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.”

Read more:

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

Japanese brands finish top in the What Car? reliability study. We count down the top 10 car brands, including Honda and – oh yes – Alfa Romeo

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.

Revealed: the UK’s most reliable cars

Revealed: the UK’s most reliable cars

Revealed: the UK’s most reliable cars

By using data from reliability surveys, you can increase the chances of buying a reliable motor, saving you hundreds, possibly thousands of pounds on repair bills. Using data from the Warranty Direct Reliability Index, we can reveal the 50 most reliable cars in the UK, with the results presented in reverse order.

50. Volkswagen Fox (2006-2012)

Reliability Index: 47

The Reliability Index is based on data acquired over more than a decade by Warranty Direct and includes the number of times a car fails, the cost of repairing it, the average time it spends off the road due to repairs and the average age of mileage of the vehicles. In short: the lower the Reliability Index score, the more reliable the car should be. According to Warranty Direct, the Volkswagen Fox creeps into the top 50 with a score of 47.

49. Toyota Auris (2007-2013)

Reliability Index: 46

The Reliability Index includes information on which parts of the car fail most often: air conditioning, axle and suspension, braking, cooling and heating, electrical, engine, fuel system, gearbox, steering system and transmission are all studied. The Toyota Auris scores well across the board, although the £379 average repair cost is one of the highest in the top 50.

48. Audi TT (1999-2006)

Reliability Index: 45

German cars are conspicuous by their absence, with Japanese cars dominating the upper reaches of the Reliability Index. The first generation Audi TT is the exception to the rule, providing the proof that style and dependability can mix. The braking system is the TT’s weakest point, if the Warranty Direct data is to be believed.

47. Mazda 3 (2004-2009)

Reliability Index: 45

A car will only be included in the Reliability Index when Warranty Direct has the data for at least 50 examples of each make and model. Aside from a poor score in the ‘axle and suspension’ category, the Mazda 3 produced a good set of results across the board.

46. Ford Ka (1996-2009)

46. Ford Ka (1996-2009)

Reliability Index: 43

The original Ford Ka is fun to drive, cheap to run and – according to the Warranty Direct data – is one of the most reliable used city cars in the UK. With an average repair cost of £140, it should be cheap to put right if things do go wrong. You just need to look out for the dreaded rust.

45. Renault Kangoo (2009-2012)

Reliability Index: 42

The Renault Kangoo would have appeared further up the table, but was let down by a poor record for electrical gremlins. If things go wrong, you can bank on spending £297 on fixing this van-based MPV.

44. Citroen Berlingo First (2005-2009)

Reliability Index: 42

If you’re after a no-frills, no-nonsense van-based MPV, you can do a lot worse than the Citroen Berlingo. A high roofline and a pair of sliding doors means this is more practical than a standard crossover, while it should provide years of reliable transport.

43. Renault Scenic (2009-2016)

Reliability Index: 41

Own up, you didn’t expect to a see a trio of French cars performing so well in a reliability survey, did you? The all-new Renault Scenic has gone off in a new direction, offering SUV-like styling and huge alloy wheels, but the Reliability Index suggests the outgoing model was surprisingly dependable. In common with the Kangoo, electrical issues are the primary complaint.

42. Toyota Corolla (2001-2007)

Reliability Index: 37

The Toyota Corolla badge has been banished from the UK, with the Auris taking its place. An evening in with a Corby trouser press might be more exciting, but at least the Corolla won’t let you down. Just don’t ask it to press your slacks.

41. Skoda Fabia (2007-2014)

41. Skoda Fabia (2007-2014)

Reliability Index: 37

The Fabia is the only Skoda to appear in the top 50, but it’s worth noting that the Warranty Direct data is a few years old. The Fabia is based on the Volkswagen Polo, a car that doesn’t make the top 50.

40. Suzuki Jimny (1998-present)

Reliability Index: 37

In more ways than one, the Suzuki Jimny is the car that goes on and on. It’ll venture further off the beaten track than some SUVs costing considerably more, and has been on sale in its current guise since 1998.

39. Toyota Prius (2009-2015)

Reliability Index: 36

The Toyota Prius is arguably the world’s most famous eco car – the darling of green-washed celebrity and Uber cab drivers. The previous generation Prius appears at number 39 on the list of dependable cars, but it’s not the most reliable generation on the list…

38. Vauxhall Zafira (1999-2005)

Reliability Index: 36

Another car you probably didn’t expect to see here: it’s the original Vauxhall Zafira. Thanks to its innovative Flex7 seating system, the Zafira won the hearts and minds of family across the land. It’s the 38th most reliable car in the Warranty Direct survey. Who’d have thought it?

