Best and worst 4x4s for customer satisfactionWe reveal owners’ favourite 4x4 to live with

11 February 2014

An off-roader can be one of the most expensive cars to buy and run, so you want to know you can rely on it whatever the weather. However, owners of some complex 4x4s have told us they've given them nothing but headaches.

After several wet and snowy winters, a 4x4 with the ability to deal with slippery surfaces and flooding is more appealing than ever. However, it doesn’t matter how good a 4x4 is off road, if you can't rely on it to start in the first place. We’ve heard that the difference between the best and worst 4x4s is huge, so choose carefully to avoid frequent breakdowns and potentially enormous repair bills.

One owner of the most satisfying 4x4 to live with in the latest Which? Car Survey described it as ‘easy to live with, decent mileage, great comfort and driving position. The build quality and reliability are excellent.’ However, owners of the least satisfying 4x4 complained about ‘random starting problems’, ‘poor electrics’, ‘very poor heating’ and the car being ‘not a pleasurable drive’.

Here we reveal which 4x4s proved the most and least satisfying to live with in the 2013 Which? Car Survey. Tell us how reliable your car is by taking part in the Which? Car Survey 2014.

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1 Q3 ftq copper static

Most satisfying 4x4 to live with

With an impressive customer satisfaction score of 95%, the Audi Q3 (2011-) topped the 4x4 owner satisfaction tables in the latest Which? Car Survey. Owners raved about ‘comfortable seats’, ‘very comfortable suspension’ and ‘a high driving position with great all-round visibility’.

Others described the Q3 as having the ‘best auto box/engine combination I have ever driven’ and for being ‘nimble and athletic’ to drive. Interior space, ease of driving, refinement and strong build quality were also praised.

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

Land Rover Freelander sw

Least satisfying 4x4 to live with

Way down at the bottom of the table for customer satisfaction with a score of just 60% is the Land Rover Freelander (1997-2005). Despite Land Rover’s reputation for stout off-road ability, owners slated the car for ‘unexplained random starting problems’, ‘poor electrics’, ‘a high level of cabin noise’ and ‘failing electric windows’.

Fuel economy also came in for criticism, as did ease of parking, with poor visibility with a mediocre turning circle blamed. Basics, such as the heater and the power from some of the Freelander’s engines, were also criticised.

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

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