Electric cars are most reliable, but Land Rover falls short

Electric score highest reliability

A new car reliability survey ranks electric and hybrid vehicles best overall. A rating of 96.1 percent compares with 86.5 percent for the worst-performing vehicle category: luxury SUVs.

The second-best category in the 2019 What Car? survey is city cars, with a 94.7 percent rating for reliability.

Electric cars most reliable

When it comes to individual brand reliability, you might be surprised to see Tesla placed fourth, on 96.9 percent. In fact, the only marque that seems to be dragging down the electric and hybrid class is Renault, with the Zoe scoring a disappointing 82.3 percent.

At the opposite end of the scale, the Lexus CT and Toyota Yaris Hybrid both received 100 percent ratings.

Electric score highest reliability

As for luxury SUVs, you could blame much of their dismal performance on the Range Rover. It’s the least reliable car on sale, with a 69.3 percent rating. 

The Volkswagen Touareg SUV, by contast, scores 96 percent. 

Electric cars most reliable

The small and family SUV classes perform disappointingly, given their popularity. Ratings of 93.3 and 91.6 percent respectively are just below average. Again, the family SUV class seems to suffer for the inclusion of the Range Rover Evoque, which scores just 78.4 percent.

Overall, Land Rover is the least reliable marque, with an average rating of 81.3 percent. Lexustops the table, with a 99.3 percent rating.

Electric cars most reliable

The What Car? survey questioned more than 18,000 car owners about their experiences This included how reliable their car had been over the past 12 months, how long it took for faults to be repaired, plus what it cost. 

“With some models suffering a near-50 percent failure rate, it shows how important it is for buyers do their research when purchasing their next car,” commented Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?.

Honda Civic

The most reliable company cars in 2018

Honda CivicIf you spend the working week with a Costa in the cupholder, a pressed shirt hanging in the rear window, and covering more miles than Chris Rea at Christmas, the chances are you drive a company car. So, you’ll need a vehicle that’s as reliable as your timekeeping and as well-constructed as those triple-height burgers you consume on a daily basis.

Fortunately, the Fleet News FN50 reliability survey is here to help. Put simply, these are the most reliable company cars, according to the country’s 50 biggest leasing companies.

10th most reliable company car – Nissan QashqaiNissan Qashqai

The Fleet News reliability survey is a big deal, as it’s based on breakdown and warranty data from the country’s biggest fleet operators. At the top of the list is Lex Autolease, a company with no fewer than 387,640 cars on its books. Other firms include LeasePlan, Arval, Alphabet and Arnold Clark. The Nissan Qashqai drops two places but manages to hold on to a top 10 position.

9th most reliable company car – Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius is the only hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicle to make the top 10, cementing its reputation as the default eco choice for the nation’s fleet drivers. Toyota offers a three-day test drive to business drivers thinking of taking the plunge.

8th most reliable company car – Kia Cee’d

Kia Cee'd

The new Kia Ceed may have ditched the apostrophe, but it’s the outgoing model that bags eighth place in the Fleet News reliability survey. The new Ceed (without the apostrophe) offers CO2 emissions as low as 99g/km and fuel economy up to 74.3mpg.

7th most reliable company car – Volkswagen Passat

Volkswagen Passat

It’s a fall of one place for the Volkswagen Passat, which remains popular within fleet circles. The Passat is available on contract hire for £285 a month plus VAT and £855 initial rental.

6th most reliable company car – Ford Focus

Ford Focus

Making a reappearance in the top 10 is the Ford Focus, as fleet drivers snap up the outgoing model before it makes way for the new one. The Focus has been a popular choice within fleet circles since its debut two decades ago.

5th most reliable company car – Audi A4

There’s a new Audi A4 on the way in 2019, but that hasn’t stopped the outgoing version from securing fifth position, four up on last year’s performance. Subjectively, the A4 is the perfect executive saloon, with a near-faultless interior, a generous level of standard spec and a range of economical engines.

4th most reliable company car – Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Golf

If only everything in life was as reliable as a Volks… Wait, what’s this? The evergreen Volkswagen Golf falls from second to fourth in this year’s Fleet News reliability survey.

