Mar 192015

British and French brands produce Europe’s most reliable cars, according to the latest research by Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index.

With the 85th Geneva Motor Show displaying the latest automotive technology closing its doors at the end of last week, Warranty Direct has revealed which are Europe’s most reliable models. The vehicles analysed were an average of five years old with mileages of around 50,000.

British brand, Vauxhall, topped the table with its diminutive Agila model the most reliable European-badged car on the road.

French manufacturers, Peugeot and Citroen completed the top three, with their similarly small 107 and C1 superminis.

Swedish, Spanish, German and Czech brands also won places in the top 10 reliability rankings with Volvo, SEAT, Volkswagen, Smart and Skoda.

Vauxhall’s Agila is most likely to incur issues with its axle and suspension, accounting for an average of 30% of its faults. The cooling and heating system is responsible for 44% of the Peugeot 107’s downtime; with fellow French carmaker Citroen finding most of the issues in its C1 derive from the electrics.


reliable european cars

Volvo S40 drivers report more axle and suspension faults, with a third suffering complications. Warranty Direct’s data reveals Smart’s Fortwo most frequently faces engine issues, accounting for more than one in three of its breakdowns.

Warranty Direct managing director, David Gerrans, said: “It’s good to see a British manufacturer at the top of the table, especially at a time when Britain’s automotive industry is flying high. Our data also highlights that Swedish, Czech, Spanish and French carmakers are all more reliable than their often celebrated German counterparts, which will surprise some consumers, who may still assume that German cars are the most durable.”

At the other end of the scale, the Audi RS6 is Europe’s most unreliable vehicle, with data indicating it’ll break down at least once a year. Four out of the five most unreliable models are produced by German manufacturers.


least reliable

Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index score is calculated on a combination of vehicle criteria from a database of more than 50,000 live policies:

• Frequency of failure
• Cost of repair
• Duration of repairs
• Average age and mileage

The higher the Reliability Index score, the worse the car is – the lower the score, the better and the average RI number is 100. For more information on Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index, visit;

Warranty Direct ( is the UK’s leading direct-to-consumer insurer for car, van and bike mechanical and electrical failures.

Sep 262012

2009-mercedes-benz-e-class-e-guard-photo-260076-s-1280x782As Europe’s most hotly anticipated new car showcase, the Paris Motor Show, kicks off next week, Warranty Direct has revealed Europe’s most reliable used car: The Mercedes-Benz E-Class (2006-).

While the world gazes at the exotic vehicles of the future, Warranty Direct’s study lays bare the everyday reliability of cars currently on the road.

The large German saloon may not be a show-stopper but, despite its size and advanced technology, the E-Class is certainly dependable, with just one in 10 breaking down on average each year.

Warranty Direct analysed around 20,000 live policies on European cars* aged 3 to 6 years for its Reliability Index website (

At the other end of the reliability scale, a whopping 85% of Land Rover Discovery (2004-2009) models covered by Warranty Direct recorded a fault in the last 12 months, followed by the Bentley Continental GT (2003-2010), of  which 78% needed attention.

Skoda, once the butt of many a joke, builds the second most reliable used European car, the Fabia (2007-) – only 15% of owners will be paying for repairs each year. Next most reliable is the Smart ForTwo (2007-) and the Volvo C70 (2006-).

The most costly single claim among the bottom 10 cars was £10,120 for a BMW 7-Series fault, but a small number of cars typically cost far less. Over the last 12 months even the largest claim for a Skoda Fabia was only £180.

Top 10 most reliable European cars



Model year

Incident rate**

Largest claim

Most common Reason for fault/claim***

Mercedes-Benz E-Class (06 – 09)



Axle & suspension: 49%

Skoda Fabia (07 – )



Electrical: 33%

Smart ForTwo (07 – )



Cooling & heating 28%

Volvo C70 (06 – )



Electrical: 41%

Renault Scenic (03 -09)



Axle & suspension: 28%

Peugeot 207 (06 – 12)



Engine: 24%

Volvo S80 (06 – )



Cooling & heating 25%

Citroen C3 Pluriel (03 – 10)



Axle & suspension: 30%

Mini One (07 – )



Transmission: 25%

Seat Ibiza (06 – 09)



Axle & suspension: 46%

Warranty Direct managing director, Duncan McClure Fisher, said: “It is very interesting to see the Mercedes at the top of the pile for European cars. It’s big and it’s packed with technology, which is not usually the recipe for a reliable car, but it’s proved to be excellent.

“With the imminent opening of the Paris Motor Show, we thought it’d be a good moment to discover which European marque makes the most and least reliable cars.

“Running a car is more expensive than ever, particularly when it moves into its fourth and fifth year and most cars leave the protection of a manufacturer warranty. If you do your research though and buy the right car or at least protect yourself with a warranty, you’re in a much better position.”

Top 10 least reliable European cars



Model year

Incident rate**

Largest claim

Most common reason for fault/claim***

Land Rover Discovery (04 – 09)



Axle & suspension: 42%

Bentley Continental GT (03 – 10 )



Electrical: 52%

Renault Espace (03 – )



Engine: 18%

Mercedes-Benz SL (02 – 11)



Axle & suspension: 34%

Land Rover Range Rover Sport (05 – 10)



Axle & suspension: 42%

Renault Grand Scenic (04 – 09)



Electrical: 29%

Saab 9-3 (02 – )



Electrical: 30%

BMW 7 Series (01 – 08)



Electrical: 36%

Mercedes-Benz CLS (05 – )



Axle & suspension: 37%

Renault Megane (02 – 09)



Electrical: 47%

Warranty Direct cover starts from as little as £15 a month. For more information or for a quote, go to