What Are the 10 Most Reliable SUVs?

April 22, 2021

image for What Are the 10 Most Reliable SUVs? If you’re in the market for a new SUV, reliability will no doubt be a key concern.

After all, what’s the use of investing so much of your time and energy into purchasing a car that will end up leaving you bitter and disappointed.

The good news, however, is that the overall reliability of modern cars has never been better; but that hasn’t stopped us from making a list. This list takes into account not only the overall reliability of a vehicle, but the warranty and ownership coverage offered by manufacturers that will ultimately save you money down the line.

For the keen-eyed, there is a notable absence of major European manufacturers on this list.

This does not reflect a lack of reliability. In fact, European manufacturers have an extremely high standard of quality control and their products are no doubt reliable. The reason why they’re absent from this list is that their warranties often lack the longer periods of coverage and capped-drive servicing that manufacturers from Japan and Korea are more than willing to package into even their most budget offerings.

The cars we’ve listed are also considerably cheaper, and therefore more obtainable.

With these factors taken into consideration, we present you - in no particular order - with our list of the top ten most reliable SUVs on sale in 2021.

1. Toyota RAV-4

Since production began in 1994, Toyota has sold more than 10 million units of the RAV-4 around the world, with more than 330,000 of those sold here in Australia. It is no stretch to say that the RAV-4 is perhaps the definitive family SUV, and a yard-stick that has long been used to compare the affordability, economy and features of the competition. With that many on the road, if the RAV-4 was anything less than spectacularly reliable, we would have heard about it.

The secret to Toyota’s success, not just with the RAV-4 but with all its products, is a meticulous attention to detail for the price, as well as its ability to mass-produce extremely reliable products. As an addition to your garage, the RAV-4 is unlikely to provide too many unwanted surprises when it comes to long-term reliability.

2. Honda CR-V

Perhaps the closest competitor to the RAV-4 is Honda’s CR-V. While it has become larger in modern time to become more practical and spacious, the process of growing hasn’t hindered its reliability over the years. The Honda CR-V remains in the top-three of most reliable SUVs on the road in 2021, deservedly so. Since introduced to the international market in 1995, the early CR-V’s mechanical simplicity was a blessing for its reliability - and if something did go wrong, a cheap fix was more than probable. While its modern machines are significantly more technical, Honda has no doubt kept reliability as a key priority its design, as a result, it’s difficult to go wrong with the purchase of a CR-V.

3. Mazda CX-5

Third on our list is another addition to the list of Japanese heavy-weights: the Mazda CX-5. In spite of being a relative newcomer to the SUV segment (introduced in 2011), the CX-5 has further established Mazda’s reputation as a quality, affordable and reliable manufacturer of cars, particularly its SUV offerings. If you’ve had the opportunity to test-drive a CX-5, you can feel the quality of the build in everything from the way it rides, to the feeling in the steering wheel. Amongst our list of Japanese heavy-weights, you won’t feel shortchanged in terms of reliability with a CX-5.

4. Hyundai Tucson

Not too long ago, the thought of a Korean manufacturer featured on a reliability list might have made more traditional enthusiasts scoff. Now, though, in 2021, Korean manufacturers are producing some of the most compelling offerings on the market. The Hyundai Tucson is one of those cars, taking the fight directly to Honda and Toyota with a host of cars that compete on price, features, safety, and most significantly of all, their reliability. One of the major benefits of opting for a Hyundai, particularly in Australia, is that the company tests and tunes its vehicles to handle all the irregularities that Aussie roads can throw at them, and this means you’re likely getting a more reliable vehicle, too.

5. Toyota Landcruiser

The Toyota Landcruiser has had the second-longest production run of any SUV in the history of automobiles, and its reliability is perhaps the sole reason for this astonishingly-long run. Toyota has been testing the Landcruiser’s endurance and reliability in every imaginable landscape around the globe, and proof can be found in the fact that in the furthest reaches of the Middle East, South Africa and the Australian Outback, you’re likely to see Landcruisers found where the competition can’t reach.

If we could crown one overall winner, it would be difficult to award anyone but the Toyota Landcruiser as the world’s most reliable SUV.

6. Ford Everest

It will come as no surprise that Ford, as inventors of the world’s first mass-produced car, knows a thing or two about reliability. It’s an SUV that is every bit as comfortable when running errands around town as it is off-road. Ford’s attention to ensuring that the Everest is capable and rugged enough to go off-road means that the overall build quality is high, and as a result, reliability is not likely to be an issue for Everest owners.  From the research we’ve done, apart from a handful of issues related to MY2016 models of the Ford Everest, owners have reported relatively few issues with their car.

7. Skoda Kodiaq

The petrol-variant of Skoda’s Kodiaq has been celebrated as one of the most reliable European offerings in the SUV class. The company no doubt benefits from its Volkswagen ownership and ability to maintain quality control to a high-degree even while mass-manufacturing vehicles. There are relatively few reports of major issues for Skoda Kodiaqs that weren’t fixed in a short period of time, and under the coverage of the warranty.

8. Kia Sorento

The major reason why Kia’s Sorento is listed here is the extensive ownership program that Kia has on offer for new buyers. A seven-year, unlimited kilometer warranty with seven year’s worth of capped price servicing on offer. That means that if something major goes wrong and the manufacturer is at fault, you’re not going to absorb any of the costs that owners of a different vehicle might have to concede. Way to go, Kia.  

9. Mitsubishi Pajero

Overall, the Mitsubishi Pajero flies the flag high for reliability that so many Japanese offerings have continued to do. Mitsubishi rolls them out of the factory extremely tough and ready for the trails, which means they’re exceptionally reliable, or at the very least, simple enough for a fix to be made relatively cheaply. Other than reports of turbocharging units needing to be tweaked on diesel variants, the Pajero is an extremely reliable offering.

10. Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester is the last car on our list, and yet another example of the archetypal reliability we’ve come to expect from the land of the rising. While you could perhaps question Subaru’s styling choices over the years, you’d be no less than a madman if you accused it of being unreliable. In total, with millions of Foresters out on the roads globally, owners have reported an extremely small amount of reliability issues, and for that, it gets a mention in our top ten list of reliable SUVs.

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