3rd most reliable company car – BMW 5 Series

BMW 5 Series

The Golf’s loss is the BMW 5 Series’ gain, as the large executive motor jumps from fifth to third in this year’s survey. The new 5 Series is a tech-laden saloon and arguably the best drivers’ car in the segment.

2nd most reliable company car – BMW 3 Series

BMW 3 Series

After an eight-year reign as the UK’s most reliable car (according to the Fleet News data), the outgoing BMW 3 Series has lost its title. The all-new 3 Series will hit the streets in March, and BMW will be hoping that the lighter, more efficient model will reclaim its throne.

1st most reliable company car – Honda Civic

Honda Civic

So, the Honda Civic is the country’s most reliable company car. Commenting on the title, Marc Samuel, fleet sales operation manager, Honda UK, said: “To have the Honda Civic named as the most reliable car for fleets is a fantastic achievement and testament to the work we are doing to deliver a unique and more dynamic proposition to end users.”

Keep scrolling as we reveal the best performing manufacturers.

10th best performing manufacturer – Nissan

Nissan Qashqai

Nissan occupies 10th place in the manufacturer table, falling from seventh. It manages to hold on to a top 10 position thanks, in part, to the ever-popular Qashqai.

9th best performing manufacturer – Ford

Ford Mondeo

The Focus might have performed well in this year’s Fleet News reliability survey, but that’s not enough to prevent the blue oval from falling from fifth to ninth.

8th best performing manufacturer – Volkswagen

Volkswagen Polo

Volkswagen may have two cars in the top ten, but both cars performed worse than last year, resulting in the German giant falling from eighth to fourth in this year’s table.

7th best performing manufacturer – Audi

Audi A4

It’s been a busy year for Audi, with the company launching the new A8, A7, A6 and Q5, but that can’t prevent a fall from second to seventh place.

6th best performing manufacturer – Kia

Kia Sportage

A strong performance from the C’eed sees Kia enter the top 10 manufacturers for the first time, securing sixth place. The rise and rise of the Korean brands looks set to continue for many years to come.

5th best performing manufacturer – Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz C-Class

The E-Class was pushed out of the top 10, but Mercedes-Benz still manages to finish fifth on the list of manufacturers. This shows remarkable consistency across its range, which includes fleet favourites like the A-Class, C-Class and E-Class.

4th best performing manufacturer – Hyundai

Hyundai i30

And, in at number four, it’s Hyundai, which secures a strong position despite not having any models in the top 10. This is the highest new entry and the best performance from a Korean company.

3rd best performing manufacturer – Toyota

Toyota Prius

Much of Toyota’s success is down to the Prius, but we should mention the Yaris, which is also available as a hybrid and finished 14th overall.

2nd best performing manufacturer – Honda

Honda Civic

Honda may have driven away with the title of most reliable company car, but it has to be content with second place on the list of manufacturers. Still, this is a great result following the sixth place finish last year.

1st best performing manufacturer – BMW

BMW 3 Series

With two models in the top three, it’s no surprise to find BMW sitting at the top of the fleet tree. Adam Harley, BMW Group UK national leasing manager, said: “For BMW to retain the title of most reliable car manufacturer for yet another year is an outstanding performance. Given the breadth of our range and the significant number of BMWs managed by the FN50, this firmly reinforces the substance of our product.”

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Tesla Model S grille

Tesla calls reliability survey ‘statistically meaningless’


Tesla has responded to news its Model S has come bottom of a major 2018 car reliability survey – by calling the results ‘statistically meaningless’. What Car?, which carried out the survey, has since countered Tesla’s claim (see below), arguing its survey was “more than representative of Tesla’s real-world presence”.

The What Car? reader reliability survey allows owners to contribute their experiences with their cars for a wider collation of consumer experience. This year, more than 18,000 motorists responded.

The long-serving Model S was by far the worst performer, with a reliability rating of just 50.9 percent. The next ‘worst’ car above the bottom-rung Tesla was the Range Rover, at 67.3 percent. That’s 16.4 percentage points above the Model S.

