Feb 232015

66735peuWarranty Direct has revealed the top 10 most reliable city cars which could bring a smile to the faces of beleaguered commuters in the wake of growing complaints about public transport. Nationally rail journey satisfaction dropped to a low point of 81% in autumn 2014, with punctuality and value for money proving to be the main gripes. However, the canny urbanite may find that getting behind the wheel of a city car is a convenient and cost-effective alternative, with the Peugeot 107 emerging as the most reliable option.

In response to this Warranty Direct has compiled a selection of dependable city cars that won’t cost the earth to run or let their owners down, whether darting through congested city streets or zipping along faster roads.

Warranty Direct analysed its 50,000 live policies, using the Company’s unique Reliability Index (http://www.reliabilityindex.com/) to measure overall reliability by combining rate of failure, average mileage, age and repair cost.

However, with repair bills on some pint-sized runabouts exceeding £2000, it is important to choose wisely.  Here, Warranty Direct has named the top ten city cars based on their reliability which makes them sensible options for motorists looking to cut their costs.

Top ten rated city cars

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

Make Model Year Reliability Index Score Largest repair bill
Peugeot 107 (05-) 19 £763.88
Citroen C1 (05-) 22 £1030.00
Kia Picanto (04-) 27 £724.00
Volkswagen Lupo (99-05) 31 £486.75
Toyota Aygo (05-) 32 £976.05
Volkswagen Fox (06-12) 44 £1144.28
Ford Ka (96-09) 48 £1226.38
Smart ForTwo (07-) 53 £918.89
Fiat Panda (04-) 56 £1345.44
Chevrolet Matiz (05-) 65 £319.60


Perhaps surprisingly, the trendy Fiat 500 fell into the bottom five category, while Fiat’s older Panda model performed well, finishing ninth. Those looking to make a style statement may prefer to look at Smart’s ForTwo, as the 2007 onwards model put in a strong showing. However, the previous Smart ForTwo, originally known as the ‘City Coupe’, finished last overall.

Bottom five rated city cars

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

Make Model Year RI Score Largest repair bill
Smart ForTwo (03-07) 107 £1565.31
Peugeot 1007 (05-09) 106 £1597.80
Fiat 500 (08-) 77 £2074.00
Daewoo Matiz (98-05) 71 £637.70
Rover CityRover (03-05) 70 £809.84


David Gerrans, Managing Director at Warranty Direct commented: “With growing concerns about the rising cost of public transport and the inconvenience caused by strike action, choosing a reliable city car instead could be a wise move.

“In the past decade, these small cars have grown up and are now more advanced and efficient than ever before. However, some small cars have given their owners cause for concern with high repair bills so be careful with your selection.”

Warranty Direct cover starts from as little as £15 a month. For more information on the reliability of your vehicle, visit http://www.reliabilityindex.com/, or for a quote on cover http://www.warrantydirect.co.uk/.

Feb 022015

pic_story1Analysis of Warranty Direct’s 50,000 live policies reveals that, with an average annual failure rate of 36.5% across all makes and models, some 18,000 vehicles could break down during 2015 and a disproportionately high number are likely to be during the winter giving an estimated seasonal failure rate approaching 10%.

According to data from Warranty Direct’s unique Reliability Index (www.reliabilityindex.com), electrical issues are expected to be the root cause of more than 25% of all winter breakdowns.

Despite being more reliable than average, Vauxhall Corsa owners are the most likely to be affected– with 1.1 million registered in the UK and, applying a seasonal failure rate of 10%, that’s almost 113,000 of the UK’s third most popular model that could breakdown this winter.

The least reliable model among the top-10 most popular is the BMW 3-series; however, the executive saloon car can boast only 650,000 registered examples on UK roads compared to more than a million Corsas.