37. Vauxhall Tigra (2004-2009)

Reliability Index: 35

No, not the original and increasingly appealing Tigra, but the second generation ‘Twin Top’ Tigra, introduced in 2004. The Corsa-based coupe-cabriolet is the second and final Vauxhall to appear on the list.

36. Nissan Micra (2002-2010)

36. Nissan Micra (2002-2010)

Reliability Index: 34

The K12 Nissan Micra isn’t the most practical of superminis: a lack of space for rear seat passengers and a small boot are two complaints. But aside from that, the third generation Micra is a thoroughly decent supermini.

35. Kia Rio (2005-2011)

Reliability Index: 34

Kia Rio owners have little cause for complaint, with the brakes being the only real issue highlighted by the Warranty Direct data. It’s not the most refined or exciting car you can buy, but you pays your money and you takes your choice. Or something.

34. Honda Civic (2006-2011)

Reliability Index: 33

The European Honda Civic caused quite a stir when it was unveiled in 2006 and – a decade on – it is no less eye catching. Buy a Civic with the excellent i-CTDi engine and you have the makings of one of the best diesel-engined family hatchbacks you can buy.

33. Audi A4 Allroad (2009-2015)

Reliability Index: 33

When it was new, the Audi A4 Allroad was criticised for being a tad expensive, especially once you had finished working your way through the list of options. On the used car market, this is less of an issue, so grab yourself one of the best looking estate cars of recent years. It’s pretty handy off the beaten track, too.

32. Citroen C3 Picasso (2009-present)

Reliability Index: 32

The compact MPV sector isn’t one for setting pulses racing, but the Citroen C3 Picasso is a rare beacon of light. The funky styling is complemented by a cool interior to provide a welcome tonic to the likes of the Nissan Note and Vauxhall Meri… sorry, drifted off there for a second.

31. Toyota Yaris (2006-2011)

31. Toyota Yaris (2006-2011)

Reliability Index: 32

You’ll have noticed that the Reliability Index isn’t exactly littered with exciting motors. What can we read into that? The cars on the list tend to be owned by caring drivers? Or that more exciting cars tend to be enjoyed and driven hard? We suspect it’s a combination of the two. Meanwhile, the Toyota Yaris takes its place at number 31.

30. Nissan Note (2006-2013)

Reliability Index: 31

Aside from poor results in the ‘axle and suspension’ and ‘electrical’ categories, the Nissan Note performed well in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index. The Note majors on space, practicality and technology.

29. Toyota Aygo (2005-2014)

Reliability Index: 31

The Toyota Aygo is the result of a platform-sharing venture with Citroen and Peugeot, but it’s interesting to note that the French models deliver a more impressive set of results. On the plus side, at £211, the Toyota Aygo is the cheapest to repair should things go wrong.

28. Nissan Almera (2000-2006)

Reliability Index: 30

Remember the Nissan Almera? This was the family hatchback Nissan ditched in order to pursue a new career peddling crossovers to an unsuspecting public. It might be the automotive equivalent of semolina, but the Almera should prove to be reliable.

27. Hyundai i30 (2007-2011)

Reliability Index: 28

The Hyundai i30 is the beige cardigan of the five-door family hatchback segment: practicality and comfort are more prevalent than magic and sparkle. Val Doonican looked good in a cardigan. We’re not sure he’d have rocked the i30 look, mind.

26. Toyota Prius (2003-2009)

26. Toyota Prius (2003-2009)

Reliability Index: 28

We’re almost at the midway point – assuming you’re still with us – where we find the second generation Toyota Prius. In truth, this was a far superior product to the Prius it replaced and helped to propel the hybrid into the mainstream.

25. Mitsubishi Colt (2004-2013)

Reliability Index: 27

Number 25 in the Reliability Index and number 25 on the list of superminis you’ve probably forgotten. The Mitsubishi Colt has one huge selling point: it’s not a Mitsubishi Mirage.

24. Honda Civic (2000-2006)

Reliability Index: 26

Before Honda went all space-age and daring with the Civic, it built something a little more sombre. But don’t let the bland styling put you off, because this Civic is good to drive, practical and – according to Warranty Direct – should be reliable.