Tesla Model S

‘This survey is statistically meaningless’

Only 28 Model S owners responded out of a total of 18,000 car owners surveyed by What Car?” said a Tesla spokesperson. “That’s less than 0.3 percent of UK Tesla owners, so this survey is statistically meaningless.

The results of this survey are also at odds not only with our internal figures showing customer satisfaction scores for Model S and X at well over 90 percent, but with statistically valid surveys like our Net Promotor Score and Consumer Reports customer satisfaction survey, which we’ve topped every year since 2013.

90% of Tesla owners saying they would buy the same car again – more than any other brand.

Tesla Model S grille

We are committed to making the world’s best cars, and in order to ensure the highest quality, we review every vehicle for even the smallest refinement before it leaves the factory.

To the extent repairs are needed, the majority of work carried out on cars up to 4 years old is done under warranty and free of charge to the customer while they are supplied with a courtesy car.

Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla repairs can also be carried out in a customer’s driveway or office by mobile service, or even via over-the-air updates, to minimise any disruption.”


The Motoring Research view

That such a small portion of the UK Tesla customer base took part in the survey is interesting. Technically, it’s not very telling of the experiences of all UK Tesla owners.

That said, what could have prompted such a poor score from this small cross section? Do they have a grudge to bear? Would the result have been echoed by other owners?

What we can note is that this isn’t Tesla’s first disappointing performance in the survey. The marque came 30th out of 32 in the reliability by marque survey last year, at 52.4 percent.

What constitutes “unreliable” is an interesting question too. Where a conventional-fuel car developing a misfire would be considered a problem, so too could a screen freeze and forced reboot on a Model S. Concerning results and burning questions – that’s what we take from all of this.

Update: What Car? responds

What Car? has responded to Tesla’s statement. “Tesla owners represented 0.19 percent of what was a very robust total sample of 18,000 UK car owners in the What Car? survey,” said the motoring magazine.

“Compared with Tesla’s actual UK market share of 0.11 percent (according to official figures obtained from the DVLA), this means that the What Car? Study was more than representative of Tesla’s real-world presence in the British car parc.

Read more: 

The 10 most reliable car brands

The 10 most reliable car brands

The 10 most reliable car brandsTurning to a Japanese brand might be a passport to a stress-free life, if the results of the What Car? Reliability Survey are to be believed. Read on to discover the makes of car likely to be a dream to own. We’ll run through the top 10 manufacturers in reverse order.

10. Subaru 81.8%The 10 most reliable car brands

Steve Huntingford, editor at What Car? said: “Japanese brands continue to lead by example when it comes to reliability; the breadth of vehicles with near-faultless scores highlights the engineering prowess of Far Eastern manufacturers.” Subaru scores 81.8%.

9. Ford: 82.1%The 10 most reliable car brands

This is a great result for a volume manufacturer, with the B-Max and C-Max performing particularly well. The cars finished first and second in the MPV category, with only 17% and 18% of owners reporting faults with a B-Max and C-Max, respectively.

8. MG: 83.4%The 10 most reliable car brands

Fair play to MG, because eighth place is a tremendous result for a niche brand. A new ZS crossover is on the way, and MG will be hoping it proves to be as reliable as the MG3.

7. Hyundai 84.8%The 10 most reliable car brands

The Hyundai i30 secures a top three finish in the family car category, with only 15% of cars suffering faults. These minor niggles were fixed under Hyundai’s excellent five-year warranty in less than a week.

6. Honda: 84.9%The 10 most reliable car brands

Not one Honda Jazz owner reported any faults with their car, giving the supermini a perfect reliability score. Meanwhile, the previous-generation Jazz sits in fourth place in the small cars category, with only minor niggles reported.

25. Alfa Romeo: 85.8%The 10 most reliable car brands

Heard the one about the Alfa Romeo that was more reliable than a Honda? It’s often said that truth is stranger than fiction, but you’d be forgiven for thinking we’d lost our marbles if we told you a new Alfa could be more dependable than a car built by the Japanese giant. The fact is: Alfa Romeo finished fifth in the latest What Car? Reliability Survey, one place higher than Honda.

4. Suzuki: 86.6%The 10 most reliable car brands

Suzuki just misses out on a top three finish, but this is a strong performance for a brand focused on value for money.

