JD Power customer satisfaction poll '08 - Superminis

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We've been here before - the Honda Jazz sweeps everything else aside and takes the supermini laurels. Toyota and Skoda can be pleased with their results, too.

Supermini results table

1. Honda Jazz
Score 87.2%
Overall ranking 2nd

This year's class win makes it five in a row for the Jazz.

It hardly ever went wrong; owners said the transmission and engines of their cars gave mile after mile of faithful service.

There was barely a squeak or rattle inside, the bodywork and paint lasted well, and there were few issues with the switchgear and controls.

On the rare occasions when owners needed to take their Jazz to the garage, dealers did a top-notch job. Owners praised the speed with which the car could be booked in for a service, and the helpful staff.

Running costs were pleasingly low, too, especially fuel bills and insurance costs.

The Jazz is a car people like at first, then really warm to. Owners praised the comfort of the cabin, and liked the way the car rides and handles, too.

2. Toyota Yaris
Score 85.2%
Overall ranking Overall 4th

Second here and fourth overall is a great result. The little Toyota hardly put a foot wrong.

For one thing, the Yaris delivered the reliability that Toyota owners have come to expect. Mechanical parts seemed to go on forever, the cabin wore the miles well and the bodywork proved built to last.

Fuel bills were low, even by the standards of other superminis.

Owners loved driving the Yaris and found the cabin appealing, too. The exterior styling didn't pick up as many points as the Honda Jazz's, but there's not much in it.

3. Skoda Fabia
Score 84.0%
Overall ranking Overall 9th

Fabia owners reported very few problems with mechanical parts. In fact, owners were less likely to have a problem under the bonnet of the Fabia than the Toyota Yaris.

Other parts of the car held together well, too, with strong scores for the solidly built cabin and the exterior.

The Skoda lost a little ground on running costs. It was a similar story with dealer service, which was not quite of the standard reached by Honda and Toyota

4. Nissan Note
Score 83.0%
Overall ranking Overall 15th

The clever, MPV-style cabin proved to be the best and worst thing about the car. Owners loved the practical design, but there were too many niggling faults.

Otherwise, the Note received a decent rating for reliability, although it wasn't as bullet-proof as a Jazz or Yaris.

Dealers did their part to make owning a Note enjoyable, and running costs were low, too. Fuel bills were especially low.

5. Suzuki Swift
Score 82.5%
Overall ranking Overall 22nd

Dealers contributed to the Swift's strong showing. It was easy to book a service when needed, and the staff were friendly and efficient.

Owners visited the garage more often than they'd have liked, though, with an above-average number of complaints about mechanical reliability.

Trouble relating to the suspension, steering or brakes was the main culprit. By contrast, very little went wrong in the cabin.

Owners loved the Suzuki's design, inside and out. They were not as keen on running costs, though, which were higher than those of the top superminis.

6. Mini
Score 82.4%
Overall ranking Overall 24th

The Mini is the kind of car people fall in love with even before sitting behind the wheel. It was given a higher score for exterior styling than any other supermini.

There's substance to back up the style. Owners reported respectable mechanical reliability and an almost trouble-free interior.

Exterior problems put a dent in the Mini's score, though, and running costs were no better than average. The car's thirst was an issue for some owners.

7. Ford Fusion
Score 81.8%
Overall ranking Overall 29th

The Fusion is the highest-placed Ford in this year's survey. It's the kind of car that does most things well and few badly.

Unscheduled visits to the dealer were few and far between. Complaints about the transmission were slightly above average, but otherwise owners experienced few problems. When owners did have to visit the dealer, staff worked hard to keep them happy.

The Ford loses a little ground to the best superminis on running costs. It wasn't expensive to run, but it wasn't cheap, either.

More-appealing styling and a more-engaging drive would have boosted the Fusion's solid score.

8. Nissan Micra
Score 81.3%
Overall ranking Overall 34th

The Micra only just misses out on a four-star rating. Even so, 34th place overall is a respectable result.

Nissan dealers deserve their share of the credit. Friendly, helpful staff and the ease with which you can book the car in won many friends.

The cute styling also put a smile on owners' faces, while the engine and transmission gave miles of hassle-free motoring.

There were one or two exterior problems and niggling faults with the interior, which earned it only an average rating. If trouble did strike, it was most likely to be with the heating or air-con.

Owners gave solid scores for the way the car drives, but running costs were only good enough for an average score.

9. Volkswagen Polo
Score 80.7%
Overall ranking Overall 41st

The Polo drops a few places compared with last year, to 41st overall. That's a long way behind the class leaders, but still in the top half of the league table.

Owners said that its greatest strength was the low number of problems with the cabin. The stereo and other controls rarely broke.

Even the heating and ventilation systems were robust, and these are the Achilles' heel of so many cars.

Otherwise the Polo picked up average scores across the board. Owners said it drove well enough and was comfortable to travel in, but didn't do enough in any one area to generate much enthusiasm.