23. Ford Fusion (2002-2012)

Reliability Index: 26

The Ford Fusion is a proper love/hate car. Some will like the Fiesta-meets-SUV styling, while others will be turned off by its frumpy looks. Whatever, the Fusion is reasonably practical and OK to drive.

22. Ford Fiesta (2008-present)

Reliability Index: 24

Given that the Ford Fiesta is the UK’s best-selling car, Warranty Direct would have been able to draw from a large data pool for the Reliability Index. So it’s encouraging to see it sitting just outside the top 20.

21. SEAT Ibiza (2006-2009)

21. SEAT Ibiza (2006-2009)

Reliability Index: 24

We’re getting to the stage where the cars are as dependable as your pet labrador. But that’s where the similarities end, because while the SEAT Ibiza should be a reliable supermini, it won’t fetch a stick for you or shake its wet coat in the hallway.

20. Mazda 2 (2007-2015)

Reliability Index: 23

There’s a tinge of excitement here, as we reach the top 20 most reliable cars you can buy. But before you get too carried away, we should point out that the Almera Tino is still to come. As for the Mazda 2: it’s great to drive, good to look at and won’t let you down.

19. Peugeot 107 (2005-2014)

Reliability Index: 22

Of the three platform-sharing superminis, the Peugeot 107 is likely to be the most expensive should things go wrong. On the plus side, the Warranty Direct data suggests it’s likely to be more reliable than the Toyota Aygo.

18. Peugeot Partner Tepee (2008-present)

Reliability Index: 22

It’s yet another wipe-clean, no-nonsense van-based MPV, and with an average repair cost of £168, the Peugeot Partner Tepee is one of the most cost-effective cars on the list. The Warranty Direct data proves that there’s more to buying a car than just image-friendly badges and glossy brochures.

17. Honda Accord (2008-2015)

Reliability Index: 21

Ah, there’s a sense of comfort associated with the fact that the Honda Accord appears so high on the list. It’s the executive saloon of choice for those who put reliability and dependability above all else when it comes to buying a car. And it’s all the better for it.

16. Toyota Yaris (2003-2005)

16. Toyota Yaris (2003-2005)

Reliability Index: 21

The first generation Toyota Yaris is the 16th most reliable car in the country, but it’s worth noting that the data is based on the facelifted car, built between 2003 and 2005. These later cars are worth seeking out on the used market.

15. Ford Focus (1998-2004)

Reliability Index: 20

The first generation Ford Focus revolutionised the family hatchback sector, sending shockwaves throughout the segment. It was chalk and cheese compared with the Escort it replaced (the Escort was the cheese), and encouraged many carmakers to up their game.

14. Kia Picanto (2004-2011)

Reliability Index: 19

The Kia Picanto didn’t send shockwaves through anything when it arrived in 2004, but buyers were attracted to its five-door practicality and excellent value for money.

13. Nissan Qashqai+2 (2008-2013)

Reliability Index: 18

The Nissan Qashqai+2 – so called because it offers a row of extra seats – does something the standard Qashqai cannot do, by appearing on the list of the most reliable cars. Buyers loved the seven-seat Qashqai, so it was a surprise to see Nissan ditching the option in the new version.

12. Honda Jazz (2001-2008)

Reliability Index: 16

Three things in life are guaranteed: night follows day, there will be a DFS sale on, and the Honda Jazz will perform well in a reliability survey. If only everything in life was as reliable as a Jazz, as a famous Volkswagen ad so very nearly said. This data is based on the first generation Jazz, introduced in 2001.

11. Citroen C1 (2005-2014)

11. Citroen C1 (2005-2014)

Reliability Index: 16

Wait, what? A Honda Jazz beaten by a French car? What next, a person you actually recognise appearing in I’m a Failed Celebrity Get Me in There? Good work, Citroen C1.

10. Ford Ka (2008-2016)

Reliability Index: 16

This is where we split the wheat from the chaff: the top 10 most reliable cars in the UK. The second generation Ka might lack the cheekiness and fun-to-drive dynamics of the original Ka, but the Fiat 500-based city car does something its Italian sibling cannot achieve, by appearing on this list.

9. Chevrolet Kalos (2005-2011)

Reliability Index: 16

The Chevrolet Kalos started life as a Daewoo and was a replacement for the Astra-based Lanos. Now that the family tree has been explained, we’ll leave you to come to terms with the fact that there’s a Chevrolet performing so well in the Reliability Index.

