Best and worst used 4x4s for reliabilityWhich? reveals the most reliable second hand 4x4s

18 December 2013

Toyota Rav4 1

The message from the latest Which? Car Survey is the same as last year – if you want a reliable used 4x4, consider buying Japanese. And steer well clear of the Land Rover Discovery 3, as reliability is poor and repair bills can be enormous. 

Cars are the second most expensive items that most of us buy, so you want to know that you can rely on your car to start in the morning and not leave you out of pocket. That’s why our reliability scores form a key part of our car reviews. Our survey results are particularly important for used cars, which are more likely to go wrong and less likely to be covered by a warranty. 

4x4s and SUVs are some of the biggest and most complicated cars on the market, so you might expect correspondingly large bills. However, our most reliable model should cost little more to keep on the road than an equivalent medium car. Here we reveal which used 4x4s over three years old, proved the most and least reliable in the 2013 Which? Car Survey. Tell us how reliable your car is by taking part in the 2014 Which? Car Survey.

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Most reliable used 4x4

The Toyota RAV4 (2006-2013) holds onto its top spot from last year as the most reliable used 4x4 over three years old. More than that, its reliability score has actually improved, to 3% higher than any other off-roader and nearly 40% better than this year’s worst performer.

This RAV4 has been hugely popular across Europe thanks to its blend of 4x4 all-weather ability and practicality, plus similar handling on the road to a regular car. Not only has its reliability score increased to 93%, but the average cost of repair has decreased to just £20. However, the Toyota's breakdown rate has increased from 1% to 3%.

Find out the five highest-rated used 4x4s for reliability

Land Rover Discovery 3 5

Least reliable used 4x4

Propping up the bottom of the table for another year is the Land Rover Discovery 3 (2004-2009). Not only is the Discovery more likely to need repairs than any other used 4x4, repair bills can be eye-wateringly expensive. Owners pay an average of £478 – a 20% increase on last year’s figure.

Thankfully, the Discovery’s reliability score has increased by 13% from last year, although it is still a poor 54% – some 7% below the next worst offender. On the plus side, the Discovery does offer generous interior space and class-leading off-road ability.

Find out the five lowest-rated used 4x4s for reliability

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