Using the feedback received from car owners who took the Driver Power survey, Auto Express has named the best and worst car manufacturers of 2018. Drivers who bought their car in the past 12 months rated their vehicles across nine categories, with the results created to form an overall percentage score. If Auto Express readers are to be believed, these are the car manufacturers you can trust with your hard-earned cash. We’ll present the results in reverse order.
10th best: Jaguar
With a score of 90.65 percent, Jaguar manages to creep into the top 10, just ahead of Suzuki. Owners praised the engines, gearboxes, ride and handling, exterior styling and practicality, but were less happy with the infotainment systems, interior design and reliability. A total of 28.1 percent owners reported faults within the past 12 months.
9th best: Mazda
Mazda drops four places in the 2018 Driver Power survey, finishing with a score of 90.97 percent. It’s a mixed set of results for the Japanese firm, with second places finishes for exterior styling and build quality counterbalanced by low marks for practicality and running costs. Owners were also quick to criticise Mazda’s MZD-Connect infotainment system.
8th best: Kia
Kia finished an impressed third in the 2017 Driver Power survey, but drops five places in this year’s table. The reasons for the slump: a lowly 22nd place in the engine and gearbox category, along with 18th for running costs. On the plus side, Kia picked up runner-up positions in the practicality and infotainment categories.
7th best: Land Rover
Last year, Land Rover had to endure a miserable 24th position in the Driver Power survey, so a seventh place finish in 2018 will be seen as a good result. Owners praised the interior comfort, along with the engine, gearbox, infotainment, practicality and safety. A 21st place for fuel economy and running costs, and a 16th for reliability, suggests there’s still work to be done.
6th best: Skoda
From the dizzy heights of second in 2017 to sixth in 2018, Skoda might be a little disappointed with this result. According to Auto Express, the owners would like a little more excitement from their cars, while the Czech company finished in the bottom half of the table in the exterior category. Predictably, Skoda owners seem satisfied with their car’s reliability and running costs.
5th best: Volkswagen
Volkswagen beats Skoda by the narrowest of margins, with VW scoring 91.15 percent, while its Czech mate scores 91.14 percent. This nine-place rise is helped by good engine and infotainment ratings, along high praise for the interior quality. Only one in 10 drivers told Auto Express they had a experienced some kind of fault in the first year.
4th best: Nissan
Hats off to Nissan, with the Japanese giant jumping from 20th in 2017 to an excellent fourth place finish in 2018. Being ranked first for infotainment, connectivity and electrics certainly helps, while Nissan also performed well in the safety and exterior categories. Reliability and build quality are two of the brand’s weakest areas.
3rd best: Honda
A score of 91.36 percent is enough for Honda to secure a podium finish, with owners enjoying low running costs and reliable cars. The company achieved a first for practicality and boot space, while dealers were praised for their fair prices. Negative points include styling, ride and handling, plus Honda’s infotainment system.
2nd best: Alfa Romeo
Be honest, if we had asked you to predict the top three, you wouldn’t have placed Alfa Romeo in second spot. This represents a tremendous turnaround in fortunes, with Alfa going from nowhere to be seen in 2017 to a silver medal in 2018. Predictably, owners love the way their cars look and drive, but are less sure about reliability and build quality.
The best: Lexus
It’s another first place finish for Lexus, with the Japanese luxury brand ranked first for interior, comfort and reliability. The firm’s hybrid powertrains played a part in a fourth place for running costs, while build quality is another Lexus strong point. The only negative: a seventh place for infotainment.
10th worst: Peugeot
You’ve seen the best, now it’s time to focus on the rest. According to Auto Express readers, these are the worst manufacturers in the UK. We’ll present the results in reverse order, starting with Peugeot. A score of 89.74 percent is low enough to keep Ford (90.02 percent) just out of the top 10.
9th worst: Audi
This isn’t a good result for Audi, but it’s not the only premium brand to finish in the bottom 10. In fact, a score of 89.67 percent is enough for Audi to finish above Mercedes-Benz and BMW.
8th worst: MINI
MINI offers a range of cars dripping in showroom appeal, but on this evidence the novelty of owning a fashionable motor might soon wear off. A score of 89.62 percent is only enough for a 19th place finish, or eighth worst.
7th worst: Mercedes-Benz
Still, it could be worse. Mercedes-Benz offers a bewildering array of vehicles, including coupe versions of SUVs, and performance crossovers, but it might need to concentrate more on keeping its owners satisfied. On the plus side, Stuttgart finishes ahead of Munich…
6th worst: BMW
But only just. BMW is the lowest-ranking premium brand, with the remaining five places filled with volume and budget-led manufacturers. A case of owners having high expectations, or a more deep-rooted problem?
5th worst: Vauxhall
Into the bottom five, where we find Vauxhall on 89.20 percent. PSA bosses will be hoping that the range of Peugeot-based crossovers will propel Vauxhall up the table in 2019.
4th worst: Fiat
Next, we arrive at Fiat, which finishes with a score of 89.01 percent. If Fiat sold enough of its Mazda-based 124 Spider it might stand a better chance of finishing higher up the table, but the third-generation Panda is in desperate need of an overhaul, having been launched in 2011.
3rd worst: Renault
French car fans look away now, because this won’t make for good reading. Renault secures an unwelcome podium spot, scoring 88.37 percent in the Driver Power survey. The Captur finished a miserable 70th out of 75 in the individual car table.
2nd worst: Citroen
Meanwhile, the C4 Cactus and C3 both finished in the bottom four, contributing to a disappointing 87.88 percent score for Citroen. The company is pushing more upmarket with the revamped C4 Cactus, but this would suggest that there’s a lot of work to be done.
The worst: Dacia
While leaves us with Dacia: named by Auto Express readers as the worst car manufacturer of 2018. The Sandero also finished rock bottom of the individual car table, cementing an unwanted double dose of misery for the budget-led brand.
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