8. Mazda MX-5 (2005-2015)

Reliability Index: 15

The Mazda MX-5 is proof that you can have your cake and eat it. One of the world’s best affordable sports cars just happens to be one of the most reliable, too. Assemble a Honda Jazz and Mazda MX-5 two-car garage and enjoy a stress-free life. Probably.

7. Mercedes-Benz CLC (2008-2010)

Reliability Index: 14

The CLC – the replacement for the old C-Class Sports Coupe – was designed to attract a younger audience to the Mercedes-Benz badge. It was rather expensive when new, which only served to limit sales to younger buyers, but it’s a classy buy on the used car market.

6. Hyundai i10 (2008-2013)

6. Hyundai i10 (2008-2013)

Reliability Index: 12

The Hyundai i10 isn’t the most exciting used city car you can buy, but the Warranty Direct data suggests that it might be one of the most dependable. The new i10 is a much-improved model, but a first generation is perfectly adequate if you intend to drive from A to B without visiting C.

5. Nissan Almera Tino (2000-2005)

Reliability Index: 12

The Spanish-built Almera Tino was Nissan’s response to the likes of the Renault Scenic and Vauxhall Zafira: a more practical version of the Almera hatchback. We’re struggling to find anything interesting to say. Goodness, is that the time?

4. Honda Insight (2009-2014)

Reliability Index: 7

Sadly, not the the original and futurist Honda Insight, but the second generation model, introduced in 2009. While the Mk1 Insight was arguably superior to the Prius, by the time the Mk2 had arrived, the Toyota had raced into a healthy lead. On the plus side: the Insight performs better in the Reliability Index.

3. Honda Jazz (2008-2015)

Reliability Index: 5

And so we reach the top three: the most reliable cars you can buy. It’s no surprise to find a Honda Jazz perched at such a lofty position. Indeed, it’s more surprising to find that it hasn’t grabbed the top spot…

2. Toyota iQ (2008-2014)

Reliability Index: 4

The three-metre long Toyota IQ was the country’s smallest four-seater, although in reality it was best suited to carrying three people. The Reliability Index suggests the tiny city car should be utterly reliable, although 100% of complaints concerned the engine.

1. Mitsubishi Lancer (2005-2008)

1. Mitsubishi Lancer (2005-2008)

Reliability Index: 4

With an average repair cost of just £69 and a near fault-free reputation, the Mitsubishi Lancer is the unlikely star of the Reliability Index. The best news: you can buy a Lancer for as little as £500. Bargain.

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.

Citroen DS ID19

Sitting pretty: 48 hours with a broken Citroen DS

Citroen DS ID19Nobody talks to their neighbours in London, right? They do if you park a Citroen DS outside your house. This classic car did more for community cohesion than a jubilee street party.

The key word here is ‘park’ – but we’ll come to that. First, a bit of background. The 1961 DS you see here is actually an ID19: a cheaper, less powerful and (slightly) less complicated version of the DS19. Used for ‘press and publicity purposes’ when new by Citroen UK, it has since returned to the company’s care as part of a growing heritage fleet.

As the most iconic and beautiful French car ever made (discuss), the DS seemed ideal for the Retro Road Test: our weekly classic car review published every Thursday. With everything crossed, I called the ever-helpful Craig at Citroen and, just a few weeks later, the DS was delivered.

Street art

Citroen DS ID19“Lovely, just lovely,” said the man from the corner house who’d asked me to sign a petition about bin collections. “That’s my kind of car,” cooed the lady who runs the pub across the road. “Looks like it’s been lowered,” mumbled the 16-year-old lad from next door.

Indeed, the only car that’s come close for sheer street spectacle was a buttercup-yellow Lamborghini Huracan I tested earlier this year. But while the Lambo got envious looks and grudging remarks about “winning the lottery”, the DS drew nods, smiles and genuine affection.

Wildly futuristic and yet timelessly elegant, the DS literally stopped traffic as drivers slowed to stare and take photos. It was probably trending on social media, for all I know. One can only marvel at how this car, with its spaceship styling, must have appeared in 1955.

Feeling a bit flat

Citroen DS ID19

The DS arrived late on Monday afternoon, but I resisted the urge to jump straight in and cruise the streets of Croydon. I’d set my alarm early for a long, cross-country jaunt the next morning. With 67hp and 0-62mph in 22.1sec, progress would be as relaxed – and as pleasurable – as a Beaujolais-fuelled Sunday lunch.

Tuesday dawned bright and fresh, the DS draped in morning dew. I sank into the soft leather seat, grasped the Bakelite wheel and twisted the key… Silence. I tried again: the dials on the (UK-specific) English walnut dashboard sprang to life and I heard the faint click of a solenoid, but nothing more.

