JD Power 2014: best and worst car models

Find out which were the best-performing models in this year's JD Power survey, and which came bottom of the class

What makes the top five cars in this year's What Car? JD Power survey better than all the rest? The truth is that there's no one aspect that puts them at the top of the pile. Instead, the key to their success is that they all perform consistently well in almost every area.

From vehicle styling and driver enjoyment to running costs and owners' experience of their local dealership, the top 10 cars scored above average in almost every area.

However, the best cars all scored particularly highly when it came to how good the cars are to drive and the level of care owners' received when getting their cars serviced; for example, owners found it easy to arrange a service at a time that suited them, they found their dealerships smart and clean, and staff gave thorough, courteous explanations of work carried out.

The best

Volkswagen Up – 1st

The best car in this year's survey, the VW Up city car, scored well above average in most areas and even included some good scores where you might not expect them for a city car, including the amount of space for the driver, the amount of stowage space in the cabin, and how quiet the cabin is when the car is being driven.

However, the Up received a score well below average when it came to the efficiency of its heating and demisting system. It's far from alone with this problem, however; in fact, problems with the heating and ventilation accounted for 60% of the biggest problems in the cars surveyed.

Volkswagen Golf Plus – 2nd

The Golf Plus performs consistently well across all three areas of running costs – insurance, service and repairs, and fuel costs. Owners are also really impressed with the space that is on offer and by their cars' reliability.

It's not all good news though, there are complaints that the interior plastics scuff too easily, which isn't great when the car is designed for family life.

Overall it's a good performance from the Golf Plus. Not only has it risen 20 places in the ranking from last year but it's also the winner of the small family car category.

Skoda Yeti – 3rd

The Skoda Yeti is down one place on last year but still makes it into the top three and wins the SUV category.

Owners like the spacious cabin and find getting into and out of it a doddle. Visibility is also a strength, thanks to the raised driving position and the large windows.

However, the Yeti really shines when it comes to reliability. Faults are a much less common occurrence than in rivals, but when things do go wrong they're likely to be with the ventilation system.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class – 4th

The Mercedes C-Class is the winner of the family car category. Owners are impressed by the quality feel to the cabin, the comfort offered by the front seats and by the powerful engines.

Running costs are lower than average and C-Class owners have enjoyed their interactions with dealers.

Volkswagen Scirocco – 5th

Volkswagen's third car in the top five is the Scirocco which is also the fun car category winner. Owners enjoy the driving experience and have also been surprised by the fuel economy their cars have achieved.

The Scirocco is more reliable than its rivals, although there are issues with the heater taking its time to warm up.

The worst

Chevrolet Spark – 109th

Chevrolet Spark performed the worst in the whole survey. In particular, the Spark came in for criticism for its low-quality interior, including floor mats that wandered about underfoot, a heating system that took too long to clear misted windows, and problems with radio reception.

To cap it all, this city car gave unimpressive fuel returns.

Find out how your car did and see all the results at whatcar.com/JDPower.

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