Oct 262011
 

Honda HR-VWith the Indian summer making way for chillier climes, Warranty Direct has revealed the most – and least – dependable 4x4s and SUVs.

performed best, with only three in 100 recording a fault in the last 12 months, followed by Suzuki’s Grand Vitara (2005 onwards).

In stark contrast, Land Rover’s Range Rover (2002-onwards) was shown to be the most break down prone off-roader – two thirds of its reported faults were suspension or electrical hiccups – behind the Jeep Grand Cherokee (1999-2005) and Volkswagen’s Touareg (2003 onwards).

The study of nearly 16,000 three- to eight-year-old 4x4s and SUVs revealed the market segment to have some of the most expensive to run vehicles on Warranty Direct’s books.

Nevertheless, with another harsh winter predicted, there’s no better type of vehicle to tackle the snow and ice.

Predictably, the top-10 is dominated by Japanese and Korean manufacturers, but Land Rover’s Freelander (2006 onwards) breaks their stranglehold, with only one in five breaking down annually and a modest average repair cost.

As used 4×4 prices rise prior to the inevitable cold snap, buyers are advised to seize the moment.

The study used Warranty Direct’s unique Reliability Index rating (www.reliabilityindex.co.uk), which takes into account how often vehicles break down, average repair cost and time spent in the garage to calculate its overall reliability. The lower the Reliability Index number, the more reliable and cheaper to repair the car.

Top 10 rated 4×4/SUVs

(A lower Reliability Index rating means the vehicle is more reliable and less expensive to run)

Make Model Year

Reliability Index Rating

Average Repair Cost (£)

Honda HR-V (98-06)

6

213

Suzuki Grand Vitara (05-)

20

186

Honda CR-V (07-)

21

254

Subaru Forester (02-08)

46

235

Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin (99-06)

50

351

Kia Sportage (05-)

56

259

Land Rover Freelander (06-)

56

264

Nissan X-Trail (07-)

69

591

Kia Sorento (03-)

69

391

Hyundai Santa Fe (01-06)

74

292

Warranty Direct’s Duncan McClure Fisher said: “Modern 4x4s are a far cry from the noisy and uncomfortable off-roaders of the past. They are fairly expensive to run but our study shows that there’s a handful of incredibly reliable 4x4s which won’t break the bank.

“A four-wheel-drive vehicle is most definitely the transport of choice for any motorist during our cold months, particularly judging by our last few winters.”

Bottom 5 rated 4×4/SUVs

(A higher Reliability Index rating means the vehicle is less reliable and more expensive to run)

Make Model Year

Reliability Index Rating

Average Repair Cost (£)

Land Rover Range Rover (02-)

305

519

Jeep Grand Cherokee (99-05)

253

502

Volkswagen Touareg (03-)

232

525

BMW X5 (00-07)

216

468

Volvo XC90 (02-)

205

460

In contrast to the top 10, none of the bottom 5 rated 4x4s hail from the East, instead they originate from Europe or America.

For more information on the reliability of your vehicle, visit www.reliabilityindex.com, or for a quote, go to www.warrantydirect.co.uk.

Oct 182011
 

Labour ratesThe escalating cost of motoring continues as mechanics’ rates climb to new heights – soaring above £200 at one dealer – according to Warranty Direct’s annual Labour Rates Survey.

With the average garage labour rate (franchised dealers and independent workshops combined) rising by 7.5%, well above the current 4.5% inflation rate, an hour of a mechanic’s time now costs £80.44, up from £74.82 in 2010.

The survey also revealed franchised dealer workshops to be 57% more expensive on average than their non-franchised counterparts, the widest gap seen for years.

While some car owners will shell out only £35 an hour at the cheapest independent workshops, others pay a staggering £202.21 – the highest labour rate ever seen by Warranty Direct.

The average franchised dealer labour rate is £95.83 (up from £90.59 last year), while independents typically charge £60.68 (£55.90 in 2010).

As well as inflation, part of the franchised dealer price increase could be attributed to discounted fixed-price servicing. This new trend, whereby motorists pay a large up front bill for two, three or four year service bundles, could mean that dealers are funding discounts by charging much more for standard repairs and servicing, and for those who simply break down unexpectedly.

Top 10 most expensive regions for garage labour rates

Region

Average cost for an hour’s labour (£)

Middlesex

98.21

Gwynedd

97.16

Hertfordshire

97.14

Berkshire

93.38

Surrey

91.51

Pembrokeshire

91.34

Bath   & NE Somerset

91.02

London

90.81

Buckinghamshire

90.27

Midlothian

87.93

 

Top 10 least expensive regions for garage labour rates

Region

Average cost for an hour’s labour (£)

Dumfries   & Galloway

54.82

Inverclyde

55.38

West   Lothian

58.31

Renfrewshire

59.17

Clwyd

61.86

County   Durham

63.45

Monmouthshire

64.70

Humberside

64.78

South   Humberside

66.62

Northumberland

66.66

 

Warranty Direct’s survey shows Middlesex to be the most expensive postcode to get cars repaired – charging £98.21 on average. In contrast, those lucky enough to break down in Dumfries and Galloway will usually pay £54.82. The most dramatic year-on-year rises were in Gwent (+26.9%) and East Sussex (+24.3%). Conversely, Manchester benefitted from a near 10% fall in rates on average.

Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct said: “Drivers might have hoped there’d be some reprieve from the staggering costs of motoring, but no, they’re getting clobbered yet again.

“To think that some workshops are charging in excess of £200 an hour is astounding – that’s equivalent to some people’s weekly wage. Motoring costs are approaching an unsustainable level.

“There’s been a move to push fixed priced service deals, but the knock-on effect is that dealers then charge much more for anybody who isn’t locked in and, once the car is on site, it’s often impractical to find a better price.”

Warranty Direct cover starts from as little as £15 a month. All policies protect against wear & tear, failures caused by uninsured parts and failures found during a service or MOT.

For more information on the reliability of your vehicle, visit www.reliabilityindex.com, or for a quote on cover www.warrantydirect.co.uk.