Britain’s most and least reliable cars revealed

This is the latest report in a series of weekly updates for industry colleagues from Rachael Prasher, managing director of What Car? and Haymarket Automotive.

The UK’s used car market is currently booming. Earlier this summer, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) highlighted that used sales volumes were up 6.6% on pre-pandemic levels in 2019, and up 108.6% compared with last year.

With more people shopping in the used market for their next car, we’ve published our latest Reliability Survey to help buyers find the most reliable models up to five years old. The Reliability Survey contains feedback from 16,328 car owners, with each of them 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.

At brand level, Lexus and Dacia models were hailed as the most dependable for new and used car buyers, while Fiat and Land Rover received the lowest scores from owners. Lexus gained an overall rating of 98.7% and none of its vehicles scored less than 98.4%. Budget brand Dacia also impressed, receiving a 97.3% overall rating. 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 respectively.

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

Hybrids were rated as the most dependable type of car, with an average class reliability score of 96.9%. The best performing hybrid was the Lexus NX (2014 – present) with a 99.8% score, while the hybrid variants of the BMW X5 (2018 – present) were rated least reliable, with 89.7%.

The popular Small SUV class was the second most reliable overall, with an average score of 95.2%.

Luxury SUVs were the worst performers in the survey, 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 72.1%.

Of the 16,328 drivers who completed the survey, 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.

For our comprehensive list of the most and least reliable cars on the market, head to the full story