Fuel bills were low, though, and insurance premiums keen.

10. Renault Modus
Score 80.2%
Overall ranking Overall 46th=

Tenth in class is a respectable result for the Renault Modus. It could have been better, though - a very poor score for exterior build quality drags the Modus down.

Otherwise there were no major reliability worries reported. The engine, suspension and brakes all proved robust.

Modus owners came to expect good service from their dealer, while fuel and insurance costs were low. Servicing and repair work was too costly, however.

The practical, comfortable cabin scored well, and there were few complaints about what the Modus was like to drive.

It would only take an improvement in one or two weak areas to see the Renault much higher in the results table next year.

11. Kia Rio
Score 80.1%
Overall ranking Overall 49th

This is the first year the current Rio has been included in the survey, and it's in the top half.

Scores proved a mixed bag. Exterior problems were rare; in fact, the Rio was one of the best superminis in this respect.

However, the mechanical problems are a concern. Complaints about the suspension, steering, brakes and engine were above average.

Nobody likes renewing their insurance, but it was less of a pain for Rio owners. Fuel bills and repair costs might not have been quite so low, but were competitive with the Rio's rivals.

12. Mitsubishi Colt
Score 79.9%
Overall ranking Overall 51st=

A mid-field result disguises some up-and-down scores for the Mitsubishi Colt.

The exterior was mostly trouble-free, but the same can't be said about what's underneath the bodywork.

Problems with the transmission were more than three times as common as average. Many owners also reported problems with the suspension, steering or brakes.

The interior was troublesome, with more than half of those surveyed finding fault.

The Colt made up some lost ground with cheap fuel bills and reasonably priced servicing. Even so, there's much work to be done if Mitsubishi hopes to challenge the class leaders.

13. Hyundai Getz
Score 79.8%
Overall ranking Overall 55th=

If it had inspired more enthusiasm among owners, the Getz might have finished higher than 55th. As it is, lukewarm scores for driver appeal, the cabin and exterior styling held it back.

The Hyundai won back lost ground thanks to reliable mechanical parts. Owners reported that the engine and transmission hardly ever broke. Problems with the bodywork and other exterior parts were also very rare.

The Getz was easy on the wallet, too, thanks to keenly priced insurance and cheap servicing.

Dealers played their part as well: owners found it easy to book the car in for a service at a convenient time. However, that's not enough to rescue the Getz.

14. Renault Clio
Score 79.5%
Overall ranking Overall 59th=

With a bit more effort from Renault dealers, the Clio could have finished much higher.

As it stands, the score for dealer service is the only below-average rating the Clio picks up. It's the standard of dealer facilities which picks up the worst score.

Otherwise the Clio performed well enough. Mechanical reliability proved a strong point. Hardly any owners had trouble with their transmission, and engine problems were also few and far between.

If trouble did strike, it was more likely to be problems with the switchgear than anything more serious.

Running costs were about what you'd expect for a supermini.

15. Vauxhall Corsa
Score 79.0%
Overall ranking Overall 67th=

Finishing in the bottom third is no cause for celebration. However, Vauxhall can take some comfort in the knowledge that things are moving in the right direction - this year's score is 1.9% better than last year's.

At its best, the Corsa proved average. Owners reported that the interior held together well enough, as did the bodywork.

Respectable running costs also boosted the Vauxhall's score, and dealers played their part without doing anything exceptional.

However, the car's styling left owners cold, and mechanical reliability was below average.

Trouble with the suspension, steering and brakes proved the biggest concern, while issues with engines and transmissions were more common than they should have been.

16. Peugeot 207
Score 78.9%
Overall ranking Overall 68th

This is the first year the 207 has featured in the survey, but finishing in the bottom third of the results is not the best of starts.

Reliability was no better than average. Transmissions lasted well, but too many owners complained of problems with the exterior, the switchgear and the heating and ventilation system.

The 207 picked up sound scores for driving performance and the appeal of the cabin, and running costs were competitive. Low insurance premiums, in particular, were one of the Peugeot's strongest points.

However, dealer service was disappointing. Staff did their best, but the owners felt that the standard of facilities wasn't good enough.

17. Ford Fiesta
Score 78.5%
Overall ranking Overall 75th

Ford won't be pleased to see the Fiesta sliding down the table. It drops 15 places to 75th overall this year.

The good news is that Ford dealers have done a good job, and running costs were reasonably low.

However, owners complained of problems with the engines and transmission, both of which occurred more often than average. Otherwise the Fiesta wore the miles reasonably well.

The Fiesta failed to generate much enthusiasm from owners. Scores for the performance of the engine, ride and handling and the interior were all below par. The styling received a lukewarm reaction, too.

18. Vauxhall Meriva
Score 78.4%
Overall ranking Overall 77th

The Meriva is another car that seems to be performing worse as it gets older, dropping 17 places this year.

