Nov 182014

As winter draws in with the threat of frost, snow and torrential rain, motorists may decide that their front or rear wheel drive vehicle no longer cuts the mustard. Statistics show that increasing numbers are opting to tackle the roads in an SUV, attracted by greater ground clearance and a more commanding driving position for on and off-road adventures.

Though the popularity of SUVs is showing no signs of waning, they do not always live up to their reputations for ruggedness. Many come fitted with complex all-wheel drive systems and fragile electrics that won’t stand up to daily use, let alone excursions over brutal terrains.

Warranty Direct can assign any car with a Reliability Index (RI) score. This applies a formula to measure overall reliability by looking at rate of failure, average mileage, age and repair cost. The lower the RI number, the better a car is.

Here, Warranty Direct has identified the most reliable SUVs that should provide their owners with minimal hassle over the winter months. Some repair bills on SUVs have spiralled to an eye-watering £16,000, so it is important to pick one that won’t get stuck in the mud.

1. Honda HR-V (99-06)
RI Score: 38
Average repair: £305.15
Largest claim: £1,587.91

Hondas typically perform well in Warranty Direct’s reliability surveys, and the quirky HR-V is no exception. If you can’t wait for the new model, a used one should provide you with dependable motoring as well as the option of four-wheel drive.

2. Suzuki Jimny (98-)
RI Score: 48
Average repair: £233.77
Largest claim: £829.87

It may have been around for what seems like an age, but Suzuki’s mini SUV scores highly for simplicity and reliability. The Jimny’s Select 4×4 system enables the driver to switch between front and four wheel drive for genuine off-road ability.

3. Suzuki Grand Vitara (05-)
RI Score: 54
Average repair: £312.14
Largest claim: £1,374.40

The current generation Grand Vitara is not long for this world with a replacement just round the corner, but it is consistently reliable as well as being stylish to look at and well-equipped in a choice of a 3- or 5-door bodystyles.

4. Honda CR-V (07-)
RI Score: 58
Average repair: £355.11
Largest claim: £1,602.34

Another strong performance from the Honda stable, the CR-V crossover is an attractive and accomplished all-rounder with a versatile interior. Mechanically it is consistently dependable across the board.

5. Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin (99-06)
RI Score: 68
Average repair: £391.45
Largest claim: £978.41

The smallest Mitsubishi SUV is also the most reliable, beating its bigger brothers the Shogun and the L200. A strong engine and excellent ventilation system make a case for this as a compact off-roader for all seasons.

6. Nissan Terrano (93-07)
RI Score: 72
Average repair: £215.39
Largest claim: £854.55

The veteran Terrano gave Nissan 14 years of loyal service and it’ll do even more for its loyal owners. The robust suspension and steering is ideal for motorists needing a proper workhorse.

7. Nissan X-Trail (07-)
RI Score: 73
Average repair: £338.38
Largest claim: £3,161.33#

Just behind the Terrano is another Nissan with the X-Trail putting in a strong showing across the board, in particular for the reliability of its engine, steering and gearbox. The chunky styling looks great, too.

8. Volvo XC60 (08-)
RI Score: 74
Average repair: £282.04
Largest claim: £773.92

The lifestyle choice, the Volvo XC60 adds a dash of brand kudos and boasts an unparalleled reputation for safety and interior quality. Outstanding mechanical reliability and low repair costs make it a real contender.

9. Citroën C-Crosser
RI Score: 80
Average repair: £368.84
Largest claim: £1,753.22

The big Citroën shares its mechanicals with the Mitsubishi Outlander and Peugeot 4007 but our statistics show it is the most reliable of the trio. Owners will appreciate the proven components which give little cause for complaint.

10. Hyundai Tuscon
RI Score: 81
Average repair: £260.15
Largest claim: £1,201.67

The Tuscon was one of the first cars of Hyundai’s renaissance, offering a good value and practical choice as well as upholding the brand’s reputation for being reliable. It doesn’t give cause for alarm in any area and should be affordable to repair.