Jul 282011

Far Eastern CarsJapanese and Korean makes are still the best choice for a used car you can rely on, according to What Car? and warranty specialist Warranty Direct.

The new figures, released today, show that cars from European brands fail most often. However, based on Warranty Direct’s 50,000 live policies on cars of between three to eight years of age, they are also typically cheaper to fix.

Honda tops the standings in the annual car reliability study for an unprecedented sixth year in a row, recording an impressive 9% failure rate. The top 10 manufacturers all come from either Japan or Korea.

The combined What Car? and Warranty Direct study names British marque Land Rover as the least reliable brand, with 55% of its upmarket vehicles suffering faults in a 12-month period. Alfa Romeo (46%), Renault (45%) and Saab (43%) – all European brands – are the next most breakdown-prone manufacturers.

The top two European brands are Skoda and Smart in 11th and 12th respectively. Only they prevent an even stronger showing for Far Eastern manufacturers, by nudging ahead of Daewoo.

Most and least reliable car manufacturers

 Most reliable, Chance of fault in 12 months, Least reliable Chance of fault in 12 months

Honda9%35 LandRover55%2 Toyota14%34 Alfa Romeo46%3 Suzuki15%*33 Renault45%4 Lexus15%*32 Saab43%5 Mitsubishi15%*31 Jeep42%6 Mazda16%30 Chrysler38%7 Subaru17%29 MG37%8 Hyundai20%28 Mercedes34%*9 Kia21%27 Vauxhall34%*10 Nissan22%26 Audi33%

Warranty Direct compiles the data for its www.reliabilityindex.com website, which rates cars according to its ‘Reliability Index’ formula, taking into account repair costs, age, mileage and rate of failure; the What Car? and Warranty Direct annual study surveys manufacturers according to the number of faults in a 12-month period alone.

What Car? editor, Chas Hallett, said: “This year’s study is a stark reminder of the disparity in reliability between far Eastern brands, which dominate the top 10, and European brands, which contribute the bulk of the bottom 10.”

Manufacturers by average repair cost 

 Cheapest repair costs£, Most expensive repair costs£

Fiat241.6335 Porsche689.992 Renault242.2234 Mazda462.583 Ford253.9233 Jeep437.814 Suzuki255.1232 Mercedes-Benz428.135 Peugeot257.3331 Mitsubishi427.98

Meanwhile, the most expensive brand to repair is sportscar maker, Porsche, at an average cost of £690, followed by Mazda and Jeep, which cost £463 and £438 respectively.

In contrast, Fiat, Renault and Ford models cost the least to repair, at around £250 on average. European cars make up seven of the cheapest 10 brands to fix.

Further differences between European and Far Eastern manufacturers can be found in the problems they suffer the most. A third of faults found on European cars are down to electrical malfunctions, while owners of Japanese Subaru, Lexus and Suzuki cars report the most axle and suspension issues – accounting for nearly two in five of all their breakdowns.

Warranty Direct managing director, Duncan McClure Fisher, said: “Car buying is a tricky business, but all most people want is hassle-free motoring.

“Finding a car that can be relied upon is one factor, a great place for that is www.reliabilityindex.com, and maintenance is another – even the most trustworthy vehicles need some TLC to keep going.

“While our study is the most comprehensive of its kind, we won’t see robust data on the very latest cars to be launched. We’ll have to wait around three years for that – nobody has a crystal ball to assess cars launched recently.”

The What Car? and Warranty Direct study is the most robust of its type in the UK, and up-to-date information can be found at any time at Warranty Direct’s www.reliabilityindex.com website.

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.

Nov 292006

Renault EspaceThe cars most likely to give British motorists the lion’s share of an annual £680 million financial headache have been revealed.

New data using thousands of claims handled by independent automotive warranty firm, Warranty Direct, names the cars that just can’t stop breaking down.

The worst offender in the factual reliability survey, based on more than 26,000 vehicles built between 2000 and 2002 (W to 02 registration plate), was the with a staggering 71 percent failure rate – almost twelve times more than the best placed model, Honda’s Civic. Eighty popular models were included in the study. A complete listing is available at www.reliabilityindex.co.uk.

Sharing the second worst position was an off-road favourite, the Jeep Cherokee and Saab’s 9-5 executive model, both with 55 failures in every 100 vehicles; they were closely followed by the Ford Galaxy and Volvo C70 with 54 breakdowns each.

Sixth from bottom in the respected Warranty Direct study was the stylish Audi TT with 51 out of 100 owners recording a mechanical failure of some degree. The luxurious Jaguar XJ, Vauxhall Frontera, Volvo V70 and Renault Laguna completed the inauspicious bottom ten.

Based on the study sample, thirty percent of cars will breakdown during the course of a year, leaving owners having to fork out an average repair bill of £310.66. With an estimated 7.2m cars*1 aged 3-5 years old on the road that’s a massive £677million on unforeseen – and unwanted repairs annually.

Ironically, the poor reliability performance of Jaguar’s
XJ was in stark contrast to the manufacturer’s entry-level X-Type executive runner, which, according to Warranty Direct has so far only caused a headache for 9 percent of owners. It was fourth overall.

Top of the pile was the old-shape, Swindon-built Honda Civic with just six failures for every 100 vehicles. Two more Japanese models – the ever-present Mazda MX-5 (7 percent) and Nissan Micra (8 percent) were just behind.

“These are real cars, real claims and genuine bills. They are the statistics that really count when you weigh up what used car to buy,” explained Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct. “It is hard to recommend a vehicle to someone when seventy percent of owners have had to have remedial work done to it over the past twelve months.

“The fact that nearly half of the eighty models we analysed will break down more than the national average simply isn’t good enough.”