There are some positives. Few owners reported faults with the exterior, and the mechanical parts, although not as robust as those in the Honda Jazz or Toyota Yaris, were reasonably tough nonetheless.

Owners were quite impressed with the cabin, too.

For a supermini, however, running costs proved too high. Insurance premiums weren't so bad, but fuel bills and servicing costs were poor.

Meriva owners gave the car mediocre scores for on-road performance and weren't taken with the car's dumpy looks.

Vauxhall dealers did a reasonable job of caring for Meriva drivers, but that wasn't enough to save the Meriva from the bottom quarter of this year's results.

19. Seat Ibiza
Score 78.2%
Overall ranking Overall 83rd=

It's tough to find any good news about a car that finishes 83rd, but let's try.

Owners reported that the Ibiza wasn't expensive to run, and were reasonably happy with the interior and what the car was like to drive. That's about it.

Reliability was a concern. There were far too many complaints about the exterior, and more than half the owners surveyed had suffered problems with the suspension, steering or brakes.

Niggling faults in the cabin also dragged the Ibiza's scores down.

Seat dealers need to pull their socks up, too. Dealer facilities, in particular, have to improve by quite some margin if the Ibiza is to pull away from the wrong end of the results table.

20. Citroen C3
Score 78.0%
Overall ranking Overall 85th

The C3 needs to perform a lot better in so many areas to get anywhere near the best cars in this class.

It was rated as below average in half of the categories in the survey, and did no better than average in the other half.

Owners gave an okay score for mechanical reliability, even though there were frequent problems with the engine and transmission. There were few reports of trouble with the stereo.

For the most part, running costs were about what you'd expect, although the price of servicing and repair work could be a little steep. Dealer service was a disappointment, too.

21. Peugeot 206
Score 77.7%
Overall ranking Overall 90th

As last year, the Peugeot 206 is among the weakest cars in the supermini class.

It picked up its worst scores for poor interior quality. Faulty seats and troublesome heating, ventilation and air-con were the chief villains, and engine problems occurred too often.

On the positive side, owners were reasonably happy with the Peugeot's looks and liked the cabin.

However, running costs weren 't as low as they should have been and the standard of dealer service was below average.

The 206 is one of the oldest designs in its class, but that's no excuse for such a poor result.

22. Fiat Grande Punto
Score 76.8%
Overall ranking Overall 92nd

With below-average or poor scores in five out of eight categories, the Grande Punto is in the bottom 10 overall. It's better than the smaller Punto, but unfortunately that's no great achievement.

Owners reported far too many problems with the exterior and a long list of annoying faults in the cabin.

On the positive side, there wasn't a single reported fault with the transmission, but problems with the suspension, steering, brakes and engine made up for that.

When everything was working, owners rather liked the car, with respectable scores for vehicle appeal.

However, poor dealer service proved the nail in the Grande Punto's coffin.

23. Chevrolet Kalos
Score 76.2%
Overall ranking Overall 94th

You don't see a Chevrolet Kalos on the roads too often. This result will do little to change that.

The Kalos was poor in three of the eight categories, and even at its best, owners rated it below average.

There were more reports of engine trouble than with any other supermini, and almost half of owners surveyed found fault with the suspension, steering or brakes. Inside, there was trouble with the heating and ventilation.

One bright spot was the low cost of servicing and repair work, but fuel bills and insurance premiums were worse than you'd expect of a supermini.

24=. Citroen C2
Score 75.8%
Overall ranking Overall 96th

Second from last in the supermini class last year, the Citroen C2 shares bottom spot this time.

On the plus side, the C2 proved quite cheap to run. In particular, owners said fuel consumption was pleasingly low.

That's pretty much the end of the good news. Dealer facilities weren't up to scratch and cars weren't always ready for collection when they should be.

Reliability was another concern. Too many owners complained of problems with the engine and transmission, and even more faults inside the cabin.

If the Citroen was a more enjoyable car to drive and travel in, perhaps owners would have forgiven it, but low scores for vehicle appeal sealed the C2's fate.

24.=.Fiat Punto
Score 75.8%
Overall ranking Overall 96th

The Fiat Punto gets a big thumbs-down from owners, who put it in last place in the supermini class with just three cars below it in the whole survey.

It's rated as poor in four categories and below average in the other four.

Insurance costs were reasonable, but owners weren't so happy with their fuel or servicing bills.

Staff at Fiat's dealerships did their best to keep disgruntled customers happy, but lacklustre facilities didn't help.

Owners spent more time at the dealer than they'd have liked, too, due to frequent faults with the exterior and the heating and ventilation.

The engines and transmissions didn't cause too many headaches, but faulty suspension, steering or brakes had owners reaching for the aspirin.

Supermini results table

Table: results by model

Table: results by manufacturer

JD Power customer satisfaction poll '08 - Small family cars


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