3. Toyota: 89.6%The 10 most reliable car brands

Toyota’s star performer is the Aygo, with owners reporting no faults with their cars. Indeed, 13% cited reliability as the thing they liked most about their car.

2. Mitsubishi: 90.8%The 10 most reliable car brands

The Mitsubishi Outlander emerges victorious in the large SUV category, ahead of some big-name premium brands. Less than 10% of Outlanders suffered a fault, 75% of which were fixed in a day. All were fixed for free in less than a week.

1. Lexus: 92.1%The 10 most reliable car brands

For a stress-free life, buy a Lexus. The CT 200h is the standout model, with a 100% reliability score. Meanwhile, the Lexus IS finished second in the executive car category.

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Modern luxury cars are the most likely to breakdown

Luxury cars are the most likely to break down

Modern luxury cars are the most likely to breakdown

The most expensive new cars on the market are the most likely to go wrong within three years, a survey by consumer group Which? has found.

As part of its annual Which? car survey, drivers revealed that more than a third (36%) of luxury cars require a trip to the garage within the first three years. That’s despite the average luxury car buyer spending more than £49,000 on their new motor.

The faults are likely to be caused by the complicated technology used in luxury cars – with complex infotainment and sophisticated safety systems likely to cause big bills when out of warranty.

City car drivers, meanwhile, spend the least on their car (£10,108 on average) – but only a quarter go wrong within three years, making them the most reliable cars available.

The survey revealed the most reliable luxury car you can buy is a Tesla Model S, although even this is plagued with faults, scoring only three stars out of five for reliability.

Nearly a third of Model S owners reported issues, most commonly to do with handles or locks for the boot or door. Which? also says it’s heard of issues with seat belts and rainwater seals on the Tesla.

Not that this seems to deter the cars’ owners. “It is quite simply the best car I have ever driven. It is economical, efficient, smooth and effortless to drive,” said one Tesla owner.

Related news on Motoring Research:

Although the latest Jaguar XF has only been out two years, Which? says 42% of owners that took part in its survey have had issues with their car, making it the least reliable luxury car available. One owner said: “A car of its price that leaks water into the door and one of the exterior door seals peels off. [It indicates a] poor quality build.”

As part of the survey, the organisation questioned 44,794 owners about 50,742 cars.

Least reliable cars

Revealed: the UK’s least reliable cars

01_least_reliable_carsA car’s reliability is the great unknown when buying a used car – or is it? By using data from reliability surveys, you can reduce the chances of buying an unreliable motor, saving you time, hassle and money in the long run. We’ve used data from the Warranty Direct Reliability Index to provide a list of the 10 least reliable cars in the UK. The results are presented in reverse order.

10. BMW 7 Series (2008-2015)Least reliable cars

Reliability Index: 350

The new BMW 7 Series is a technological tour de force, but if the Warranty Direct survey is anything to go by, there might be issues over its long-term reliability. The outgoing 7 Series has an average repair cost of £614.48.

9. Mercedes-Benz S-Class (1999-2006)Least reliable cars

Reliability Index: 359

And here’s the second Mercedes-Benz S-Class to appear on the list. Watch for electrical gremlins and suspension problems when buying a Mercedes-Benz S-Class built between 1999 and 2006.

8. Skoda Superb (2002-2008)Least reliable cars

Reliability Index: 360

Bit of a surprise this one, with the original Skoda Superb finishing eighth on the list of the most unreliable cars. Many of these cars were used for private hire duties and are most likely to suffer from engine problems.

7. BMW M3 (2007-2013)Least reliable cars

Reliability Index: 408

No single issue stands out when looking at the BMW M3, which suggests the reliability issues are simply down to the fact that these cars will have been driven hard. The average cost of repair is £635.26.

6. Mercedes-Benz M-Class (1998-2006)Least reliable cars

Reliability Index: 409

Another appearance for the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, this time in the shape of the original version, launched in 1998. This has always been a car to approach with caution, with the Warranty Direct survey suggesting the suspension is the key area to look out for.

