JD Power Owner Satisfaction 2009 - Superminis 17-23

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17: Suzuki Swift

Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 76.4%
Overall ranking: 78th
This is the lowest-placed Japanese supermini, in 78th overall. The finger of blame points to dodgy reliability: the Swift is one of just two superminis to be rated as poor for the durability of its mechanical parts. The cabin and exterior don't hold up much better, either.

Wallet-emptying running costs added to owners' disappointment, as did dealers who struggled to provide prompt and efficient service.

The Swift would have finished even lower if its drivers didn't like the looks so much. A tentative thumbs up for the driving experience also helped keep it from the bottom of the table.

18: Renault Clio

Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 76.0%
Overall ranking: 83rd
Renault has talked a lot about improving the quality of its products, but on this showing the Clio is getting worse, not better. It drops from 59th in 2008 to 83rd this year.

Mechanical parts proved reasonably reliable, but problems with the stereo and other niggling interior faults were too common. At least dealers made an okay stab at putting things right, pity the cars weren't always ready on time.

Owners were less than impressed with the Clio's performance or the practicality of the cabin, although they were more happy with the car's looks.

Disappointingly high running costs completed a rather sorry picture for Renault's supermini.

19: Vauxhall Corsa

Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 75.8%
Overall ranking: 86th=
The Corsa is average or below average in every area that JD Power assesses – that's just not good enough.

Mechanical reliability wasn't up to snuff, and when trouble did strike dealers should have been better at putting things right. As things stand, too many owners complained about poor facilities and cars that weren't fixed on time. They didn't like the looks or how the car drove, either.

Fuel and insurance bills proved reasonable, and owners were happy enough with the cabin. Overall, however, Vauxhall has a lot of work to do to catch those in the middle of the table, let alone the class-leading Honda Jazz.

20: Fiat Grand Punto

Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 75.5%
Overall ranking: 89th
The Fiat Grande Punto might fare better than its predecessor, the Punto, but that's not saying much. Only three superminis performed worse in this year's survey.

Reliability just isn't up to scratch. Too many owners reported mechanical faults, and issues with the interior and exterior were also commonplace. That made Grande Punto drivers frequent visitors to their local dealer, and they didn't enjoy the experience. Both staff and the quality of work got a definite thumbs down.

When their cars were working properly, owners were happy enough with the Grande Punto's ride and handling, and the roomy cabin, but there's no disguising this poor result.

21: Vauxhall Meriva

Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 75.3%
Overall ranking: 90th
Another loser this year, the Vauxhall Meriva falls from 77th to 90th.
Too many drivers ran into trouble with mechanical reliability. The heating, ventilation and air-con also proved troublesome.

Dealers need to do more to fix problems first time and to have cars ready when expected. Charging a little less for their services would also help. Fuel and insurance costs were disappointing, too.

There are some positives for Vauxhall, though. Owners were impressed with the practical and flexible interior, and there were very few issues with the bodywork and other exterior parts. Overall, though, Vauxhall has a lot of work to do.

22: Peugeot 206

Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 72.9%
Overall ranking: 100th
Okay, the Peugeot 206 is an old design, but there's still no excuse for such a poor performance. It's second to last in the supermini class and overall. What's really astonishing, though, is that it avoids a 'poor' rating in just one of the nine areas of assessment (dealer service). Even then it's below average.

Mechanical faults were just too common. Owners were driven to distraction by problems inside the car, too, including faulty seats and histrionics from the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. When everything was working, drivers didn't think much of the cabin or the way the car performs. Best avoided.

23: Fiat Punto

Vehicle owner satisfaction score: 71.2%
Overall ranking: 101st
Oh dear – last place in class and last overall. The Fiat Punto is officially the least satisfying car in this year's survey.

What's under the bonnet should last better than the Peugeot 206's engine and transmission, but that's no great achievement. Owners complained of faulty stereos, iffy ventilation and a host of other niggling problems in the cabin. Problems with the outside of the car were also frequent irritations.

Punto drivers didn't like driving the car, or find it very practical. They didn't rate the looks and had little time for Fiat's dealers. It would be hard for the Punto to perform any worse.

How they rated:
Click the image, below, to view a larger version of how all the cars rated.

Name: Danny, Jo, Abbey and Zoe Bonnett Jo's job: Engineer Model: 1.4 Mileage: 10,000

'I'm not into cars, so half of the joy of the Jazz is that it does what we want without any fuss. We can fix the kids' bikes on the back and all the kit inside - all four of us can go on holiday and it's no problem at all. 'We live on a small road of terraced houses, so the fact it parks easily is good – the Jazz has a short bonnet, so you can see all four corners.'

JD Power Owner Satisfaction 2009 - Small family cars 1-10


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