claim: £427
The Duster might be cheap to buy – the most affordable mid-size SUV you can purchase new – but that hasn’t resulted in poor reliability, says Warrantywise
If you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful SUV, the Dacia Duster is the UK’s most affordable new model on the market. But just because it’s budget-friendly, it doesn’t make it unreliable.
On the contrary, just 5.5 per cent of owners had to make a warranty claim for their cars, with average repair bills ringing in relatively low.
6. Suzuki SX4
Reliability score: 88.2%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 7.0%
Average claim: £409
The Suzuki SX4, while categorised an SUV, isn’t a traditional 4X4. Mechanics can repair them quickly, according to the data
The SX4 (now sold under the S-Cross name) is a road-bias SUV, with a lower ride height than you traditionally get with 4X4 models. That said, it is spacious.
Suspension issues are the most common of all, which can be expensive to repair. However, average claim costs are pretty low at £409, and usually completed in one and half days.
5. Lexus RX
Reliability score: 88.2%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 5.4%
Average claim: £535
The Lexus RX is a large SUV that’s proving really dependable. Radiator issues are quite common
Like its parent company Toyota, Lexus prides itself on very strong reliability ratings, often topping owner surveys for how well they stand up to the test of time.
The RX is no small SUV, which makes its appearance in this list commendable. Radiator issues are most common, though repair costs on average are pretty low and only 5 per cent of owners with extended warranties have had to use them in the last half decade.
4. Renault Captur
Reliability score: 90.1%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 5.3%
Average claim: £286
The Renault Captur is more a crossover than a fully-fledged SUV, which might explain why average claim amounts are low
Unlike the Lexus RX, the Captur is a small crossover SUV based on the Renault Clio.
Around one in 20 owners had to make a claim for repairs in the last five years, with drive shafts being a common problem. Despite this, average claims amounts are very low, which contribute to an overall reliability score in excess of 90 per cent.
3. Mitsubishi ASX
Reliability score: 90.7%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 3.2%
Average claim: £499
The Mitsubishi ASX isn’t what you’d call desirable, but it is pretty solid. Just 3% of owners have made claims on their warranties
The ASX is an often overlooked compact SUV, mainly because it has remained on the market for so long with upgrades being few and far between in that time.
While it might lack the style and modern features of the latest models, it is at least durable. Average claim amounts are relatively high, though only a few owners experience problems, based on Warrantywise’s data.
2. Ford EcoSport
Reliability score: 93.2%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 4.0%
Average claim: £135
The Ford EcoSport isn’t all that popular in the UK. However, only 4% of those with older versions with extended warranties needed to make a claim in the last 5 years
Ford’s EcoSport hasn’t proved all that popular in the UK, but buyers who are tempted by a used one are likely to enjoy relatively headache-free ownership, the figure suggest.
Just 4 per cent had repair bills so high that drivers deemed they should make a warranty claim, though the average amount paid out was just £135 – the lowest of all the vehicles here.
1. Renault Kadjar
Reliability score: 95.7%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 3.0%
Average claim: £349
The Renault Kadjar is the French version of the Nissan Qashqai, with the two models sharing most of the same mechanical parts. However, the former is proving more reliable, according to warranty claim data
This is a turn up for the books; a model from a French brand topping the used reliability standings for one of the least dependable car categories.
The Kadjar takes top spot, praised for having very short repair times and relatively low claim amounts, given it’s a mid-size SUV. Few owners had to call the warranty provider to cover costs of garage bills.
LEAST RELIABLE USED SUVS
10. BMW X5
Reliability score: 47.2%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 29.4%
Average claim: £1,120
Suspension problems mean the average claim made by BMW X5 owners is over £1,000
Tenth in the list of least reliable SUVs is BMW’s large premium X5.
Almost a third of owners who are customers of Warrantywise have had to claim in the last half decade, and repairs weren’t cheap. That’s because the most common problem is with the suspension, which for a large 4X4 like this is costly to fix.
9. Land Rover Discovery Sport
Reliability score: 46.0%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 15.9%
Average claim: £1,316
Average warranty claims on Discovery Sports are over £1,300, with electrical issued being most common
Land Rover is a brand that doesn’t have a particularly strong reliability track record, so you might not be surprised to see the Discovery Sport feature in this list.
The most common issues are electrical gremlins, though average warranty claims amount to an excess of £1,300, which suggests they are difficult to rectify. A high volume of customers who own this particular model have had to use their extended warranties – around one in six.