Top-10 most popular models by number of registered vehicles & amount predicted to breakdown

Make and model Number of registered examples * Winter breakdown rate (%)** Predicted number of breakdowns by model
Ford Focus 1,450,876 6.62                                    95,975
Ford Fiesta 1,345,298 4.32                                    58,117
Vauxhall Corsa 1,160,610 9.72                                  112,811
Vauxhall Astra 1,099,916 9.07                                    99,784
Volkswagen Golf 960,418 8.80                                    84,536
BMW 3-Series 647,428 10.29                                    66,601
Renault Clio 614,082 8.37                                    51,399
Volkswagen Polo 582,473 8.80                                    51,269
Ford Mondeo 509,007 8.91                                    45,353
Peugeot 206 470,576 7.97                                    37,481
* DVLA data ** estimated as 27% of  Reliability Index annual rates


Another popular model – the Ford Focus – is predicted to leave up to 96,000 motorists stranded this winter, followed by the Volkswagen Golf with nearly 85,000.

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said “The winter is generally tougher on many electrical and mechanical components, which can increase the chances of a breakdown. The best option is to be vigilant when it comes to maintenance.”

Nov 242014

Frankenstein Car_smCosting an average of £550 when it breaks down every other month, this is the UK’s Worst Used Car, according to Warranty Direct.

We analysed 50,000 live policies and combined the worst-performing cars from each of the categories measured by its unique Reliability Index (www.reliabilityindex.com) and came up with the worst used car.

With the suspension of an Audi, the gearbox of a Jeep and the electrics of a Mercedes, Warranty Direct has created a vehicle made up of the least reliable parts.

The Reliability Index calculates the trustworthiness of vehicles by measuring average cost of repair, frequency of failure, age and mileage. While the average car scores 100 in the Index, with the lower the score the better, this grim creation would be five times more unreliable, with an RI figure of almost 500.

The ‘body parts’ of the Worst Used Car

Make and Model Car part Range
BMW M5 Engine (04 – 11)
Audi RS6 Axle and Suspension (02 – 11)
Jeep Grand Cherokee Gearbox (06 – )
Mercedes-Benz R-Class Electrics (04 – )
Fiat Multipla Braking system (99 – 05)
SEAT Alhambra Air-conditioning (96 – )
Chrysler 300C Steering system (05 – )


Overall, the Reliability Index shows that two in five vehicles need some form of repair each year and, while the average repair costs just over £350, some garage bills can spiral to a massive £35,000.

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: “The composite is a bit of fun that will, thankfully, never be built, as it stitches together the cars that perform worst in each of the mechanical categories we measure.

“This large variety of vehicles that goes into the concoction proves how typically reliable cars can be dragged down by one poorly-performing part.”

Almost two fifths of Audi RS6s require a trip to the workshop to repair axle and suspension components each year, while three in every 10 Mercedes-Benz R Class vehicles report electrical faults.

Gearbox problems are rarer, but still more than one in ten Jeep Grand Cherokees will report gearbox problems annually.

A quarter of BMW M5s require repairs to their engines, while the same proportion of Fiat Multiplas will experience braking system faults.

Chrysler’s 300C is not renowned for its agility in corners but, even so, more than ten percent will require repairs to their steering systems. The same number of SEAT Alhambras will need their air-con fixed during a typical year, so drivers who like keeping their car cool should beware of the big SEAT’s asthmatic ventilation system.

Nov 072014

S7-modele--rover-45Used cars made by MG up to 2005, Rover or Daewoo are most likely to suffer expensive head gasket failure according to new data from Warranty Direct.

While most vehicles are more prone to common electrical mishaps or suspension issues, head gasket failure – every used car buyer’s nightmare – can strike nearly six per cent of some three to 12 year-old vehicles.

Costing an alarming £770 on average to repair, head gasket breakdowns tend to hit after a car is at least three years old.

Vehicles made by Proton, Saab and Fiat are the next most likely to suffer from the glitch feared most by used car buyers.

The head gasket sits between the engine block and cylinder head, effectively sealing the engine to prevent the engine oil and coolant mixing. When it fails, a car will often lose power, overheat or emit white smoke from exhaust.

The head gasket hall of shame

Manufacturer Chance of head gasket failure in one year
MG* 5.61%
ROVER* 4.75%
DAEWOO 2.36%
PROTON 2.04%
SAAB 1.27%
FIAT 1.20%
SUBARU 0.78%

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: “Anybody familiar with buying a used car will know about head gaskets and how costly they can be to repair, I can speak from bitter experience.