Britain’s best selling model, the Ford Focus was 26th (20 percent rate of failure), just behind its archrival the Vauxhall Astra in 25th. Other notables were the Vauxhall Corsa (11 percent), Volkswagen Golf (31 percent), Mercedes A-Class (36 percent), and Land Rover Freelander (42 percent).

The data is based on a minimum of 100 examples of each model.

Bottom Ten Performers…and the cost of putting right



Likelihood of failure

Average cost of repair

Largest Claim


Renault Espace (97-02)





Jeep Cherokee (93-01)





Saab 9-5 (97-01)





Ford Galaxy (00-)





Volvo C70 (97-02)





Audi TT (99-)





Jaguar XJ8 (97-03)





Vauxhall Frontera (98-03)





Volvo V70 (00-)





Renault Laguna (00-04)





Top Ten Performers…and the cost of putting right



Likelihood of failure

Average cost of repair

Largest Claim


Honda Civic (99-)





Mazda MX-5 (98-05)





Nissan Micra (98-02)





Jaguar X-Type (01)





Vauxhall Corsa (00-)





Lexus IS200 (99-)





Volvo V/S40 (96-04)





Skoda Octavia (98-04)





Mercedes SLK (96-04)





Audi A4 (01-)





Sep 282004

JaguarMore woe was poured on under pressure car firms, Jaguar and Land Rover, after the manufacturers came second and third from bottom in a survey of vehicle reliability and cost of repair.

Only off-road specialist Jeep recorded worse results in the study of 30,000 vehicles from twenty-seven leading manufacturers.

The Far East remains number one for reliability, with eight of the top ten manufacturers analysed by independent automotive warranty firm, Warranty Direct, from either Japan or Korea.

Warranty Direct’s annual Reliability Index (www.reliabilityindex.co.uk), which looks at 30,000 vehicles from twenty-seven leading manufacturers, combines the number of faults a car suffers alongside the actual cost of repairing them. With an average of 46,500 miles, the majority of the vehicles under the spotlight were entering into the fourth and fifth years of ownership. The average repair bill stood at £321.82.

Mazda retained the top spot, a position it has held for four consecutive years, with Honda and Hyundai leapfrogging Ford to second and third places, respectively. At number five, Spain’s rising star, Seat makes its maiden appearance in the Warranty Direct Reliability Index as the highest placed European manufacturer.

In comparison to beleaguered Jaguar, rival executive car maker, BMW climbed nine places compared to its 2003 standing to number seven, despite recording labour rates of £100 plus per hour to carry out remedial work. Mercedes fell marginally to twelfth with Audi in twenty-first place after Warranty Direct were paying up to £147 per hour for labour.

Alongside BMW, only four other manufacturers improved their positions in the 2004 Reliability Index – Honda and Rover rose 1 place each with German giants VW and Korea’s Hyundai, both up 3.

Renault was the worst performing volume carmaker at number nineteen with a below average £287 cost of repair, but a lowly frequency of failure of over 38 percent.

Subaru and Mitsubishi’s excellent reliability records are only tarnished by the sky-high costs of repair when things do eventually go wrong.

“A car suffering a breakdown is just half the problem for the owner. To get it back on the road, they have to fund the cost of the repair. Motorists invariably fail to consider the two together,” explains Duncan McClure Fisher of Warranty Direct.

“The Far East is still home to the most reliable and cost effective, manufacturers in the World. Encouragingly, despite the lowly positions of Land Rover and Jaguar, British workers are well represented in the top ten with Honda, Toyota and Peugeot all building models at plants over here.”

Pos Make Reliability Index Ave. Cost of Repair Pos. in 2003
1 Mazda 51.09 £244.41 1
2 Honda 65.63 £263.17 3
3 Hyundai 69.52 £315.78 6
4 Ford 69.69 £207.58 2
5 Seat 71.21 £328.32 New
6 Toyota 84.24 £430.58 4
7 BMW 84.61 £244.72 16
8 Peugeot 85.10 £246.39 7
9 Daewoo 86.14 £295.37 New
10 Volkswagen 86.26 £265.22 13
11 Vauxhall 87.04 £241.20 5
12 Mercedes 88.19 £350.76 11
13 Fiat 89.79 £269.71 9
14 Volvo 90.96 £283.83 10
15 Nissan 92.88 £363.31 8
16 Rover 94.76 £273.05 17
17 Citroen 97.37 £229.51 12
18 Mitsubishi 109.32 £510.36 14
19 Renault 115.60 £286.97 15
20 MG 116.52 £327.56 New
21 Audi 130.70 £322.05 18
22 Saab 134.46 £314.95 19
23 Alfa   Romeo 155.25 £392.88 20
24 Land   Rover 174.05 £367.03 21
25 Subaru 193.62 £993.58 22
26 Jaguar 206.56 £483.26 New
27 Jeep 241.09 £509.31 23

Table Illustrating Frequency Of Failure According To Warranty Direct

Pos Manufacturer Number of failures per   100 policies
1 Mazda 17.88
2 Toyota 18.62
3 Honda 19.41
4 Subaru 19.82
5 Mitsubishi 20.04
6 Hyundai 22.35
7 Seat 22.69
8 Nissan 23.44
9 Mercedes 24.30
10 Daewoo 29.46
11 Volvo 31.09
12 Volkswagen 31.90
13 Ford 32.16
14 Peugeot 33.00
15 BMW 33.16
16 Fiat 34.31
17 Rover 34.73
18 Vauxhall 35.34
19 MG 36.25
20 Renault 38.20
21 Alfa   Romeo 39.55
22 Citroen 39.59
23 Audi 39.76
24 Jaguar 42.16
25 Saab 42.87
26 Jeep 43.75
27 Land   Rover 46.23