Jul 012010

hondaIf you want a reliable used car, buy Japanese – that’s the message from What Car? and automotive insurance expert, Warranty Direct, as they reveal the findings from their annual car reliability study.

While Honda topped the rankings as the most trustworthy car builder for the fifth consecutive year, with just 7% requiring repairs in a 12-month period, manufacturers from the Far East dominated the chart, filling eight of the top 10 places.

Only Skoda and MINI broke the trend at the top spots of the report, compiled using data from Warranty Direct’s 50,000 live policies on cars aged three to 10-years old.

British marque, Land Rover, proved to be the least reliable manufacturer out of 32 included in the study, with 53% of cars suffering a fault, while Alfa Romeo and Renault are also among the most likely to break down. Many of the models analysed have since been replaced.

Most and least reliable car manufacturers 

  Most reliable   Least reliable
1 Honda 32 Land Rover
2 Subaru 31 Alfa Romeo
3 Mitsubishi 30 Renault
4 Lexus 29 Saab
5 Toyota 28 MG
6 Mazda 27 Vauxhall
7 Nissan 26 Peugeot
8 Skoda 25 Audi
9 Kia 24 Rover
10 MINI 23 BMW


What Car? editor, Steve Fowler, said: “This year’s survey produced some interesting results. Several prestige manufacturers have suffered embarrassing failure rates, while brands that buyers may not associate with reliability have shown a marked improvement.”

The most expensive make of car to repair is, perhaps unsurprisingly, Porsche, at an average cost of £717.36 while, despite an excellent reliability record, Mazda has the second-highest average garage bill, at £481.26.

Conversely, Renault’s cars may break down a lot, but at least you will only have to fork out an average £226.54 each time, the lowest in the report.

Manufacturers by average repair cost

Most expensive   Least expensive  
Porsche £717 Renault £226
Mazda £481 Fiat £237
Audi £478 Smart £251
Mitsubishi £460 Skoda £255
Mercedes-Benz £445 Ford £256
Alfa Romeo £420 Citroen £262
Jaguar £420 Vauxhall £268
Land Rover £412 Peugeot £283
Volvo £409 SEAT £288
Lexus £403 Saab £289


Warranty Direct managing director, Duncan McClure Fisher, said: “When buying a car, certain factors loom larger in your mind than others. For the majority of drivers, how much they can trust that car to get them from A to B is most important.

“Car manufacturers are constantly making great strides in building more reliable vehicles, so this survey is not a reflection on new cars coming out now – we won’t see hard data on those vehicles for three or four years.”

While undeniably more dependable, Japanese cars are not without their issues – Hondas suffer the highest percentage of air conditioning issues, with over 10% of cars affected, as well as the highest number of transmission woes at 15%.

Subarus suffer the highest failure rate for axle and suspension issues, with 50% of cars suffering, and generate more brake problems than any other make, with just under 17% of cars reporting a problem.

Calculated using a formula that takes into account frequency of failure, length of time spent in the workshop, average repair cost, age and mileage, the What Car? and Warranty Direct study is the most robust of its kind in the UK, and up-to-date information can be found at any time at Warranty Direct’s www.reliabilityindex.co.uk website.

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