Holiday Car Shopping? Here Are Winter’s Most Reliable SUVs

Alex Palmeri
December 14, 2017

December is a historically strong month for auto sales due to end-of-year discounts and holiday shopping. SUVs are the vehicle of choice for many families during the winter, with ample space inside for presents and AWD for those snowy days.

But before you slap a giant bow on just any vehicle, you may want to consider how dependable it will be. RepairPal has compiled Reliability Ratings for SUVs to help you make the best purchase decision this winter season.

SUVs are reliable, overall

With four out of the seven SUV segments scoring above average, SUVs represent some of the more reliable vehicles on the road. 

Across all SUVs, the average annual repair cost is $595 with shop visits averaging out to once every other year. Of those repairs, just 11% are likely to be considered “severe.”

Other findings include: 

  • Compact and midsize SUVs scored highest with annual repair costs substantially lower than the $620 average across all vehicles.
  • The Honda CR-V is rated the most reliable SUV, and the only SUV in the top 10 most reliable cars overall.
  • Luxury SUVs scored lower, especially larger vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, due to higher annual repair costs.
Reliability Rating
Annual Repair Costs
Compact SUV
4.0 - Above Average
Midsize SUV
4.0 - Above Average
Subcompact SUV
4.0 - Above Average
Luxury Midsize SUV
3.5 - Above Average
Fullsize SUV
3.0 - Average
Luxury Compact SUV
3.0 - Average
Luxury Fullsize SUV
1.5 - Below Average
All SUVs
3.5 - Above Average

Top 10 most reliable SUVs

The Honda CR-V shines as the most reliable SUV and third-most reliable car across all models. The CR-V scored an excellent rating of 4.5 due to its low annual repair cost ($404) and low probability for severe repairs (7%). All SUVs in the top 10 scored an excellent and include subcompact, compact, and midsize segments.

honda cr-v
Image sourced from Honda

  1. Honda CR-V
  2. Nissan Rogue Select
  3. Hyundai Veracruz
  4. Mitsubishi Endeavor
  5. Kia Soul
  6. Hyundai Tucson
  7. Honda Element
  8. Toyota RAV4
  9. Infiniti QX80
  10. Mazda CX-5

Top 10 least reliable SUVs

Not surprisingly, the least reliable SUVs are dominated by full-size luxury SUVs. The lower ratings of these SUVs are due to high annual repair costs, extra trips to the shop, and high probabilities of severe repairs when compared to industry averages of $620, 0.5, and 11% respectively. The Mercedes GL-550 more than doubled industry averages, with annual repair costs of $1,639, 1.1 trips to the shop per year, and a severity probability of 22%. 

mercedes benz gl-class
Image sourced from Mercedes-Benz

  1. Mercedes-Benz GL-Class
  2. BMW X6
  3. Infiniti QX56
  4. BMW X5
  5. Mercedes-Benz R350
  6. Cadillac Escalade
  7. Land Rover Range Rover
  8. Porsche Cayenne
  9. Lincoln MKT
  10. Lincoln Navigator


Alex Palmeri

About the Author

Alex Palmeri worked nine years as a master technician at Mercedes-Benz of Chicago and is currently the foreman at a large fleet garage. He writes about automotive news, maintenance and racing, and runs a YouTube channel called Legit Street Cars.

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