May 312018

Leading car warranty provider, Warranty Direct analysed its Reliability Index and SMMT data to reveal which of the bestselling UK hatchbacks were most reliable.

The Reliability Index collates and analyses 50,000 live Warranty Direct policies to rate vehicles in order of reliability. As well as finding out the overall reliability of a car, the index offers information on which parts fail most often such as air conditioning, axle & suspension, braking, cooling, electrical components and engines.

Top ten most popular hatchbacks ranked in order of reliability:

Reliability position

Model Popularity position *


Volkswagen Polo 6


Ford Fiesta 1


Ford Focus 3


Volkswagen Golf 2


Vauxhall Corsa


6 Mini Cooper


7 Mercedes Benz A-Class


8 BMW 1 Series


9 Vauxhall Astra


10 Audi A3



Recently plagued by problems owing to the diesel emission scandal, Volkswagen showed it’s still a strong contender in the hatchback market. According to the Reliability Index the Polo and Golf models came in at 1st and 4th place for overall reliability.

While it was only the 6th bestselling hatchback of last year, the Polo actually beat competitors to be crowned the most reliable, spending just 1.46 hours off the road for repairs, which cost an average of just £184.

This is because less than 10% of problems recorded in the Reliability Index for both Polo and Golf models stemmed from more expensive issues such as brakes or gearbox problems.

Following the Polo closely in second place was the Ford Fiesta, which according to SMMT was also the bestselling car of 2017. Low cost and easy to repair faults helped the Fiesta retain its top spot and it needed an average of only 1.51 hours off the road. It narrowly missed out on first position due to slightly higher repair times and costs compared to the Volkswagen Polo.

Coming in a respectable 3rd for reliability is family favourite, the Ford Focus. The average costs of repairs were a little higher though at £283 and so was the average time off the road for repairs at 2.05 hours. This could be down to the model experiencing trickier electrical faults, which made up nearly 30% of all its claims.

In last place for reliability and second to last for popularity, the Audi A3 had a staggering average repair cost of £439, stemming from expensive engine issues, which made up 27% of all claims.

Surprisingly, some of the most expensive, popular models scored more poorly for reliability, with the A-Class in 7th place, the 1 Series in 8th and the A3 rounding out the table in position ten. All took around three hours for the average time off the road for repairs, which may be down to the more complex makeup of these premium vehicles.

The Mercedes A-Class in particular was a good example, as 40% of its claims came from electrical issues, which are common for a growing number of luxury cars, as they contain more parts dependent upon automated technology

Simon Ackers, CEO of Warranty Direct commented on the findings:

“When buying a new car, motorists should look beyond the initial purchase price and examine resources such as the Reliability Index to get a better indication of whether a particular model is suited to their individual needs.

“According to sales, the Polo was only the 6th bestselling hatchback of last year, but it’s actually the most reliable model according to our Reliability Index. In addition to this, the most expensive model may not actually be the most reliable, so it’s always worth doing your research before purchasing your next vehicle.”

*Popularity position based on 2017 SMMT data on the UK’s best-selling vehicles

Apr 252016

VW polo






Volkswagen Polo vs Ford Fiesta

A small hatchback, or supermini is all many of us need to cope with daily commute and a bit of shopping. So which ones are best?

Why Buy?

The Volkswagen Polo is a just a smaller Golf and that’s why people love it. It is a quality product which makes owners feel good. It also feels like a larger car. The Fiesta is a hard working, reliable hatchback, that is cheap to run and easy to drive. A practical good value choice for many.

Which models?

The Volkswagen Polo was revised in 2005 with a fresh front end. There is a choice of excellent engines, small petrols and diesels. The Ford Fiesta stepped up a gear in ’08 and has a great range of 3 and 5 door cars starting with a 1.25 petrol and the very economical ECOnetic diesel.

Are they reliable?

Both cars have a great reputation for not breaking down. The Volkswagen Polo is tough and the Fiesta is just as durable but it is cheaper to fix overall. Mostly it is tyres, brakes and consumable items that fail.

How much do they cost?

Volkswagen Polos from 2008 in tidy condition with low mileage is over £4000. However, £2000 will buy a 2005 1.2E or 1.4S petrol. Fiestas from 2009 are £4700 for a 1.25 Style. £5500 gets the 2011 1.4 TDCi diesel, or a 2013 1.0 petrol. There really are so many to choose from.

Sum Up

There is not much to choose between them in ability. The Fiesta is better value, the Polo offers a slightly more prestigious feel. 

Volkswagen Polo

Average Repair Cost: £253.84

Engine: 18.58%*

Axle/Suspension: 33.63*

Electrical: 21.24*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above average

Ford Fiesta

Average Repair Cost: £202.04

Axle & Suspension: 33.85*

Cooling: 20%*

Electrical: 15.38%*

Cooling & Heating: 20.00*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average

* failure rate

Jul 302015

Cars2A small practical hatchback is all the motor many require. But which is best?

