A study by What Car? reveals which brands and types of cars are the most and least reliable.

In an ideal world, all cars would be 100% reliable. Horsepower and luxury features can be easily listed on a car’s spec sheet yet it would seem you would need a crystal ball to see a car’s reliability before purchasing.

It’s an unknown quantity and when it comes to purchasing a car, each motorist tends to have their own prejudices against particular brands and types of cars, stereotyping them as unreliable just because of the way they look or the badge on the front.

UK’s Most and Least Reliable Cars

The challenge is knowing which cars are unreliable and which ones will see you through years of trouble-free motoring. Can you really rely on your old mate Bob who swears that all BMW’s are junk? Can you really trust an anecdotal blog post that suggests Toyotas never break, even if it is from one of the UK’s leading independent motoring blogs such as Motor-Vision.co.uk? Of course not. What you need is statistics-based information and luckily, that’s exactly the thing that What Car? has provided.

A moderate survey of 16,328 drivers was conducted as part of What Car?’s annual Reliability Survey where drivers were asked if their car had suffered any issues over the past 12 months and if so, they were asked what the issues were, how much it cost to fix and how long the car was taken off the road for. Factoring the cost of the issue and how long it took to fix as the most important indicators, a reliability rating was calculated for around 178 different models spanning 30 brands.

UK’s Most and Least Reliable Cars

Although some of these results may be what we would expect, such as Lexus and Toyota being in the top 5, there are some results that certainly go against popular belief. For example, who would have thought that the BMW X3 petrol would have a score of 97.7% and be rated as the most reliable large SUV? And I’m sure you didn’t expect small SUVs to be rated as more reliable than electric cars and small city cars on average!

Top 10 most reliable brands (cars up to 5 years old):

Car BrandReliability Rating %
Lexus98.7%
Dacia97.3%
Suzuki97.1%
Hyundai97.1%
Toyota97.0%
Mini97.0%
Mitsubishi96.9%
Mazda95.9%
Kia95.8%
MG95.7%

Top 10 least reliable brands (cars up to 5 years old):

BrandReliability Rating %
Fiat82.0%
Land Rover82.5%
Ford86.2%
Nissan86.2%
Alfa Romeo86.5%
Porsche89.4%
Mercedes-Benz89.6%
Vauxhall89.6%
Peugeot89.6%
Jaguar90.1%

Reliability results by vehicle classes (cars up to five years old):

Hybrid cars – 96.9% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
Lexus NX (2014 – present) – 99.8%BMW X5 (2018 – present) – 89.7%

Small SUVs – 95.2% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
Honda HR-V (2015 – 2020) – 100%
Mazda CX-3 (2016 – 2019) – 100%
Peugeot 2008 (2013 – 2019) – 81.8%

MPVs – 93.7% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014 – present) – 98.8%Volkswagen Touran (2015 – present) – 74.1%

Family SUVs – 93.6% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (2017 – present) – 100%Range Rover Evoque (2011 – 2019) – 77.1%

Large SUVs – 93.6% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
BMW X3 petrol (2018 – present) – 97.7%Nissan X-Trail (2014 – present) – 59.7%

Family cars – 93.0% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
BMW 1 Series petrol (2011 – 2019) – 98.7%Mercedes-Benz A-Class (2018 – present) – 84.8%

Electric cars – 92.9% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
Nissan Leaf (2011 – 2018) – 98.6%Jaguar I-Pace (2018 – present) – 86.3%

Coupes, convertibles and sports cars – 92.8% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
Audi TT (2014 – present) – 100%
Mini Convertible (2016 – present) – 100%
Porsche 718 Cayman (2015 – present) – 73.5%

Executive cars – 92.8% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
Skoda Superb petrol (2015 – present) – 99.2%Mercedes-Benz C-Class diesel (2014 – present) – 80.9%

Small cars – 91.9% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
Dacia Sandero (2013 – 2020) – 100%Ford Fiesta (2017 – present) – 74.9%

Luxury cars – 90.4% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
BMW 5 Series petrol (2017 – present) – 96.9%Audi A6 (2011 – 2018) – 82.1%

Luxury SUVs – 88.8% class reliability rating

Most ReliableLeast Reliable
Porsche Macan petrol (2014 – present) – 97.9%Land Rover Discovery (2017 – present) – 72.1%

Also worth noting is that of the 16,000 drivers surveyed, 20% of them had experienced a fault with their car in the past 12 months and 85% of those faults were repaired at no cost.

UK’s Most and Least Reliable Cars

Overall, hybrid cars were the most reliable on average and luxury SUVs were the least reliable. This goes against the popular narrative of hybrids being less reliable due to them having both a conventional internal combustion engine and an electric battery and motor. Also, it is worth noting that although Lexus may have topped the leaderboard as the most reliable brand, their market share is only a fraction of more popular brands such as Ford, Toyota and Mini, which means that the sample size for Lexus cars was likely much smaller and the average may not be accurate.

Let us know your thoughts on these stats, in the comments.

If you enjoyed this, you may also like: ‘Showdown: Electric SUVs Rated By Looks

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