Geographically, the United Arab Emirates has a total landmass of 83,600 km2 with a mountainous and barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel. The naturally-rough terrain, coupled with the seasonally-hot weather would typically make the choice of cars a very delicate decision. However, that’s not the case, because the Emirati government has invested a huge chunk of its wealth into good road infrastructure; in fact the UAE ranks first globally in terms of road quality.

So, what’s the explanation for the UAE residents’ love for SUVs or 4x4s like some prefer to call it? Because this certainly has nothing to do with bad roads. Probably 5 out of every 10 private cars you see on a UAE road are SUVs. We don’t have an official explanation for this, but it could be largely due to the ease of buying cars in the UAE through auto loans, the fact that larger vehicles can accommodate larger families, or simply due to the high level of interest in off-road and desert driving.

Whatever path you decide to thread between off-roading and dune bashing in the UAE desert, one of the essentials is a reliable SUV to combat the terrain.

Based on observations that span a decade, below are the top 10 most reliable SUV models in the United Arab Emirates.

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10. Kia Sportage

The Kia Sportage is a compact crossover SUV that has been very popular and considered reliable in the UAE even before the complete redesign in 2017, thanks to its capability and relatively low maintenance cost. The Sportage which comes in three trim levels – LX, EX, and SX Turbo, offers advanced technology features including Blind Spot Detection, a Lane Departure Warning System, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Downhill Brake Control, and more. All trim levels are available with optional Magna Dynamax intelligent, fully active AWD with locking differential which is designed to sense, anticipate and enhance traction requirements for a variety of road and weather conditions. Under the hood, the latest Kia Sportage features a 2.4-liter GDI I-4 engine which produces 181 hp and 175 lb-ft of torque, and 2.0-liter T-GDI I-4 engine variant which produces 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Prices start at $24,090 USD which is around AED 88,500.

9. Ford Edge

The Ford Edge is a mid-size crossover SUV that is also very popular and reliable in the region, that it has become one of the cars with the best resale value in the UAE. The Ford Edge offers SE, SEL, Titanium and ST trim levels, which boast a host of great features like the standard Ford Co-Pilot360 including Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert, Lane-Keeping System, rear view camera, auto high-beam headlamps, and so much more. The SE, SEL, and Titanium trim levels are powered by a 2.0-liter DOHC 16-valve twin-scroll EcoBoost I4 engine which produces 250 horsepower and 275 lb-ft of torque; while the ST trim level boasts a 2.7-liter DOHC 24-valve EcoBoost V6 engine which cranks out 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. Prices start at $32,250 USD.

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8. Land Rover Discovery

When we’re talking about performance plus luxury, the Land Rover Discovery is undoubtedly one of the go-to vehicles. The Land Rover Discovery is manufactured with a 3.0-liter V6 gasoline engine with a horsepower of 254 and a torque of 443 lb-ft. It has a top speed of 130 mph and accelerates between 0-60mph within 7.7 seconds. Designed with Optional Intelligent Seat Fold feature which allows you to determine how you want to utilize the 7-person seating space and the cargo area. The technology infused in the car avails you connectivity and information through ingenious driving, parking and towing aids as well as state-of-the-art navigation which brings the world to your fingertips. The Tow Hitch Assist is one of the towing features that allow you to tow up to 8201 pounds. Prices start at AED 181,965 ($49,543 USD)

7. Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer is popular and considered reliable not only in the UAE, but in the gulf region in general. The humongous machine boasts a 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine which produces 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque, enabling it to reach a targeted top track speed of 143 mph. The all-new 2021 Ford Explorer comes with even more technology and creature comforts for both driver and passengers, including an available 10.1-inch portrait-mounted touch screen with full-screen maps, traffic-sensing Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assist innovations, and features that can help reduce stress such as available Reverse Brake Assist and Active Park Assist 2.0. The SUV provides seating space for seven people and 87.8 cubic feet of cargo space, and its rear-wheel-drive architecture enables a sportier, more athletic design, improved on- and off-road capability and 600 pounds more in maximum towing capacity. Prices start at $32,675 USD.

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6. Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota Land Cruiser is a full-size luxury SUV reputable for being reliable and durable anywhere across the globe, and the UAE is not excluded. The vehicle boasts a 5.7-liter V8 engine which cranks out 381 horsepower and 401 pound-feet of torque, with a maximum towing capacity of 8,100 pounds. The Land Cruiser boasts impressive off-road capabilities powerful enough to tackle some of the toughest terrain; thanks to its Crawl Control (CRAWL) with Off-road Turn Assist (OTA), Multi-terrain Select and the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS). Prices for the 2021 Land Cruiser starts around $85,565 USD.

