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What Car? reveals UK’s most and least reliable cars

Dacia Sandero

The UK’s most and least reliable new and used cars have been revealed after 16,000 car owners shared their ownership experience for the latest What Car? Reliability Survey.

The analysis looked at 178 models from 30 different brands, including nearly new cars to those aged up to five years old.

This year, a record six models achieved a score of 100%: the current versions of the Audi TT, Mazda CX-3, Mini Convertible and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, and the previous-generation Dacia Sandero and Honda HR-V.

At brand level, Lexus and Dacia models were hailed as the most dependable for new and used buyers, while Fiat and Land Rover achieved the lowest scores.  

Lexus gained an overall rating of 98.7% and none of its vehicles scored lower than 98.4%. 

Budget brand Dacia also impressed with a 97.3% overall rating, with What Car? saying “it’s not necessary to have to break the bank to buy a dependable model”.

In contrast, Fiat had the least reliable cars, gaining an 82.0% rating from owners, while Land Rover and Ford were second and third worst for reliability.

Hybrids most reliable type of car

Hybrids were rated as the most durable type of car, with an average class reliability score of 96.9%.

The best performing hybrid was the Lexus NX (2014 – present), which managed a 99.8% score, while hybrid variants of the BMW X5 (2018 – present) were rated least reliable, with 89.7%.

Luxury SUVs performed the worst in the study, achieving an average class rating of 88.8%, although the Porsche Macan (2014 – present) bucked the trend, managing a creditable 97.9%. The Land Rover Discovery (2017 – present) received the lowest score in this class with a 72.1% result.

Owners were asked whether their car had gone wrong in the past 12 months, how long repairs took and how much they cost, with the overall score expressed as a percentage. 

Of the 16,328 drivers surveyed, 20% had experienced a fault with their car in the past year, with 85% of faults repaired free of charge. For 7% of drivers, the repairs cost between £101 and £500, while 2% had to pay more than £1500 to get their car back on the road.

A third of cars remained driveable and were fixed within a day, while 25% could be driven but took more than a week to repair. 

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: “The UK’s used car market is currently booming, making it all the more important that people know which models will be reliable.

“Our latest study also shows that a high price tag isn’t always a guarantee of reliability, because some of Britain’s cheapest cars are among the most reliable.”

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

Brand Reliability Rating
Lexus 98.70%
Dacia 97.30%
Suzuki 97.10%
Hyundai 97.10%
Toyota 97.00%
Mini 97.00%
Mitsubishi 96.90%
Mazda 95.90%
Kia 95.80%
MG 95.70%


Bottom 10 most reliable brands (cars up to five years old)

Brand Reliability Rating
Fiat 82.00%
Land Rover 82.50%
Ford 86.20%
Nissan 86.20%
Alfa Romeo 86.50%
Porsche 89.40%
Mercedes-Benz 89.60%
Vauxhall 89.60%
Peugeot 89.60%
Jaguar 90.10%

The latest AM industry special issue

The presence of a powerful and active regulator in the marketplace, the Financial Conduct Authority, means there has never been the attention given to the critical driver of new and used car markets, point of sale finance and insurance. 

Plus, with the Consumer Duty soon to be introduced, no automotive manager can afford to relax - or not read our new special report.

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