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The most reliable 4x4s revealed

Posted: 14/11/2011

With the Indian summer making way for chillier climes, Warranty Direct has revealed the most – and least – dependable 4x4s and SUVs.

Honda’s HR-V (1998-2006) performed best, with only three in 100 recording a fault in the last 12 months, followed by Suzuki’s Grand Vitara (2005 onwards).

In stark contrast, Land Rover’s Range Rover (2002-onwards) was shown to be the most break down prone off-roader – two thirds of its reported faults were suspension or electrical hiccups – behind the Jeep Grand Cherokee (1999-2005) and Volkswagen’s Touareg (2003 onwards).

The study of nearly 16,000 three- to eight-year-old 4x4s and SUVs revealed the market segment to have some of the most expensive to run vehicles on Warranty Direct’s books.

Nevertheless, with another harsh winter predicted, there’s no better type of vehicle to tackle the snow and ice.

Predictably, the top-10 is dominated by Japanese and Korean manufacturers, but Land Rover’s Freelander (2006 onwards) breaks their stranglehold, with only one in five breaking down annually and a modest average repair cost.

As used 4x4 prices rise prior to the inevitable cold snap, buyers are advised to seize the moment.

The study used Warranty Direct’s unique Reliability Index rating (www.reliabilityindex.co.uk), which takes into account how often vehicles break down, average repair cost and time spent in the garage to calculate its overall reliability. The lower the Reliability Index number, the more reliable and cheaper to repair the car.

Top 10 rated 4x4/SUVs

Make Model Year Reliability Index Rating Average Repair Cost (£)
Honda HR-V (98-06) 6 213
Suzuki Grand Vitara (05-) 20 186
Honda CR-V (07-) 21 254
Subaru Forester (02-08) 46 235
Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin (99-06) 50 351
Kia Sportage (05-) 56 259
Land Rover Freelander (06-) 56 264
Nissan X-Trail (07-) 69 591
Kia Sorento (03-) 69 391
Hyundai Santa Fe (01-06) 74 292

Warranty Direct’s Duncan McClure Fisher said: “Modern 4x4s are a far cry from the noisy and uncomfortable off-roaders of the past. They are fairly expensive to run but our study shows that there’s a handful of incredibly reliable 4x4s which won’t break the bank.

“A four-wheel-drive vehicle is most definitely the transport of choice for any motorist during our cold months, particularly judging by our last few winters.”

Bottom 5 rated 4x4/SUVs

Make Model Year Reliability Index Rating Average Repair Cost
Land Rover Range Rover (02-) 305 519
Jeep Grand Cherokee (99-05) 253 502
Volkswagen Touareg (03-) 232 525
BMW X5 (00-07) 216 468
Volvo XC90 (02-) 205 460

In contrast to the top 10, none of the bottom 5 rated 4x4s hail from the East, instead they originate from Europe or America.