I called Craig, expecting – hoping – there was some Gallic quirk of the starting process that I’d overlooked. “No, just put her in neutral and turn the key,” he proffered. Hmm.

The battery voltage gauge showed a full charge, but I decided to attempt a jump-start using my old Ford Focus. Still nothing. Admitting defeat, I telephoned Craig again to request a recovery truck. The dream was over.

Plank on itCitroen DS ID19

The nightmare, however, was just beginning. As any student of old Citroens knows, hydropneumatic suspension only pressurises and rises up when the car’s engine starts: without power, the DS is effectively ‘slammed’. This would prove problematic.

Danny arrived with his low-loader on Wednesday lunchtime. He was sceptical about our chances: with no towing eye on the front, the DS would have to be winched up the ramp backwards. And the downturned tips of its exhaust were virtually kissing the Tarmac.

Inching the DS back, it quickly became clear this stubborn lady wasn’t for towing. So, in a further boost to neighbourly relations, I knocked on the door of John the roofer, returning a few minutes later with some scaffolding planks. Danny and I wedged them under the wheels, reducing the angle of approach. And slowly, steadily, with mere millimetres to spare, it edged up the ramp and onto the truck. We’d done it.

Retro Road Test coming soon

Citroen DS ID19

The DS had been sent to Coventry (literally, not figuratively – that’s where Citroen UK is based) and it hadn’t even turned a wheel. But as I watched this magnificent car being carried away, a princess in a sedan chair, I felt surprisingly buoyant.

For starters, I’d spoken to Craig (yes, again) and he promised we’d have the car back for a Retro Road Test soon. Secondly, a few awkward moments with wooden planks aside, my two days with the DS had been an absolute pleasure. I’d gazed longingly at it whenever I looked out of the window – and met friendly, enthusiastic people every time I went outside and, well, tried to start it.

In more than a decade of writing about cars, I’ve never returned one without driving it. C’est la vie. Sometimes beauty is its own reward.

Top 10 used convertibles

Top 10 used convertibles

Top 10 used convertiblesLooking to buy a convertible to enjoy the hot weather this summer? While you might associate roof-down motoring with an old Italian sports car stranded on the side of the M25, topless cars don’t have to be a liability. Warranty company Warranty Direct has analysed its 50,000 policies to reveal which convertibles are least likely to leave you stranded this summer.

The study concentrates on cars aged between three and eight years old. Warranty Direct gives each car a Reliability Index: a figure based on a number of factors, from the amount of times a certain model breaks down to the average cost of repair. The lower the figure, the better it is.

10: BMW 3 SeriesTop 10 used convertibles

So, onto the most reliable convertibles. In 10th place is the BMW 3 Series. While the soft-top BMW is fairly reliable, its heavy repair prices knock its Reliability Index – with the maximum repair cost paid out by the warranty company nudging £6,000.

The survey picks out the E93 3 Series Cabriolet, produced from 2007 to 2013. When new, it was quite advanced, thanks to its retractable hardtop. You can pick up a leggy example from around £6,000 in the classifieds.

9: Audi A3 CabrioletTop 10 used convertibles

The Audi A3 Cabriolet makes for an affordable and practical soft-top on the used market. Its Reliability Index is a relatively low 145 – although the maximum paid out by Warranty Direct was an eye-watering £4,373.


Launched in 2008, the earliest A3 Cabriolets are now eight years old – meaning you should buy carefully if reliability is a concern. If you buy wisely, there’s no reason why a tidy example from a private seller for around £7,000 shouldn’t provide lots of pain-free miles.

8: BMW Z4Top 10 used convertibles

A two-seat, rear-wheel-drive roadster with a BMW badge… what’s not to like, as long as you’re not wanting to transport the family? The maximum Warranty Direct’s paid out for a 2009-16 Z4 is a relatively reassuring £2,152.40. It scores 136 on the Reliability Index.

A budget of £10,000 will get you a 2009 model Z4. Hunt out a 3.0-litre if you want the poke to go with the sporty appearance.

7: Audi TTTop 10 used convertibles

The 2006-14 Audi TT Roadster isn’t the most entertaining car to drive, but it looks good and has a pleasant interior. It scores 132 on Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index.

The TT’s desirable image means they hold their money well. You’ll be looking at £7,000 for a high-mileage example from 2007.