“Some cars are almost immune to failures of this sort, while others are quite likely to blow. Bear in mind, too, that all the cars we cover are maintained according to manufacturer guidelines, so the problem could be even more prevalent on cars with a patchy service history and many former keepers.

“Even though some of the poorest performing brands are now under new ownership or no longer exist in their former guise, there are thousands of these vehicles on the used market.”

At the other end of the scale, the Warranty Direct data shows that less than one in 500 vehicles made by Lexus will suffer a head gasket problem, and less than one in 1,000 Aston Martins are susceptible.

Head gasket failure is a common cause of cars overheating – a problem Warranty Direct covers, unlike most warranty providers in the marketplace.

For more information on Car Reliability visit www.reliabilityindex.com

Aug 212014


The Citroën Berlingo Multispace and Suzuki SX4 are the best because they are so wonderfully reliable, and that’s according to us.

Warranty Direct analysed data from more than 50,000 live policies to compile a chart of the best-performing MPV and Crossover models.

Warranty Direct’s unique Reliability Index takes into account factors such as how frequently a car breaks down, typical repair costs, how long it takes to fix and average age and mileage. The lower a car’s Reliability Index score, the more reliable it is.

According to the figures, the best-performing MPVs trump their Crossover cousins and the reliability Queen of the MPV sector is the Citroën Berlingo Multispace (1997-2008), with fewer than two in 10 models experiencing a fault in any given 12-month period.

Citroën has three entries in the MPV reliability chart as the big-selling Xsara Picasso ranks third and the latest Berlingo Multispace eighth.

Ford also has a trio of entries in the MPV top 10. The latest Ford C-MAX takes the runner-up spot and its predecessor, the original Ford Focus C-MAX, is ranked ninth. Tenth place goes to the practical Ford S-MAX.


1 Citroën Berlingo Multispace 1997 – 2008 37 £199.54
2 Ford C-MAX 2010 – 49 £288.54
3 Citroën Xsara Picasso 2000 – 2010 52 £215.34
4 Chevrolet Tacuma 2005 – 2008 55 £482.62
5 Renault Scenic 2003 – 2009 70 £285.93
6 Skoda Roomster 2005 – 75 £365.94
7 Citroën Berlingo Multispace 2008 – 84 £276.47
8 Fiat Doblo 2001 – 2010 102 £262.49
9 Ford Focus C-MAX 2003 – 2010 106 £315.25
10 Ford S-MAX 2006 – 109 £401.15


Only vehicles available in new car showrooms as recently as 2007 were included in Warranty Direct’s analysis and Japanese brands dominate the top of the Crossover chart. Suzuki took top spot with the SX4 crowned the most reliable high-riding, two-wheel drive model. With the lowest breakdown rate and average repair cost in its class, the Suzuki SX4 finished comfortably ahead of the original Nissan Qashqai.

The closely-related Kia Sportage (2005-2010) and Hyundai Tucson crossovers fought it out for third place, with the Hyundai winning the battle of the South Korean brands to claim the bronze medal position.


1. Suzuki SX4 2006 – 24 £182.87
2. Nissan Qashqai 2007 – 2013 68 £343.51
3. Hyundai Tucson 2004 – 2009 69 £226.36
4. Kia Sportage 2005 –2010 93 £299.21
5. Toyota RAV4 2006 – 2012 106 £432.82
6. Ford Kuga 2008 –2012 129 £379.93
7. Volkswagen Tiguan 2008 – 170 £320.81
8. Vauxhall Antara 2007 – 230 £414.66


When it comes to individual faults, MPVs are most likely to suffer from electrical gremlins, accounting for an average of 29.6% of faults, while Crossovers are most commonly afflicted by axle and suspension issues – responsible for 28.3% of faults.Motorists torn between the practical nature of a family MPV and the rugged appeal of a Crossover model should take note – the top-performing people carriers in the chart logged an average Reliability Index score of 73.9, compared to 111 for their taller-riding rivals.

David Gerrans, managing director of Warranty Direct, said: “Reliability is a crucial part of any car-buying decision, especially for busy families with already strained household budgets.

“Both MPVs and Crossover models are aimed squarely at family motorists and this analysis of our comprehensive database will make essential reading for anyone considering a family model.”