5. Jeep Wrangler

Mostly popular within the western expat community in the UAE, this iconic American machine is the way to go if you’ve just landed and you’re yet to decide whether you’ll be cruising the cities or exploring the desert. Apart from its popularity for its off-road capabilities, the Jeep Wrangler is one of the few SUV models that offer a convertible option. With the convertible version you, your family and friends can enjoy the cities or wild desert adventure with the roof-off. The Jeep Wrangler delivers unmatched off-road capability and is produced with more than seven decades of 4×4 engineering experience. Powertrain options include a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with engine stop-start (ESS), 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 with mild-hybrid e-Torque technology, 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with ESS and a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine with mild-hybrid e-Torque technology. The Jeep Wrangler continues to offer a body-on-frame design, front and rear five-link suspension system, solid axles, electronic lockers and is one of the few SUVs to offer a six-speed manual transmission in addition to its available eight-speed automatic. Prices start at $28,575 USD.

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4. Mitsubishi Pajero

The fourth generation Mitsubishi Pajero is so popular in the UAE that if you observe, you’ll see at least ten of this car model within five minutes on a busy road, on a daily basis. The SUV boasts a turbodiesel 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 178 hp and 317 lb-ft torque, and an 8-speed automatic transmission that delivers excellent environmental and smooth performance. The SUV comes with features like the Lane Change Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert systems and many more. The 4WD model is accompanied by a switch which provides access to the off-road mode. It can tow as many other vehicles on this list and is a brute on road. Prices start at AED 96,900 ($26,382 USD).

3. Nissan Patrol

One of the most reliable SUVs ever in the UAE till date, this big boy has more than earned its reputation with its ability to provide the same outstanding level of comfort cruising on the Dubai highway, desert, or the rocky mountain terrain. The new Nissan Patrol stands out for its extensive suite of advanced safety and security technologies. In addition to the Nissan Intelligent Mobility technologies already available, the new Patrol comes with Intelligent Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection and the Intelligent Forward Collision Warning system. The base Nissan Patrol comes with a 4.0-liter V6 engine which produces 275 horsepower and 394 Nm of torque. The 5.6-liter V8 variant produces 400 horsepower and 560 Nm of torque. An All-Mode 4X4 system lets the driver switch modes to handle different on- and off-road conditions. Hydraulic Body Motion Control, available on V8 models, ensures a more comfortable ride thanks to improved suspension and vibration reduction. With a long list of amazing features, it is no wonder the Patrol retains 82% of its value after the first full year of use. Prices start at AED 199,900 ($54,426 USD).

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2. Land Rover Range Rover

Unarguably one of the safest and most luxurious SUVs in the UAE market and the world at large, the Land Rover Range Rover comes in at number 2 on the list. The Land Rover Range Rover has always been synonymous with supreme refinement, capability and distinctive design cues such as its signature floating roofline, continuous waistline and lower accent graphic. A more spacious interior, coupled with executive rear seating, offers an exemplary level of comfort for driver and passengers. The new Land Rover Range Rover boasts outstanding performance and great fuel efficiency, thanks to the new 360PS and 400PS 6-cylinder petrol engine which incorporates Mild Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) technology which along with other measures, reduces CO2 emissions and improves driveability. This roomy SUV features top-notch technologies and delivers luxurious driving experience, thanks to features like the Driver Assist Pack, LED lighting, the Touch Pro Duo infotainment system, full color Head-up Display and seven mode Terrain Response with Comfort Mode. Prices start at AED 173,460 ($47,227 USD).

1. Mercedes-AMG G63

Sitting gallantly at the number one spot, is the highly-rated and popular Mercedes-AMG G63. This high-performance and luxurious SUV is the go-to vehicle for UAE residents who can afford it. The 2019 Mercedes-AMG G63 features a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo engine which is capable of cranking out 577 horsepower and 627 lb-ft of torque.

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Also known as the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagen, this German machine is full of safety and convenience features including blind spot monitors, Electronic Stability Program, Adaptive braking technology, dual-zone climate control, multi-contour power front seats, cutting-edge infotainment technology, and so much more. The SUV is very popular and well respected in the UAE, not only because of its top-notch performance, reliability and looks, but because the original idea of the G-class came from the Middle East – it was developed as a military vehicle at the suggestion of the Shah of Iran, who at the time was a significant Mercedes shareholder.

Needless to say, this is also the preferred vehicle of the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. If you ever see him on the road, you’re likely to see him riding in his white Mercedes-AMG G63 with the number plate ‘1’. The MSRP for the 2021 Mercedes-AMG G63 is $156,450 USD which is over half a million UAE dirhams.