6: Volkswagen EosTop 10 used convertibles

VW insisted the Eos was more than just a Golf cabriolet with a fancy folding hard-top when it was launched in 2006. It’s bigger than a Golf, but much of its extra space is taken up by the roof.


The Eos scores 126 in Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index. Alarmingly, the firm paid out £5864.46 for repairs to one example.

5: Volvo C70Top 10 used convertibles

The Volvo C70 isn’t a car for enthusiastic drivers. But for sunny days out with friends and family, it could make for an excellent used buy. Warranty Direct names it the fifth most reliable used convertible.

The second-generation Volvo C70 was launched in 2006, and you can pick one up for less than £3,000. Now that strikes us as an excellent summer choice.

4: Mercedes-Benz SLKTop 10 used convertibles

Stick a private plate on a second-generation Mercedes-Benz SLK, launched in 2004, and no one would believe it’s a 12-year-old design. It’s not often buying a flashy sports car like this can be done with the head as well as the heart.

Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index gives the 2004 Mercedes-Benz SLK a score of 92. You can pick one up for less than £5,000 in the classifieds.

3: Peugeot 206 CCTop 10 used convertibles

The Peugeot 206 CC isn’t as desirable as the Mercedes-Benz SLK, but that means it’s ideal for those wanting to enjoy the sun on a budget. You can buy one for less than £500 – and even the tidiest examples are only around £3,000.

We’re a little surprised to see the Peugeot 206 CC ranked so highly by Warranty Direct. It doesn’t enjoy the best of reputations for reliability, and the retractable roof in particular is known for being problematic.


2: Vauxhall TigraTop 10 used convertibles

The stylish Vauxhall Tigra proves you don’t need deep pockets to run a convertible. The Corsa-esque interior is a bit disappointing, and the image won’t suit everyone – but the 1.8-litre petrol will be cheap to run.

With an impressive Reliability Index score of 36 and a maximum repair cost of less than £700, the Vauxhall Tigra is a car that should be easy to justify – especially with examples available for less than £1,000.

1: Mazda MX-5Top 10 used convertibles

So we’re onto the car with the title of being the UK’s most reliable convertible – and it’s the ever-popular Mazda MX-5. Yes, people rave about this little car, and they’re everywhere, but for good reason.

Featured here is the third-generation model, launched in 2005, but any MX-5 should prove to be reliable. It scores just 16 in the Reliability Index (remember, the lower the better) and the most Warranty Direct has ever shelled out for repairs is a fraction over £500. Not only are MX-5s reliable, but they’re also brilliant to drive.

Least reliable convertible: Porsche BoxsterTop 10 used convertibles

As a bonus, we thought we’d chuck in the least reliable convertible, according to Warranty Direct. And that’s the 2004 Porsche Boxster – with 42 in 100 suffering problems, costing an average of £731.01 to repair. It scores 310 on the Reliability Index. That Porsche badge comes at a price.

Which? Reliability 2016

Which? are the most satisfying makes of car in 2016?

Which? Reliability 2016Looking for the most reliable cars in Britain? The annual Which? Car Survey has the answers, revealing the cars that are most likely to get you from A to B with the minimal amount of fuss.

The survey also reveals the most satisfying cars to own: as you’ll see, the two are not necessarily the same thing.

Which? claims the survey is the biggest in the UK and is based on feedback from almost 60,000 UK car owners.

It takes into account breakdowns, repair costs, the number of days off the road and the most common fault types for each model. And so, onto the winners and losers.

The most reliable cars in Britain

1: Lexus – 5 stars

There’ll be plenty of smug faces at Lexus HQ today, with the news that it’s the only manufacturer to be awarded a maximum five-star rating. Ewan Shepherd, Lexus director, said: “Which? is respected worldwide for the accuracy and thoroughness of its product testing and investigations, which makes this result especially rewarding for us.”

2: Toyota – 4 stars

Good news for Lexus’ sister brand, Toyota, which finishes second with a four-star rating. Paul Van der Burgh, Toyota GB president and managing director, said: “It is hugely rewarding that our customers have delivered such positive opinions about the lasting quality of our cars and the service we provide”.

3: Honda – 4 stars

You may have noticed a theme developing here, with Honda making it a one-two-three for Japanese carmakers. Names such as the Jazz and Civic have become synonymous with dependability and reliability, while new models such as the Civic Type R and NSX add some much needed spice to the range.

