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The UK's most and least reliable cars

The UK's most and least reliable cars

We all want to own a car that rarely breaks down. Now you can find out if your car, or one you are considering buying, will go the distance with a new analysis of the nation’s most and least reliable cars.

lovemoney staff

Motoring and Travel

lovemoney staff
Updated on 11 December 2023

Reliability is a big factor when it comes to selecting a new car.

After all, it’s one thing to have a comfy ride or great fuel efficiency, but if you end up having to go to the garage every couple of days in order to get something fixed, then you will end up stressed and out of pocket.

But how can you work out how reliable a car is likely to be before you actually pick up the keys?

A new study from Motoreasy is a useful option here, with its regular Reliability Index.

The index is based on claims data from extended warranties on 300 different car models, from across 44 manufacturers.

The data dates back to 2016 too, with models judged on the average number of annual claims as well as the repair costs incurred.

Here’s how the top 10 shape up according to Motoreasy:

Rank 

Model

1

Skoda Citigo

2

Tesla Model 3

3

Lexus CT

4

Fiat 124

5

Suzuki Vitara

6

Volvo S90

7

Ford Ecosport

8

Ford Edge

9

Peugeot 108

10

Vauxhall Grandland X

 

Each of these cars managed to score nine out of 10 in the index, representing a tremendous option for those looking to prioritise reliability. 

However, with many of these motors no longer available on general sale then they may not be an option.

Finding the most reliable model in different car types

An even more comprehensive resource for those worried about reliability comes from WhatCar? and its annual reliability survey.

It is based on polling of car owners across the country, breaking down the most and least reliable motors in a host of categories, based on factors like how often they’d had to get their motor fixed in the previous 12 months, and the cost of putting things right should issues arise.

Here’s how the results look for each of those categories from the latest survey.

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Small cars

Top of the tree for small cars is the Suzuki Swift (pictured above), which managed a mega score of 99.5%.

Just 4% of owners reported any issues with their cars, with the interior trim the only problem area. All the repair work was done for free, too.

At the other end of the scale, the Audi A1 managed a score of 87.3%, making it the worst-performing small car.

A quarter of drivers experienced issues, with a quarter of them having to shell out above £1,500 for repairs.

Family cars

A flawless score meant the BMW 1 Series topped the family car area of the poll, with none of the owners seeing an issue in the previous 24 months.

In contrast, the Audi A3 Sportback managed a score of just 71.8%.

A huge 59% of owners saw issues in the previous two years, with the majority of issues centring on the infotainments and other electrical systems. Thankfully most of the time the repairs were covered for free.

Executive cars

It’s yet another Audi that takes bottom spot for reliability in the executive car category as well. The A6 scored a paltry 76.3%, with almost half of drivers suffering an issue. 

Two thirds of issues involved the engine and non-engine electrical systems or the infotainment, while around half (46%) took more than a week to be fixed. Thankfully none of those repairs cost more than £200.

A much more reliable option comes in the shape of the Lexus IS, which scored 98%. Only 12% of drivers experienced a problem, and they were all fixed for free.

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Luxury cars

The Porsche Cayenne was named the most reliable luxury option, having racked up a great score of 98.7%. Only 6% of drivers experienced issues, and in every case they were put right for free.

In stark contrast, the Mercedes GLE didn’t perform so well. 44% of owners experienced a problem, and 42% of those took at least a week for the repairs. Thankfully in each case, the work was sorted for free.

Small SUV

In bottom spot for small SUVs was the Citroën C3 Aircross, which scored 84.3%.

Almost a third of drivers experienced issues, across a wide range of areas. 14% of those had to cough up more than £1,500 to put things right, with more than half spending more than a week in the garage.

At the other end of the scale, the Suzuki Ignis scored an impressive 99.4%, since only 5% of drivers had an issue. In each case they were back on the road in a day, and fixed for free.

Family SUV

The most reliable family SUV was pinpointed as the Lexus NX. Only 2% of drivers suffered a problem, and in each case they were fixed for free, leading to a score of 99.8%.

The experience was rather different for owners of diesel Skoda Karoqs. It scored just 80.8% on account of the quarter of drivers seeing an issue. Almost a third (31%) cost more than £1,500 to be repaired as well.

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Large SUV

The Ford Kuga diesel did not perform well compared to other large SUVs, with a score of 85%. More than a quarter (28%) experienced issues, with a similar proportion off the road for at least a week. 

A more reliable option is the Toyota RAV4 hybrid, which scored a whopping 98.7%. Only 2% went wrong, though it’s notable that they took a while to put right ‒ a quarter were out of action for more than a week.

Electric cars

Top of the tree for electric cars is the Mini Electric, which managed a score of 97.6%. Just 7% reported an issue with their motor in the previous two years, and they were all fixed for free.

The Porsche Taycan could learn a few things on this front, having scored a dreadful 66.5%. A whopping 46% went wrong, with the aircon and infotainment the most common problem area.

Sports cars

If you’re looking for a sporty motor, then you could do a lot worse than opt for the Audi TT. It has performed brilliantly on reliability, scoring a great 98.4%. Only 7% of drivers had any problems, each time related to the air con.

At the other end of the scale, the least reliable model was the BMW 4 Series Coupé and Convertible, which scored a paltry 83%.

The study found that while the 4 Series isn’t prone to problems, when they do occur, the issues are costly and slow to fix. Nearly half of owners with issues had to pay up to £1,500 to put things right, with 8% paying even more.

*This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently.

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