Feb 292016






Which Supermini is better? The stylish French C3 or the Brit built Japanese tiddler?

Why Buy?

The C3 has always been well equipped, and in more recent years it has become much more like a tiny people carrier than a small hatch. By contrast the Micra is a traditional, hardworking small car beloved of first time drivers and older motorists who want a car that won’t let them down.

Which models?

There are two distinct C3 models, the one built from 2002 to 2010 and the revised people carrier style one from 2010 onwards. Buy the most recent. Micras, also from 2002

Are they reliable?

The older C3s seem cheaply built inside and it is electrical issues that give owners the most trouble. Warranty Direct’s figures bear this out. It is a similar story with the Micra, electricals are again the problem even if the price of fixing a Nissan is fractionally cheaper.

How much do they cost?

Safer to pay around £950 for a 2003 example. £3000 a tidy 2006 example and £8000 for a 2012 Picasso model if you want a small van. Again, £1000 is the lowest price to buy at, a £3000 Micra is a 1.2 2009 3 door model. The restyled 2012 five door from 2012 from a dealer is £6000.

Sum Up

It comes down to style and the Citroen looks funkier, whilst the Micra is just odd to some. Regardless, Nissan’s reputation for reliability is strong.

Citroen C3

Average Repair Cost: £280.43

Axle and Suspension: 23.61%*

Gearbox: 13.89%*

Electrical: 25.00%*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average

* failure rate

Nissan Micra

Average Repair Cost: £272.82

Axle & Suspension: 29.85*

Electrical: 32.84%*

Steering: 17.91*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average to Good

* failure rate

Jan 192006

MicraSuperminis remain the most popular new models accounting for 1 in 3 new cars sold – but which are the most reliable used bargains?

It probably comes as no surprise that Nissan’s Micra (last generation 1998-02) will be the least problematic, according to Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index (www.reliabilityindex.co.uk), the independent automotive warranty specialist.

The Reliability Index calculates the cost of repair against the number of garage visits to provide a real-world reflection of the true price of keeping a car on the road. The total data base is from 45,000 Warranty Direct policies.

The Sunderland built Micra records reliability Index Rating of just 7.99, presenting an average bill of £88.83 to the owner. Brake problems account for a whopping 73 percent of all mechanical failures.

The sectors best selling model, Ford’s evergreen Fiesta badge, comes next with a rating of 40.78 – thanks to a low cost of repair but a 1 in 4 chance of visiting the garage. The largest bill paid out on a Fiesta by Warranty Direct last year was £1,556.88.

Driving school favourite, the Vauxhall’s Corsa (2000-on), is third, with a Reliability Index of 48.36, does however suffer from above average repair bills at £219.84.




Reliability   Index

Average   Repair Cost

Largest   Repair Cost paid by Warranty Direct


Nissan Micra (1998-02)





Ford Fiesta (1996-02)





Vauxhall Corsa (2000-on)





Fiat Punto (1999-03)





VW Polo (2000-on)





Citroen Saxo (1996-04)





Peugeot 206 (1998-on)





Skoda Fabia (2000-on)





Rover 25 (1999-05)





Renault Clio (1998-05)





The Top Five Supermini selection is completed by the former Car of the Year, the Fiat Punto, which is just behind the Corsa with a rating of 48.65 and Volkswagen’s Polo (2000-on).

Peugeot’s Coventry built 206 may be the most popular privately bought car in the UK, but thanks to electrical blips, Warranty Direct claims run at 3 in 10, holding it back in the list.

And when it does go wrong, supermini sized cars tend to suffer axle and suspension related failures. It is the biggest issue for 5 out of the ten cars analysed.  Other common complaints were electrical faults, transmission failure and concerns with the braking system.

Full listing of models available at www.reliabilityindex.co.uk