5. Audi Q7 (2006-2015)Least reliable cars

Reliability Index: 426

We’re into the top five, so these are the cars you need to look at with your eyes wide open. Or, at the very least, take a mechanic along for the ride. The Audi Q7 is a supersize SUV with supersize repair bills. Bank on spending £733.50 should something go wrong.

4. Mercedes-Benz R-Class (2006-2012)Least reliable cars

Reliability Index: 490

It’s got a face only a mother could love and a reputation for reliability that begs the question: do you really want a Mercedes-Benz R-Class?

3. Bentley Continental GT (2003-2012)Least reliable cars

Reliability Index: 502

And so we reach the final three: the least reliable cars in the UK. If you own a Bentley Continental GT you can probably afford the £603.49 you’ll spend on repairs, but it’s worth noting that suspension and electrical problems are likely to occur.

2. Mercedes-Benz GL (2006-2012)Least reliable cars

Reliability Index: 533

With a Reliability Index of 533, you need to be on your guard when buying a Mercedes-Benz GL-Class. Everything about this supersize SUV is big, including the £563.90 average repair cost.

1. Nissan GT-R (2009-2016)Least reliable cars

Reliability Index: 626

This is it: the least reliable car in the UK, according to Warranty Direct. Or is it? Look at the data and you’ll discover a blemish-free record for air conditioning, cooling, fuel system and transmission, and figures for engine, electrics and gearbox that are no worse, if not better, than the other 49 cars on the list. The problem is the average cost of repair, which comes in at an eyebrow-raising £3,516.01. Worse still, the average mileage of the Nissan GT-Rs surveyed was just 21,690.

Reliable cars

The 5 most reliable car brands

Reliable carsAccording to a recent survey, UK buyers think German cars are among the most reliable on the road. However, real repair data from Warrantywise largely contradicts this, with Japanese brands dominating the reliability roundup. Join us as we count down the five most dependable car brands – and reveal the average repair cost for each.

Reliable cars5. Hyundai

Dependability score: 88

Want some Korea’s advice? Buy a Hyundai. You get a five-year manufacturer warranty, good-value prices and a strong dependability score of 88. The Tucson SUV is decent to drive, too.

Reliable cars5. Hyundai

Average repair cost: £577

Like many of its rivals, Hyundai is trying to move upmarket with its own premium sub-brand: Genesis. Would the promise of good reliability make you choose a Genesis over an Audi? Phil Collins has so far refused to comment…

Reliable cars4. Mitsubishi

Dependability score: 89

Mitsubishi sees the future in plug-in hybrids, like its Outlander PHEV. In the present, though, the firm is doing very nicely indeed. Sales are up, and a dependability score of 89 puts it fourth here.

Reliable cars4. Mitsubishi

Average repair cost: £833

Ouch! Yes, that’s the highest average repair cost here – a whopping £833. To put that in perspective, it’s more than double what you’d typically pay to repair a Smart. Good thing Mitsubishis are reliable, really…

Reliable cars3. Suzuki

Dependability score: 92

Suzuki got off to a shaky start with its Celerio city car, which failed a brake test conducted by Autocar magazine. However, the Celerio is now fixed and proving reliable, as a dependability score of 92 shows.

Reliable cars3. Suzuki

Average repair cost: £424

The latest Vitara is good fun to drive – and repair costs are affordable for a 4×4. The average across the Suzuki range is £424.

Reliable cars2. Toyota

Dependability score: 93

Toyota recalls always make the news, but their relative frequency shows how keen the company is to ensure its products are totally reliable. It just loses out to one of its Japanese rivals – but who could that be?

Reliable cars2. Toyota

Average repair cost: £592

Whatever you think about the styling of the new Prius, it’s likely to be very dependable indeed. Toyota has proved that hybrid tech needn’t mean excessive repair and maintenance costs.

Reliable cars1. Honda

Dependability score: 93

So here we are at the top of the table – and it’s Honda that takes first prize. Its dependability score of 93 is actually the same as Toyota, but average repair costs are lower.

Reliable cars1. Honda

Average repair cost: £535

From the practical Jazz to the banzai Civic Type R, Honda has a car to suit most tastes. If you value trouble-free motoring, it’s the number one choice.