Britain’s most and least reliable cars revealed

The UK’s most and least reliable new and used cars have been revealed in the 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey from Britain’s leading new car buying platform and consumer champion. Feedback from more than 16,000 car owners was analysed to find the country’s most dependable 178 models and 30 brands, from 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, demonstrating that you don’t 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 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. With feedback from more than 16,000 owners, the latest What Car? Reliability Survey highlights the brands and models with the best and worst records.

“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 98.7%
Dacia 97.3%
Suzuki 97.1%
Hyundai 97.1%
Toyota 97.0%
Mini 97.0%
Mitsubishi 96.9%
Mazda 95.9%
Kia 95.8%
MG 95.7%

 

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

Brand  Reliability Rating 
Fiat 82.0%
Land Rover 82.5%
Ford 86.2%
Nissan 86.2%
Alfa Romeo 86.5%
Porsche 89.4%
Mercedes-Benz 89.6%
Vauxhall 89.6%
Peugeot 89.6%
Jaguar 90.1%


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

Hybrid cars – 96.9% class reliability rating Most Reliable Least Reliable
Lexus NX (2014 – present) – 99.8% BMW X5 (2018 – present) – 89.7%

 

Small SUVs – 95.2% class reliability rating Most Reliable Least 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 Reliable Least Reliable
BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014 – present) – 98.8% Volkswagen Touran (2015 – present) – 74.1%

 

Family SUVs – 93.6% class reliability rating Most Reliable Least Reliable
Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (2017 – present) – 100% Range Rover Evoque (2011 – 2019) – 77.1%

 

Large SUVs – 93.6% class reliability rating Most Reliable Least Reliable
BMW X3 petrol (2018 – present) – 97.7% Nissan X-Trail (2014 – present) – 59.7%

 

Family cars – 93.0% class reliability rating Most Reliable Least 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 Reliable Least 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 Reliable Least 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 Reliable Least 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 Reliable Least Reliable
Dacia Sandero (2013 – 2020) – 100% Ford Fiesta (2017 – present) – 74.9%

 

Luxury cars – 90.4% class reliability rating Most Reliable Least Reliable
BMW 5 Series petrol (2017 – present) – 96.9% Audi A6 (2011 – 2018) – 82.1%

 

Luxury SUVs – 88.8% class reliability rating Most Reliable Least Reliable
Porsche Macan petrol (2014 – present) – 97.9% Land Rover Discovery (2017 – present) – 72.1%