Owners reveal which brands make the most reliable motors
Car makers you can count on: Own
Car makers you can count on: Owners reveal who makes the most reliable motors - and the ones that are most likely to break down
- What Car? has reliability ratings for 31 car manufacturers in total
- The score each model receives is based on feedback from 18,000 UK drivers
- Ratings are based on the volume of faults, the severity of the issues, how expensive they are to repair and how long they're off the road
- We've listed the top 10 most reliable and 10 least dependable car brands
For most of us, a car is our second biggest one-off financial outlay behind a home. That means picking the right model is imperative.
And one of the biggest factors buyers have to take into account is reliability - because nobody wants a vehicle that constantly lets you down and costs an arm and a leg in repair bills.
The best way to find out if a car is likely to be dependable is asking those who already own them. Feedback from 18,000 owners in the last 12 months has been collected by What Car? who have now listed the 10 most - and least - reliable brands.
Don't get left stranded: We've listed the 10 most reliable - and least reliable - car brands based on the feedback from over 18,000 UK owners...
The data is based on ownership over the last 12 months of cars that are between one and four years of age - so models you're likely to buy new from showrooms today, or from the second-hand market - potentially with some of the manufacturer warranty remaining.
Faults are categorised into 15 groups of varying severity: aircon, battery, bodywork, brakes, engine, engine electrics, exhaust, fuel system, gearbox/clutch, interior trim, non-engine electrics, steering, suspension, wheels/tyres and other.
A reliability rating has been given to each manufacturer based on the volume of problems suffered by owners, the cost to repair issues and how many days there were out of use while being tinkered with in garages.
In total, the magazine received enough information to report on 31 different car brands with robust stats.
Here we reveal the top 10 most reliable and also warn you about the 10 that are most likely to cause you headaches.
MOST RELIABLE CAR BRANDS
What Car? Reliability rating 95.2%
The Leon family hatchback is one of the reasons why Seat's rating is so high. It's proving to be a dependable motor
With Seat's parent company being the VW Group, you would expect build quality to be high and the Spanish brand doesn't disappoint.
Strong reliability performance by the Leon family car and Ateca SUV have helped Seat slip into the top 10.
What Car? Reliability rating 95.4%
Don't be fooled into thinking a Korean car will be unreliable. Quite the contrary, the Hyundai i30 is proving
Don't be under any assumption that the Korean brands make sub-standard vehicles - the latest Hyundais are some of the most robust models you can find on sale today.
That includes the i30 hatchback, which, according to owners, is the best family car for reliability. The i10 city car and massive Santa Fe SUV were also notably dependable.
8. Alfa Romeo
What Car? Reliability rating 95.5%
This is one of the big surprises - Alfa Romeo, a brand synonymous with reliability issues - is among the top 10 most dependable brands. It's mainly down to the robustness of the Giulia
No need to adjust your screen or rub your eyes - Alfa Romeo has genuinely placed in the list of the most reliable car brands, contrary to traditional stereotyping.
Much of this is down to the performance of the new Giulia, which is proving relatively solid so far. While 17 per cent had a fault, most were minor, such as issues with the air-con, brakes and lights.
What Car? Reliability rating 95.6%
Think of a Skoda as a cheaper version of a Volkswagen. And it will almost certainly be more reliable, if owner feedback is anything to go on
Another fine result for the VW Group in the shape of Skoda making it into the top 10 most reliable brands.
Owners of Octavia family models, Citigo city cars and Superb executives all had great things to say about the dependability of their Skodas, which are always cheaper than their Volkswagen alternatives.
What Car? Reliability rating 95.8%
Long gone are the days of Subaru being the boy racer brand. Now it makes more grown-up cars, and they're relatively reliable too
When most people think of Subaru they'll picture the boy-racer favourite Impreza of the early '90s. But the Japanese car maker doesn't make models like that anymore.
Instead, its range is far more grown up and includes cars like the Outback and Forester, both of which are trusty hacks.
What Car? Reliability rating 95.8%
Mitsubishi's range of models is slowly shrinking, though the Outlander PHEV is the best-selling plug-in hybrid on the market. The brand's reliability rating is mostly down to the green SUV
Mitsubishi's range of new cars is - how do we put this - a little thin on the ground nowadays.
That means most of the reliability data for the brand is based on the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - the SUV that's been the best-selling plug-in hybrid for some years. It's the third most reliable hybrid or electric vehicle overall, according to owner feedback.
What Car? Reliability rating 95.8%
Owners say the latest Sportage is holding up well to daily use, topping the charts as the best family SUV on the market for reliability
We told you earlier that Hyundai is making reliable cars, and so is sister brand Kia.
The latest Sportage stands out as the best family SUV for reliability and it’s predecessor isn’t far behind, taking fifth spot. The Ceed is another model with a strong track record.
What Car? Reliability rating 96.8%
Toyota has always been synonymous with reliability. The latest Yaris is proving particularly dependable
It won't come as much surprise to see Toyota place high in the list - the car maker is one of the big reasons Japanese manufacturers are synonymous with reliability.
The Yaris, for example, has faultless reliability, according to owners. The RAV4 SUV is also a highly-rated machine, getting a 99.6 per cent reliability rating of its own.
What Car? Reliability rating 97.5%
Whatever Toyota can do it's premium arm - Lexus - can do better. Models like the NX SUV prove that you can have a luxury car and reliability hand-in-hand
If you buy a premium car that's packed with technology the chances are you'll soon be on first-name terms with your local mechanic. That's unless you buy a Lexus.