8. Range Rover Evoque
Reliability score: 42.3%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 25.6%
Average claim: £888.60
More than a quarter of owners with a Range Rover Evoque and a used car warranty have had to use it in the last five years, the records show
The Range Rover Evoque places just ahead of the Land Rover Discovery Sport, which shouldn’t come as a shock as the two SUVs sharing the same platform.
Like the Discovery equivalent, electrical woes are most common, according to the Warrantywise information. However, more owners have had to use their cover, with over a quarter of Evoque-driving customers making a claim. Though average costs are lower than the sister car.
7. Audi Q7
Reliability score: 32.3%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 31.1%
Average claim: £1,240
The Audi Q7 is a large premium SUV, and the warranty claims for models between 3 and 8 years old suggest the repair bills are likely to be substantial
If you’re looking for a very big SUV with lots of premium feel, the Q7 is likely on your shopping list. However, Warrantywise data suggests used buyers need to purchase with care.
That’s because almost a third of owners on its books have made a claim for repairs in the last five years. Average claims are almost £1,250, with electrical issues being the most common problem. Buyers, check for warning lights on dashboards.
6. Range Rover
Reliability score: 29.2%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 38.4%
Average claim: £1,028
Owners of Range Rovers that are outside of the manufacturer’s warranty should definitely consider taking out extended cover, with large repair bills likely
The Range Rover, similar to the Audi Q7, is a huge SUV with lots of premium features. But with luxury cars comes lavish repair bills, with owners of older models likely to need to spend in excess of £1,000 if something does go wrong.
And almost two in five Warrantywise customers with this vehicle have had to make a claim in the last half decade, which in total amounted to a massive £1.6million collectively. Suspension issues are most prevalent.
5. Chevrolet Captiva
Reliability score: 28.0%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 52.4%
Average claim: £1,079
The Captiva is long gone from the new car market in the UK these days. Half of customers who do have one and a Warrantywise policy have had to make a claim in the last 5 years
While other models in the least reliable SUVs list are large and expensive to buy, the Captiva isn’t that big or pricey. Which makes Warrantywise’s data incredibly worrying for owners.
More than half of customers with this model have made a claim in five years, and the repair costs average over £1,000. Wheel bearing issues are common.
4. Range Rover Sport
Reliability score: 26.1%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 43.2%
Average claim: £1,264
Suspension issues are common for Range Rover Sport owners and contribute to high warranty claims
The Range Rover Sport is another unsurprising addition, given that Which? recently announced it as one of the least dependable cars on sale.
In the last five years, over £2.2million in claims have been made by Warrantywise customers who own of this model. Average claims are £1,264 and the most common problem is with suspension, which explains the high repair costs.
3. Porsche Cayenne
Reliability score: 25.5%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 31.3%
Average claim: £1,517
Porsche’s Cayenne is yet another example of a premium SUV stinging owners of older models with high repair costs
The Cayenne is Porsche’s answer to a large family SUV. Like other rivals listed here, the repair costs have been pretty high for owners of older versions, averaging over £1,500, based on warranty claims.
This is a surprise inclusion on the list, as Porsche has a reputation for reliability, however, the cost of repairs are likely to be expensive hence its position.
The most common problem lies with electrical gremlins. And almost a third of customers with extended warranties have had to use them in the last five years.
2. Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
Reliability score: 22.4%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 47.6%
Average claim: £1,301
Again it’s suspension issues that are most common with this big bruising Mercedes SUV, says owners
Almost half of Mercedes GL-driving Warrantywise customers have made a claim for repairs on their car in the last half a decade – and they’ve not been cheap.
The average payout is for £1,300, with suspension problems being a consistent headache for owners. On average, they’re taking around four days to repair, which is why it sits seconds in our list.
1. BMW X6
Reliability score: 20.6%
% of owners who made a claim in 5 years: 36.3%
Average claim: £1,869
BMW’s largest coupe SUV is racking up some astronomically high repair bills, which is why it has taken top spot with a reliability score of just 20.6%
BMW’s largest coupe SUV is causing plenty of woes for owners when manufacturer warranties expire. Most of the problems raised by Warrantywise customers have been related to gearbox faults.
As a result, repair bills are particularly steep. The average cost to fix them is almost £1,900. And with more than a third of customers with these cars and an extended warranty having to make a claim in the last five years, it takes a worthy top (or bottom) spot in the least reliable SUV rankings.