4: Dacia – 4 stars

This is a shot in the arm for all those who enjoy running a new car on a budget. Owners awarded Dacia a top 90% satisfaction score, placing the value driven brand higher than many more illustrious names. Speaking about the result, Richard Headland, editor of Which?, said: “The ultra-cheap Dacia Sandero shows that a reliable runaround need not break the bank, while some pricey Land Rover models could put you on first-name terms with your local mechanic.” Ouch. More on Land Rover shortly…

5: Suzuki – 4 stars

We’re big fans of Suzuki, so it’s heartening to see the Japanese carmaker finish fifth in the Which? survey. Across the range, Suzuki builds good, honest vehicles, such as the budget Celerio, Swift supermini and really-rather-good Vitara. The Swift Sport is also our favourite junior hot hatch.

The least reliable cars in Britain

1: Saab  – 2 stars

At the opposite end of the table we find the defunct Saab brand. The famous Swedish carmaker was declared bankrupt in 2011, after many failed attempts to rescue the failing company. We miss Saab’s eccentricity and quirkiness, but the Which? survey suggests Saab owners might not share our sentiment.

2: Chevrolet – 2 stars

Another dead brand – at least in the UK – although it’s still possible to place a special order for a Camaro or Corvette. Chevrolet has a poor track record in reports such as this, with its cars, most notably the Spark, often finishing close to the bottom of satisfaction surveys.

3: Smart – 2 stars

Buy a Smart Fortwo and you’ll spend upwards of £11,125. Buy its sister car – the Renault Twingo – and you can fork out just £9,495 for the Expression with the SCe 70 engine. Just goes to prove: spending more doesn’t necessarily secure better quality. On this matter, Richard Headland said: “Our survey reveals that spending more on a car is no guarantee of reliability, and sometimes quite the opposite.”

4: Land Rover – 2 stars

It’s a miserable result for Land Rover, which finishes with a two-star rating for the second consecutive year. Based on the opinions of Which? readers, a £9,495 Dacia Duster might present a better ownership prospect than a £30,600 Range Rover Evoque. You pays your money, you takes your choice.

5: Alfa Romeo – 2 stars

Sadly, it comes as no surprise to see Alfa Romeo languishing near the foot of the table. It doesn’t help that the MiTo and Giulietta are ageing products in highly competitive sectors. The Italian carmaker will be hoping the all-new Giulia has what it takes to provide a better result in 2017.

The most dependable cars in Britain

Most dependable city car: Toyota Aygo (2014-)

From car makes to car models – according to Which? readers, these are the most dependable cars in the UK. The best city car is the Toyota Aygo, which shares its platform with the Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108.

Most dependable small car: Honda Jazz Hybrid (2011-2015)

It’s no surprise to find the Honda Jazz Hybrid finishing top in the small car category. The survey suggests cars aged up to three years could suffer from problems with the in-car entertainment system and air conditioning, while owners of older cars highlighted problems with the battery.

Most dependable medium car: Lexus CT 200h (2011-)

Looking for the most dependable medium-size car? You could do a lot worse than the Lexus CT 200h. Checking the details of the Car Reliability Check reveals a low frequency of faults across the board, although some owners of older cars complained about paintwork and rust issues.

Most dependable large car: Mazda 6 (2013-)

It’s a strong finish for the Mazda 6, although closer inspection reveals potential problems with the on-board computer software. These faults include interior switches, central locking, dashboard, electric windows, sat nav, parking aids and tyre pressure sensors – irritants that are unlikely to result in a breakdown.

Most dependable estate: Toyota Avensis Touring Sports (2009-)

It might not be the most exciting estate car on the planet, but it’s likely to be the most reliable. Interestingly, ‘non-engine electrics’ is listed as the top fault group, with a 20% frequency of issues. Windows and parking sensors/camera were noted as the most severe problems.

Most dependable luxury car: Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2009-2016)

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class referenced in the Which? survey has been replaced by an all-new model, but the outgoing model is ranked as the best luxury car. Digging deeper into the Which? data reveals some issues, but not enough for other luxury cars to topple its crown.

Most dependable convertible: Mazda MX-5 (2005-2015)

The all-new Mazda MX-5 might be getting all the attention, but when it comes to reliability, the old model remains the convertible to beat. This is like having your cake and eating it: all the fun of a junior sports car with the reliability and reassurance of a Japanese carmaker.

Most dependable sports car: Audi TT (2006-2014)

A terrific result for the Audi TT, which drives away with the award for best sports car. Nearly two decades on from when the TT first hit the market, its image remains as strong as ever, helped in no small part by a reputation for reliability.