The luxury arm of Toyota has two outstanding models in the hybrid and electric car class: the IS saloon NX SUV. That said, almost the entire range is bulletproof.
What Car? Reliability rating 97.7%
Want a car that fails to develop faults? Owners of the Suzuki SX-4 S-Cross said they had no problems whatsoever with their vehicles in the last 12 months. Suzuki tops the maker charts
It's bronze, silver and now gold for Japan, as Suzuki takes the top spot as the most reliable manufacturer, based on owner feedback.
The SX4 S-Cross is 100 per cent reliable - say keepers - and the larger Vitara SUV is also a car you can count on.
LEAST RELIABLE CAR BRANDS
What Car? Reliability rating 91.2%
Mini's overall rating isn't world's apart from Seat, which featured in the most reliable brands list. That said, cars like the Clubman are dragging the side down
It's important not to cast aspersions and remember that there's not much of a gap between the rating for Mini and the tenth most reliable brand Seat.
It’s the hatchback and Clubman estate that drag Mini down. The Clubman is the fourth least reliable small car and diesel versions of the hatchback aren't far behind - though petrol models are far more robust.
What Car? Reliability rating 90.9%
Porsche has a mixed bag at the moment: while the 911 is solid, the Cayman and Macan SUV (pictured) are proving less robust
When you spend big you expect quality, but a few Porsche owners told What Car? that this isn't always the case. In fact, it's quite a mixed bag.
The previous-generation 911 is the third most reliable sports car but the Cayman is the third least dependable. The Macan SUV is another model in the range that disappoints.
What Car? Reliability rating 89.4%
The Peugeot 208 is the least reliable small car, says What Car?. It's a shame because some models, like the 3008, are more dependable
You might be expecting to see a whole host of French brands in this part of the list, and Peugeot is one of those you'd have anticipated. But it's not all bad news for the brand with the lion badge.
The 208 is the poorest performing small car and the 308 is the worst family car. However, the 3008 is the third best family SUV and the 2008 is the second best small SUV.
What Car? Reliability rating 88.1%
The C3 Picasso (pictured) and C4 Grand Picasso are the least reliable MPVs for cars aged 1 to 4 years. That might explain why Citroen has an overall reliability rating of 88.1%
Unlike Peugeot, Citroen doesn’t have any high-scoring reliable models to help heave it higher in the rankings, which explains its position at number seven.
The C4 Cactus is the least dependable small SUV. The C3 Picasso and C4 Grand Picasso sit at the bottom of the MPV table too. Ouch.
What Car? Reliability rating 88.0%
This isn't good news for Mercedes - a German premium brand with a reputation built on quality. The older C-Class is the least dependable executive car, says owners
This is a turn up for the books; a prestigious - and expensive - German car maker that's not all that reliable. Well, in some cases at least.
For instance, the previous generation E-Class tops the luxury class but the current model that replaced it is second from bottom in the same standings. Whoops. Similarly, the C-Class is the least dependable executive car, while the B-Class is the most dependable MPV. Inconsistency is Mercedes' downfall.
What Car? Reliability rating 87.1%
While the Leaf is the most reliable electric vehicle, it's not such good reading for Nissan's petrol and diesel models. Cars like the Pulsar are pulling the reliability rating down
Bucking the trend for Japanese brands is Nissan, thanks to a few poor performers for reliability.
The Note is the second least durable small car, the Pulsar is second from bottom in the family car league and the petrol and diesel Qashqai take the bottom two places in the family SUV table. Only the Leaf - the most reliable electric car - offers a modicum of success.
What Car? Reliability rating 84.9%
Jaguar is going through hard time right now, and the reliability rating it has received from What Car? readers won't help
Jaguar has been suffering difficult times recently and this list isn't going to offer much respite.
Like Mercedes, it is a mixed bag. Take the previous generation of Jaguar’s luxury car, the XF. Owners say it's more dependable than the latest one. The XE is the second least dependable executive car.
What Car? Reliability rating 82.7%
Jeep made a name for itself with army vehicles. The latest models it produces wouldn't last two seconds in battle, owners report
For a brand with an army background, Jeep wouldn't stand up to a battlefield all that well today it seems.
The smallest model - the Renegade - is second from bottom in the reliability standings for small SUVs and older Cherokees are a real drag on the brand's overall rating.
2. Land Rover
What Car? Reliability rating 76.5%
No surprises here - Land Rover usually finds itself at the bottom of these lists. It's not necessarily the volume of faults they suffer but the severity and huge cost to repair them
Land Rover is notorious for featuring at the bottom of these lists, so second from bottom suggests there has been a bit of improvement.
The full-size Range Rover is the least reliable model in both the large and luxury car class and the Range Rover Evoque, Discovery and Discovery Sport don't do much better. What on earth could have done worse than this?
What Car? Reliability rating 57.3%
We might be finding ourselves on the wrong end of an Elon Musk tweet for this, but it's our duty to tell you that Tesla has - by far - the worst reliability rating of all brands reviewed, according to What Car?'s owner survey
Look away now Elon Musk, as you're not going to like this. What Car? says this is the first time enough owners have relayed back about the dependability of their Teslas, and it doesn't make good reading.
Newer examples of its Model S are the poorest performing EV, with an incredibly low score of 50.9 per cent. Older models are marginally better.