Reliability should be a top concern when it comes to buying any new or used car and the SUVs that are increasingly being preferred as family transport by UK buyers are no exception. Of course, the way a car looks and handles or it’s practicality may entice you initially, but you won’t be able to enjoy any car if it’s constantly being towed to the garage for costly repairs.

One of the biggest problems with reliability is trying to gauge it before you buy. Often the first indication that a car might be unreliable comes as you’re sitting at the road side wondering  why it won’t start. This is why the Driver Power car customer satisfaction survey comes in so handy.

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You might assume that the most reliable cars you can buy are tough, heavy-duty 4x4s and SUVs. In truth, the wide array of on-board technology and varied, complex powertrains available on modern cars can be just as susceptible to faults, no matter the shape or size.

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. 

Our most reliable 4×4 and SUV results are based on the latest Driver Power survey data for cars that are currently available to buy new. Owners were asked about their satisfaction with the standard of build quality and reliability in the cars they own and drive every day, so the resulting data offers potential car buyers a useful insight into the ownership experience they can expect.

The data compiled to create the list below is from owners who have had their car for a year or less. For a longer term look at reliability, check out our most reliable used SUVs page which covers years two to seven. Here are the 10 most reliable SUVs and 4x4s in reverse order…

10. Toyota RAV4 – 95.99%

Toyota has a strong reputation for building reliable and robust cars, so not only is the RAV4 well put together – with reports of niggles and trips to the workshop being few and far between. The same can be said for much of the wider Toyota and Lexus line-up – with five of the top 10 most reliable cars of 2023 having been built by the brand.

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Toyota’s warranty should give owners peace of mind as the RAV4 comes with a standard three-year/60,000-mile, with the option to extend the cover for an additional 12 months or 10,000 miles every time you have the car serviced at an authorised Toyota repairer or main dealer, up to a total of ten years or 100,000 miles. Additionally, the hybrid system can be covered up to a maximum of 15 years, if you book annual Toyota Hybrid Electric services. Maintenance also doesn’t need to break the bank, as customers have the opportunity to spread the costs with inflation proof monthly plans.

9. Volkswagen T-Roc – 96.08%

While they usually appear sturdy, Volkswagens haven’t always had the best reputation for outright reliability. The T-Roc is bucking that trend, however. Volkswagen has generally made steady progress in Driver Power over recent years with the T-Roc a particularly strong performer. The Golf-based SUV has moved up from 34th in the overall 2022 Driver Power standings to 28th in the 2023 survey. It’s reliability rating has slipped slightly from 7th to 9th among fellow SUVs but it still counts as a good showing.

The safety features, gearbox and engine received lower scores, but should issues arise, as with the rest of the Volkswagen range, the T-Roc has a warranty that lasts for three years or 60,000 miles, with the option of extending up to five years and 90,000 miles.

8. Skoda Kodiaq – 96.46%

Ranked at number eight, the Skoda Kodiaq is one of the most impressive and appealing all-round family cars on the market. Consistently in the top-ten for Driver Power reliability since 2021, the Kodiaq has shown it can withstand day-to-day family life.

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Similar to Volkswagen, Skoda offers the Kodiaq with a typical three-year/60,000-mile warranty, although there is the option to extend for up to five years, with the mileage being capped at 100,000 miles.

7. Lexus UX – 96.60%

Not only does the Lexus UX finish a respectable seventh for reliability, it also finishes within the top ten for four other categories in the 2023 Driver Power survey. Owners tell us that the Lexus UX is really well put together, with the car finishing high in the rankings when it comes to interior and exterior quality, engine and gearbox – and importantly, reliability. 

Any unexpected surprises should be covered by Lexus’ initial three-year/60,000-mile manufacturer warranty, but Lexus goes one step further than its rivals, offering an additional 12 months or 10,000-mile warranty for every main dealer service, up to 10 years or 100,000 miles.

6. Hyundai Kona – 96.75%

Ranking sixth in this list, and a commendable ninth on the overall most reliable car of 2023 list, the Kona continues Hyundai’s strong performance when it comes to building safe and reliable cars. 

