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New survey: recalls are on the up

New cars are becoming more reliable but the number of recalls is increasing, latest research shows.

According to this year's Which? car survey, the number of vehicle recalls was up last year by 150,000 to 1.5m, with faults ranging from faulty seat belts to problems with brake pedals.

And it's a trend that looks set to continue this year. BMW is recalling nearly 2000 X5 models to fix a potential brake pedal problem, while 24,000 Minis will be checked at their next service for a possible transmission fault.

In addition, Jeep is recalling 43,000 Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models to check for corrosion in the brake rotors. More than 32,000 Which? members completed the survey, which asked questions on the performance of 33,579 cars up to eight years old over the previous 12 months.

Japanese carmakers still dominate the dependable car market, with the Honda HR-V, Subaru Forester, Toyota RAV4 and Mazda's 626 and 323 leading the way. But European models are improving, with the MGF and Volkswagen Beetle 100 per cent breakdown-free. Propping up the pile is the Renault Espace - one in six broke down last year.

But there is good news: a separate report published by What Car? reveals new-car security is better than ever. Of the 60 cars tested, none could be driven away in less than 60 seconds without the keys and almost half could not be broken into.

Lexus dominated the security test, with the IS300, LS430 and SC430 sharing the top spot. At the bottom of the chart was the Daihatsu YRV F-speed, which took just 12 seconds to break into.

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