Why Buy?
The Panda is a micro people carrier with an appealing boxy shape that is easy to own and drive with a promise of very small running costs. The Fiesta is part of our motoring fabric. A name that guarantees cheap running costs and delivers a fun driving experience too.

Which models?
The relaunched Fiat Panda from 2004 to 2011 was much larger and more practical than before, even though the boot space is a bit tight. The 2002 onward Fiesta was fun to drive, despite lack of space, and did its job for buyers who wanted predictable running costs.

Are they reliable?
The Fiat Panda has been a great car for Fiat as it has proved to be decently reliable and the Warranty Direct figures support this. The Fiesta is similar, with marginally less repair costs and spending less time off of the road too.

How much do they cost?
The cheapest Pandas are now around £500. Some can be quite scruffy though. Later models are around £4000 and tidy private examples are excellent value. Fiestas hold their value better prices start at £600 rising to £4500.

Sum Up: These are both good small cars which make a lot of sense if you want low running costs and an easy life. The Fiesta is sharper to drive, so may appeal to youngsters, whereas the Panda has a lot of style. Based on Warranty Direct figures the Ford will be cheapest to own.

Fiat Panda
Average Repair Cost: £283.53
Electrical: 19.67*
Axle/Suspension: 34.43%*
Steering: 13.11*
Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average to Good

* failure rate

Ford Fiesta
Average Repair Cost: £257.38
Electrical: 18.44%*
Axle/Suspension: 25.00%*
Gearbox: 12.19%*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average to Good

Jul 062015

Research by Warranty Direct has highlighted the used cars aged three years or older which offer the best combination of reliability and economy, as motorists continue to look for ways to reduce the cost of car ownership.

Manufacturers are continually developing new technology which delivers better fuel consumption and lower emissions, but some more complex machines are still prone to going wrong, forcing owners to foot expensive repair bills.

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

Ranking cars based on fuel economy in this instance, Warranty Direct used its Reliability Index to name the top ten reliable makes and models of three years or more, as well as the optimal engine and trim combination for the best return at the pumps.

Top ten rated eco cars
(A higher Reliability Index rating means the vehicle is less reliable and more expensive to run)


The results revealed that the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic, with an impressive combined MPG figure of 85.6 had the best mix of fuel economy and reliability. The Smart Fortwo was able to match the Fiesta’s MPG figure and is unlikely to let its owners down, though it suffered marginally more mechanical faults than the Ford.

The SEAT Ibiza, Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia put in a strong showing for the Volkswagen Group with closely matched scores, though the Skoda nudged ahead of its stablemates owing to an MPG return of 83.1. However, the frugal SEAT is statistically more reliable.

David Gerrans, Managing Director at Warranty Direct commented: “the ‘eco’ derivatives of a used vehicle are often desirable, promising economical motoring for the cost-conscious buyer.

“However, savings on fuel and road tax can soon be countered with astronomical bills for mechanical or electrical failure. It is important to take these factors into account when selecting a car based on green credentials.”

Warranty Direct cover starts from as little as £15 a month. For more information on the reliability of your vehicle, visit, or for a warranty quote on cover

May 282014

Ford (Blog)Britain’s best-loved new car again underlined its claim to the crown in the world of cost-conscious motoring, beating strong challenges from Volkswagen in particular. Yes it is the Ford Fiesta.

Every month the independent car cost experts at CAP measure consumer interest in the long-range financial impact of cars researched by visitors to its specialist ‘Total Cost of Motoring’ tool.

The data provides insight to manufacturers and motor dealers wanting to understand trends in consumer tastes for new cars.

It consistently reveals the growing interest among motorists in the all-round costs of owning cars over time, which include depreciation, service and maintenance, fuel and road tax.

The reputation of German brands such as Volkswagen and BMW is also highlighted by the consistent appearance of 2 models from each in CAP’s monthly ‘Total Cost of Motoring’ top 10.

In April both diesel and petrol versions of the Volkswagen Golf remained in the chart for the 2nd month running. BMW 3 Series and 5 Series also held onto chart places again – proving that even the buyers of ‘executive’ models are increasingly conscious of the impact of car ownership on their personal budget.

Jaguar made a fresh entry into the chart with its XF diesel saloon, while new entries were also registered by Mercedes-Benz, with the C Class diesel, and Volvo’s popular XC60 diesel.

The belief among consumers that diesel cars are likely to cost less to run over time is also revealed by the domination of the chart by oil burners. The only petrol cars to feature during April were Ford Fiesta, Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

CAP’s Retail & Consumer expert, Philip Nothard, said: “Once again our website user data shows that people are looking harder at running costs than ever before and are definitely in the market for cars they believe represent the best value.

“Motorists who come to us for an independent valuation of their existing car are also typically moving on to investigate another car that may prove cheaper to own over time.

“It is also interesting that, given a completely free choice of car running costs to investigate, the Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf and larger BMW models continue to keep most other contenders outside the top 10.”