Available in mild-hybrid, full-hybrid and fully-electric forms, the Kona should prove to be a dependable, drama-free choice. Although the car has slipped down from its 2022 position of second in the most reliable 4×4 and SUV rankings, its customer satisfaction score has actually increased. With a new Hyundai Kona having launched, claiming our 2023 Car of the Year award we’ll be looking for more of the same next year.

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Not only is the car well screwed together inside and out, Hyundai’s generous warranty should cover most unexpected issues with its five-year/unlimited-mileage cover as standard. Wider maintenance and running cost scores are high, suggesting that the car won’t cause too much of a financial sting when it’s time for a service.

5. Lexus RX – 96.78%

The Lexus RX finishes a very respectable fifth in the SUV list, but also scores an eighth place in the overall most reliable cars of 2023 and a commendable third place overall within the 2023 Driver Power survey as a whole. Owners are really satisfied with how well the RX is put together and the exterior/ interior quality meaning it should be solid for some time to come.

The hybrid systems used by Lexus have proven their reliability in its other products, and a free systems check at every service should keep the on in the RX running trouble-free. The RX comes with the same standard three-year warranty with additional 12 months or 10,000-mile warranty for every Lexus main dealer service, up to 10 years or 100,000 miles.

4. Lexus NX – 97.20%

Similar to the UX and RX, the Lexus NX excels in all the expected areas, claiming top ten spots in Driver Power for its reliability and safety features. 

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The NX didn’t appear in the 2022 Driver Power survey but Lexus has a strong reputation for the safety and dependability of its cars and that has shown through in 2023. The quality and finish of the interior, exterior and overall engine and gearbox performance all ranked well with drivers. 

The NX, as with all Lexus cars, comes with the same initial three-year manufacturer warranty, extended by 12 months or 10,000 miles for every Lexus main dealer service, up to 10-years or 100,000-miles. There’s three-years of Lexus roadside assistance included, too, so there is a good amount of protection should the worst happen.

3. Mazda CX-5 – 97.76%

Another podium finish for the Mazda CX-5 within the most reliable SUV rankings, remaining in exactly the same position where it finished in 2022. The family-friendly SUV did slip slightly in the overall reliability standings for 2023, finishing fifth, but it performed admirably in lots of areas in the survey as a whole with top 10 scores for value and exterior quality.

Mazda falls behind its rivals on warranty cover, only offering the CX-5 with a standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty, and owners were less than satisfied with wider servicing and maintenance costs, awarding it lower scores than the competition.

2. Ford EcoSport – 98.27%

A very respectable second place in the most reliable 4×4 and SUV list equates to a third place overall for reliability in the overall most reliable cars for 2023, for the EcoSport. Owners are happy to praise the small SUV from Ford.

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While the EcoSport may not be as modern in feel as some of the alternatives, it should provide worry-free motoring for some time, as issues reported were few and far between.

The standard three-year or 60,000-mile warranty offered by Ford may be similar to some of its rivals, there is the option of extending it to four years and 80,000 miles or five years and 100,000 miles for a one off payment.

1. Subaru Outback – 98.70%

Not only does the Subaru Outback top the list, being the most reliable SUV of 2023, it also tops overall reliability as the most reliable car overall. Owners were also happy to champion the Japanese car for its styling, visibility, passenger legroom, and overall driver comfort.

​The standard warranty offered by Subaru covers a 3-year/60,000-mile period, however, with the Outback ranking so highly, it should give owners peace of mind from the outset. Six of the top ten most reliable 4×4 and SUV’s have come from Japanese brands in 2023 which is a very useful indicator for new car buyers.

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Whats the most reliable car you’ve owned? Let us know in the comments below…

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Ryan is responsible for looking after the day-to-day running of the Auto Express website and social media channels. Prior to joining Auto Express in 2023, he worked at a global OEM automotive manufacturer, as well as a specialist automotive PR and marketing agency.

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