Most dependable people carriers/MPV: Nissan Note (2006-2013)

It might be one of the smallest MPVs on the market, but it’s likely to be the most reliable. OK, so you can put aside any thoughts of carrying more than five people, but at least you’ll know the Nissan Note will get you to your destination, even if you are forced to leave two children behind.

Most dependable compact SUV: Lexus NX (2014-)

If it’s good enough for, it’s good enough for the rest of us. The Lexus NX is named the best in class for compact SUVs, but this is only the half the story. Dig deeper and you’ll discover a near blemish-free report, with only central locking and ‘other minor’ issues listed as potential faults. Good stuff.

Most dependable large SUVs: Lexus RX (2009-)

There’s further good news for Lexus with the RX named as the most reliable large SUV. In common with the NX, the Which? survey presents a near-perfect school report. Go to the top of the class and give yourself a gold star. Prices start from just shy of £40,000.

Cars to avoid

One to avoid: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso (2014-)

So you know the most reliable cars in each class, but what about the models to avoid? Earning a one-star reliability rating is the current Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, which is named as the least reliable car you can buy.

One to avoid: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso (2007-2013)

The previous generation Grand C4 Picasso doesn’t fare much better, with another one-star rating. The only positive point is that it should be cheaper than the newer version. Every cloud and all that.

One to avoid: Renault Grand Scenic (2009-)

It’s a similar story for the Renault Grand Scenic, which is the third car to be awarded a one-star rating. The message from Which? readers is clear: if you’re looking for a reliable MPV/people carrier, avoid the French.

One to avoid: Nissan Qashqai (2014-)

It might be Britain’s favourite crossover and one of Sunderland’s finest exports, but Which? readers give it a less than glowing report. The new model, released in 2014, is awarded a lowly two-star rating.

One to avoid: Volkswagen Tiguan (2008-2016)

This is a score it shares with the outgoing Volkswagen Tiguan, which is being phased out and replaced by an all-new model. Volkswagen will be hoping Which? readers find the new car easier to live with.

The most satisfying car brands

#1 most satisfying car brand: Tesla

Reliability is one thing, but what about satisfaction? Mick Jagger would do well to get behind the wheel of a Model S, because Tesla is named as the most satisfying car brand. Face it: rolling up to a Tesla Supercharger for a rapid charge must deliver a great deal of satisfaction.

#2 most satisfying car brand: Porsche

Frankly, had Porsche not appeared in the top five most satisfying brands, we’d have asked a few questions. Surely the whole point of Porsche ownership is to enjoy the experience? The Which? survey asks owners to rate (out of five) how satisfied they are with their car, and also how likely there are to recommend it to a friend.

#3 most satisfying car brand: Dacia

Ah yes, but look at this: Dacia is named the third most satisfying brand in the UK. It’s a double-whammy for the budget brand, with satisfaction and reliability (almost) guaranteed.

#4 most satisfying car brand: Jaguar

The Romanian carmaker is flanked by two premium heavyweights, with Jaguar named as the fourth most satisfying make of car to own. Things are likely to get even better with the arrival of the F-Pace. These are good times for Jaguar.

#5 most satisfying car brand: Skoda

It wouldn’t be a satisfaction survey without a reference to Skoda. We’re a little surprised not to find the Czech giant listed in the reliability section, but at least Skoda owners find their cars satisfying to own.

The least satisfying car brands

#5 least satisfying car brand: Smart

From the most satisfying cars we move to the makes least likely to deliver satisfaction. Kicking things off is Smart – which uses its diminutive proportions to crawl into the bottom five.

#4 least satisfying car brand: Renault

We’re guessing there was a bit of split in the Which? survey. While Renault’s more mainstream models might not deliver great satisfaction, we’d suggest the reverse is true for Renaultsport models. We’d happily spend a few months with a Renaultsport Megane, just to see how satisfying it is. You know, for research purposes.

#3 least satisfying car brand: Peugeot

Peugeot has sharpened up its act, with a credible range of new cars. But it would appear owners aren’t finding the ownership experience all that satisfying. Things were different when Peugeot was building the 205 GTI.

#2 least satisfying car brand: Vauxhall

Vauxhall is another company transformed, with the current Astra and Corsa both hugely improved compared with the cars they replaced. Maybe the brand is missing an injection of spice?

#1 least satisfying car brand: Chevrolet

Which brings us to the least satisfying car brand in the UK – Chevrolet. Seriously, you’re probably better off taking the bus. Or staying indoors.